Showing support and expressing sympathy when one needs them the most is a sign of true friendship. Whether the occasion is a loss of a pet or a loved one, overcoming bereavement is not an easy process. It takes a long time and a good shoulder to lean on. Sending sympathy flowers to someone who needs an emotional pull up may not solve the problem but at least they will know there’s someone they can rely on in times of need. A delicate bouquet may cheer them up for a little bit.

Sympathy flowers symbolise care and friendship. Usually, they are in pastel colours. If the occasion is a funeral, you should have the flowers delivered to the church or burial site as it is usually not accepted to bring them personally. Make sure you let the florist know to deliver the flowers in advance so they can be arranged accordingly. You may consider sending a wreath or a casket spray. The wreath is a symbol of eternal life. If you’d rather buy a casket spray, make sure you ask the family first. Usually, placing flowers on the casket is a privilege for family members. In most cases friends send standing sprays, fireside baskets or standing baskets put on display for the service.

Appropriate Flowers To Send For Sympathy

You should never send wreaths or casket spray for sympathy occasions other than a funeral because both have very definite meaning as stated above. Bouquets are a great option but you should also consider sending a vase along with the bouquet. A living plant is another option as it is a symbol of life.

The jonquil is a flower that you may want to consider for sympathy occasions. It is delicate and has white and yellow petals. White and pastel colours are most appropriate because of their gentle and unobtrusive charm. White is the colour for compassion and funeral in the Western world. A pastel mix of flowers means: “I just want to gently let them know I’m here for them.” Here are some other popular sympathy flowers:

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

Seasonal flowers are also appropriate. If the occasion is a funeral, you can opt for the personal favourite flower of the deceased as a tribute celebrating their life.

Sympathy Protocol According To Tradition

One should keep in mind there are different religions or cultures which honour their deceased in a different way. Cultural or religious sensitivity is very important in such occasions. Funeral customs and traditions should be observed in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings. Here’s how some of the most common traditions approach funeral rituals:

  • 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 as they represent happiness in Asian cultures. 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. Friends and visitors may come and express condolences to the family and are welcome to stay for the full viewing period. The viewing itself may be either private or public.
  • Muslim – Burials are performed quickly and a service is conducted in a Mosque. Flowers are appropriate after the funerals. Family and friends bring gifts of food to the family of the departed as a suitable expression of sympathy.
  • Judaism – Sending flowers to a funeral home or a graveyard is not a custom in Judaism. In most cases, fruit and food baskets are sent to the home during the mourning period but check to see if the food is Kosher.
  • Hindu – Hindu followers usually hold a service at a funeral home before the sun goes down on the day the person has died. Flowers could be sent, even though this isn’t necessarily part of the Hindu tradition. They are placed at the feet of the departed. Friends and family may bring fruit after the funeral as an expression of sympathy. Cremation is traditional for the Hindu religion.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) – Flowers arranged on a cross are not very appropriate. The service includes prayers and music and a short observance at the burial site. Sympathy cards are suitable. Make sure you wear modest clothing for the service.
  • Methodist, Protestant, Lutheran – Usually the service, conducted by a minister, takes place at a funeral home. Visiting it should be done during visitor hours. A respectable expression of sympathy includes sending flowers, cards, and donations in the name of the departed.

Other Appropriate Gifts To Consider

Gifts such as a bottle of wine or champagne, baskets, or chocolates are appropriate for most occasions. For sympathy occasions however, such gifts are not suitable as the recipient would not be in the mood to enjoy them. Gifts are given for celebrations and rarely for mourning. Often when people are bereaving they need someone to listen to them and not overwhelm them with other emotions. Your silence may turn out to be a priceless gift.

Flowers are sent to give encouragement and hope to the bereaved. They are a great way to show your love and support to those who have suffered a loss or are just going through a hard time.