5 Questions to Eliminate the Stress of Sending Funeral Flowers

funeral flowers

Flowers have been a funeral tradition for centuries.  While their meanings over the years may have evolved, currently flowers are a way to provide love and support to the families, as well as honor the deceased.  They help to create a peaceful atmosphere for a very somber occasion. Their beauty and fragrance can provide a feeling of warmth and consolation in the background of the service.

Selecting the appropriate flowers to send to a funeral can feel like a daunting task, yet it does not have to be!  There are a few things to consider in making this a thoughtful decision.  Here are five simple questions answered to help you in your decision-making process.

What is the Deceased’s Religion?

Here is a quick outline of how to respect different traditions and customs according to religious or cultural beliefs with flowers:

Protestant (Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Baptist):

  • Send flowers to the family residence or the funeral home

Roman Catholic:

  • Flowers that are modest and not showy can be sent to the residence or the funeral home. Catholic wakes, funerals and burial grounds are often decorated with these flowers.
  • Donations sent in the name of the deceased are appropriate for the family’s charity of choice instead of a floral arrangement.


  • Floral arrangements in the form of a simple bouquet for the bereaved, or a floral acknowledgment to the funeral home is appropriate.


  • Flowers are not appropriate for a Jewish funeral. Charitable donations are suitable memorial gifts.
  • Jewish families sit in Shiva, the Jewish form of mourning, for seven days after the burial. If you choose to pay respects during Shiva, items such as desserts, kosher food baskets or fruit are appropriate.


  • Flowers are appropriate, however, flowers with a crucifix or a cross are not.


  • White and yellow chrysanthemums are traditional funeral flowers symbolizing grief and mourning.


  • Flowers arrangements are not brought to a Hindu funeral but garlands are commonly seen at a Hindu service.
  • Ten days after death the family celebrates with a ceremony that liberates the soul for its ascent into heaven. You are expected to bring fruit if you attend this ceremony.


  • The traditional color of a Buddhist flower of morning is white and may be sent to the family.
  • A donation to the family or designated charity in honor of the deceased is appropriate as well.
  • Red flowers or food are considered poor etiquette.


  • Some say sending flowers is appropriate while others say that the gift of flowers at an Islamic funeral is not ok.
  • For an Islamic funeral, it is best to check with the family.

How well you know the deceased’s family?

The relationship you have with the family can help you determine what is appropriate to send.  Typically, the casket arrangement or wreath is provided by the immediate family.  Extended family often provide a standing spray or an informal arrangement. Friends and colleagues usually send a basket, bouquet or potted plant.

How to choose which flowers to send?

When choosing which flowers to send there are a few things to consider. Can you make the flowers personal to the deceased? Were they an avid gardener? Did they love wildflowers? Were potted plants something they enjoyed?  If you can personalize the arrangement that is a beautiful way to honor the deceased.

Additionally, flowers have individual meanings in a funeral setting. This may also help narrow down your decision.

  • Lilies of the Valley – Return to Happiness/Innocence
  • Red Roses – Love, respect, and courage
  • Pink Roses – Grace
  • Yellow Roses – Friendship
  • Tea Roses – “I’ll remember you”
  • Ivy – Eternal Fidelity
  • Orchid – “I will always love you”
  • Hydrangea – Heartfelt sincerity
  • Daffodils and Tulips – Renewal and Fresh Starts

Is there an “In lieu of flowers” request?

Many families will have a charity or organization that they wish to bless in honor of their deceased.  In the funeral announcement, you may see this request as “In Lieu of Flowers.”  Honoring the family’s wishes through a charitable donation is always an appropriate show of support and love.  However, this can be a very personal decision.  Many people wish to send flowers along with the donation.

When to Send?

Depending on where you want to send the flowers can help dictate your delivery timing.  If you prefer the flowers to be present at the funeral home, then you need to have them sent the day of the visitation (provided there is one) or the day of the funeral.  It is best to have them sent earlier in the day to ensure they are delivered before the service begins.  You may want to contact the funeral home to find out their procedure in accepting flower deliveries.

If you chose to send flowers to the family residence, there is not a time too early or too late to send your condolences and provide support. Earlier deliveries may provide support and something cheerful during the time of sorrow.  However, there is merit in sending flowers a few weeks or months after the funeral to let the family know you are still thinking of them.

Being a supportive friend, colleague or family member when someone has suffered a loss is always encouraging to the bereaved. Flowers, charitable donations, cards and words of encouragement are a simple way to show your support.   This can easily be done through the funeral home website or any other delivery services.

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