Sympathy Flower Etiquette

Sending flowers is a kind and appropriate gesture to express your deepest sympathies for someone who has passed. Sending sympathy cards is also a very thoughtful gesture. This is true whether the deceased was a relative, a friend, or just an acquaintance. Though the time frame for sending sympathy cards has a wide range, there are appropriate times and places to send floral arrangements. There are also the appropriate kinds of floral pieces to send.

One kind of sympathy floral arrangement you could send is a large floral spray, which should be sent directly to the funeral home, mortuary, or church. These arrangements are usually displayed on a standing easel. There are also specially designed sympathy floral sprays you could send. These may be in the shape of a cross or a bible (if the deceased is religious); in the shape of a heart, from loved ones or family members; fraternal organization insignia shapes such as the Elks or the Masons; or in the shape of a wreath, representing eternal life.

Sending a small or large basket of flowers or a floral arrangement in a vase is also an appropriate gesture to express your condolences. These kinds of arrangements are usually displayed on the floor surrounding the casket. They may also be displayed on easels or stands.

Another thoughtful gesture when conveying your sympathies is to send a plant. Plants can be delivered to the funeral home for the wake, or they can be sent to the family at their home before or after the funeral. Plants are also appropriate to send to businesses in the instance that you’d like to extend your condolences to a company or place of employment.

It is important to be mindful of any religious or cultural traditions the family may have, for example: the color of the flowers you choose. If you are sending an arrangement to members of the Shinto religion, white flowers are traditionally used to express sympathy, while for many followers of Islam, it is inappropriate to send flowers at all. Your local florist should be able to suggest suitable types of flowers and traditional colors for the arrangement you’d like to create.

In any case, an elegant arrangement of flowers is a kind gesture that will help you convey your deepest sympathies and respect for the deceased as well as for his or her family. Sympathy cards are often considered a must in a time of grieving, but flowers add that extra, thoughtful touch.