Some of the most common questions posed to florists are questions regarding sympathy flowers. The etiquette surrounding sympathy flowers can be confusing at best. Hopefully we can shed some light on the subject and make it less confusing for you.
In most cases local family and friends are the first to know of the deceased’s passing as well as subsequent funeral arrangements. This allows more than enough time to plan, order, and have the flowers delivered. If the family chooses to have formal services, that could include a viewing or wake, ceremony, memorial service, and graveside burial service. In most instances a funeral home are utilized to help plan and coordinate the services. There is no solid rule of thumb dictating who should send flowers where. It is perfectly acceptable for family and friends to send flowers for use during the funeral services. With that said, if you are an immediate family member it is most appropriate for you to send the flowers to the funeral home or chapel. It is expected that immediate family as well as close family and friends have the largest more majestic flower arrangements which are best suited for the funeral services
If you are are an out-of-town family member, distant relative, or distant friend, chances are you may not hear of the deceased’s passing until the last minute. Don’t fear, it is still perfectly acceptable to send flowers. In this instance sending the flowers to the home of the surviving spouse, parents, or a relative is the most appropriate choice. In fact, it is acceptable to send sympathy flowers up to four weeks after a loved one’s death. Sending flowers to the home is the best option as you do not want the flowers arriving in the middle of the funeral services and disrupting the family. If you are in doubt, ask the florist if they will arrive before the services start. If there is any doubt of the timing, send the flowers to the home.
Some families choose not to have formal services in a funeral home or chapel. If this is the case, sending flowers to the home of a surviving family member is the most appropriate option. It is also important to be aware that some families do not wish to receive flowers at all. They usually state this in the death announcement or obituary. If a family decides that they do not wish to receive flowers the may state “In lieu of flowers please…” Often times they ask that a donation be made to a charity, a hospice, or a surviving child’s trust fund. Please be respectful of the family’s wishes. If you insist on sending flowers, you could send them to a hospice care facility, hospital, or the family’s church in celebration of the loved ones life.
To sum it all up here is a quick guideline:
- If you are local, immediate or close family, send the flowers to the funeral home.
- If you are local friends of the family either funeral or home is appropriate.
- If you are an out-of-town immediate family member or close friend, determine if the florist can deliver the flowers before the service. If in doubt send them to the home.
- Remember it is appropriate to send flowers up to four weeks after the loved one’s death.
At God’s Garden Treasure we know that this is a difficult time and are happy to provide any assistance you may need. Please see my blog for additional information on sympathy flowers, or go to our website to order sympathy flowers, or call us for a personal consultation with one of our Floral Consultants.