Bidding farewell to a loved one is never easy. Celebrating their life may seem hard to bear but funerals can help us begin the healing process. Flowers are an important part of most funerals and need a lot of attention to make this last goodbye special and memorable. It may be difficult to make decisions at this time so the main aspects to keep in mind are the colours, the type of arrangement and your budget.

Whether you choose white traditional flowers or bright and sunny ones, it all depends on your personal taste and the feeling you want the flowers to convey. Soft pinks, purples, and other pastels are more feminine, while autumn tones have a more masculine touch. White is for peace, and red, for undying love. These two colours contrast well when combined as well.

Furthermore, you can honour the taste of the deceased by choosing their favorite flowers. Remember that funeral flowers are just as personal. Despite that though, there are some traditional sympathy flowers. Here’s a list of some suggestions and their meanings.

  • White Chrysanthemum – signifies truth and honesty
  • Red Chrysanthemum – means: I love
  • Red Carnations – signifies passion, strength of feeling
  • Red Roses – signifies strength of feeling. Means: Love; I love you; Respect
  • Yellow Roses – signifies love. Means: Friendship; Joy and happiness
  • Red and White Roses – means: Unity
  • Single Red – means: simplicity; I love you
  • Long stemmed – means: I will remember you always
  • Iris – signifies faithfulness and hope. Means: Faith; Hope; Promise
  • Lilies – very traditional funeral flower
  • Lily of the Valley – means: Sweetness; Humility; Return of happiness

If you are looking for a specific kind, keep in mind seasonal availability or ask your florist for alternatives. He can also help you with the preferred colours and advise you on the specific kind you want. He will arrange the appropriate displays for the funeral and decorate the top of the casket. Moreover, he can deliver the flowers to the church if arranged in advance with the family. If you decide to take the flowers home first, they can be placed in containers to preserve them for the service. When ordering, make sure you give the name of the deceased person and the time of the service.

It’s worth noting that sending funeral flowers via a network of local florists ensures your sympathy flowers will get to the service when you cannot attend in person. It’s also common to request flowers be delivered to the home of a close family member if you are not sure where the service is being held. Be mindful, however, when considering sending flowers to the home after the service. This may serve as a sad reminder to family members.

The wearing of buttonholes at the viewing of the body has become customary. Sympathy is further expressed by a black ribbon attached to the buttonhole. Such feelings are hard to express, especially when seeing the deceased for the first time and flowers are an effective way to convey what words cannot.

The most popular form of flower arrangement for funerals is the funeral wreath. It‘s a symbol of the circle of life and it serves as a lasting sign of love and sympathy. A mixture of different kinds of flowers comprises the wreath. Traditional funeral wreaths are usually created with white flowers, but brighter wreaths have also become popular. Funeral sheaves and small posies are also a common choice. Bouquets are not always a good idea. The paper and plastic around the flowers are not biodegradable and have become a problem at grave sites.

You should not forget the tribute burial flowers. They are single flowers each family member places onto the casket as it is lowered in the ground. Again these flowers can be whichever type the family chooses. Most often than not, it is the favourite of the deceased.

There are no restrictions when a non-family member is purchasing funeral flowers. It’s a personal tribute celebrating the life of the departed. If you are a part of a group, the arrangement can be very impressive. Such pieces usually include standing sprays and wreaths. Don’t forget to include the name and address on the card so the family knows whom to thank.

A fairly common alternative to traditional burial is the cremation. When choosing flowers for a cremation, you may opt for a piece designed for display with the urn or an arrangement for the home after the service. Don’t forget though that funeral etiquette varies for each culture and faith. Here are some suggestions for each denomination. If in doubt, talk to local religious leaders or family members.

  • Buddhist – There are three services: one held at the family home within two days of death; a second is conducted 2-5 days later at the funeral home; and a third held 7 days after burial at the temple. Attend the first service and offer condolences to family. Refrain from sending red flowers. Rather, use white ones, because white is the colour of mourning.
  • Roman Catholic – A wake or viewing takes place in a funeral home within 48-72 hours of death. A mass takes place approximately three days later at the church.
  • Muslim – Burials are performed quickly and a service is conducted in a Mosque. Flowers are not appropriate. Gifts of food are suitable expressions of sympathy.
  • Judaism – Sending flowers to a funeral home or burial site is not normally done. Instead, fruit and food baskets are traditionally sent to the home during the mourning period but check to see if the food is Kosher.
  • Hindu – Hindus try to hold a service at a funeral home before the sun goes down on the day of the death. Flowers generally may be sent, although doing so isn’t necessarily part of the Hindu tradition. Fruit is considered the best gift to convey sympathy.

In addition to adding beauty to a somber occasion, flowers provide a comforting diversion – something to talk about or look at. They add warmth to the service and provide the visible, emotional support that the bereaved need during a difficult time.