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Funeral Flowers & Etiquette

Choosing Funeral Floral Arrangements

Having highly personalized sympathy flower tributes that depict an aspect of a person's essence has become a trend of late. If he or she loved the outdoors, perhaps a tribute incorporating branches and natural materials would be ideal. If he or she was an avid gardener, a tribute with a collection of garden flowers that had a special meaning to the person may be a perfect choice. If you prefer you can send a design that is more a personal reflection of your style.

Sending Flowers to the Family's Home

Another great way to express your sympathy is to send flowers to the family home. Some people choose to send flowers to the home immediately while others prefer to wait a week or longer. There are no hard and fast rules. In the weeks after the service, this gesture can be a very comforting reminder during the grieving process that friends haven't forgotten. Just be sure not to have them delivered while the family is still at the funeral.

Sending Flowers when Death Notice Mentions Charitable Donations

As flowers help say what is often too difficult to express, they are always appropriate and in good taste. Flowers also play a functional role, adding warmth to the service and providing the visible emotional support that the family needs during this time.

Sending Plants

Green or flowering plants are an acceptable gesture. Some funeral homes will deliver plants or flowers to the home if specified. The funeral director will simply notify the family that they may take the plants with them after the service. Check with your funeral home director for details.

Flowers in a Glass Vase

From an etiquette standpoint this is absolutely acceptable, although some funeral homes have rules about certain types of arrangements. You should check with the funeral home for details on glass vase flower arrangements. For the most part, these types of arrangements will usually be placed on a side table and are normally taken home by the family after the service.

Signing Enclosure Cards

When groups go in together on flowers, the arrangements can be very special and make a beautiful, large showing. There should be room on the floral enclosure card for several names, but if there are more than will easily fit, it is best to sign as a group, such as "The Anderson Family." You should also include a contact name and address on your card so the family knows whom to thank, if you wish acknowledgement.

Placing the Flower Tribute

This tradition of placing the flowers, casket sprays or tribute on or in the casket is usually reserved for family members or special loved ones. Ask the family first before ordering anything for the casket such as an inside pillow or heart, as not to offend or upset any family members and fellow mourners.

Flowers for a Cremation

In nearly all cases, a tastefully designed floral tribute adds beauty to any type of memorial service. It is common for the family to have a piece designed for display with the urn.


The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral director may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:

"Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely.

"The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated."

In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.

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