How late can a sympathy order be placed and still arrive in time for the funeral?
The following times are a general guideline and may not apply during floral holidays (i.e. Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.
- A floral tribute should be ordered at least five hours prior to the time of the funeral services (using the time zone for that area).
- A plant tribute should be ordered at least three hours prior to the service.
Placing orders as early as possible is always the wisest choice. However, a sympathy arrangement or plant can always be delivered to the family home after the service, if there is not sufficient time to deliver if before the funeral.
What would be appropriate to send to a funeral to express our sympathy?
All types of fresh flowers, plants, or mixed plant gardens are appropriate, but we suggest you think about the preferences of the deceased, the relationship you shared, before you select your gift. You should also consider both the customs of the area and those of the faith of the deceased and family.
If I am only a family friend, is it appropriate for me to order the casket spray?
Traditionally, only the closet family member orders the spray. While it can be done by others, it should never be chosen without the approval of the immediate family. You may wish to purchase the casket spray as a loving gesture, but it should never be done without speaking to an immediate family member first.
What if I only have a small amount of money to spend?
Don’t let this stop you from expressing your sympathy. We suggest that you choose a plant or table arrangement to be delivered to the immediate family after the service, or select a memorial candle, or other keepsake, to be sent to the family.
I found out about the death after the services were over. Can I still send something?
Yes, a flower arrangement or plant can be sent to the home anytime after the services. This is often touching reminder that friends haven’t forgotten to express their sympathy.
What is appropriate to send for a cremation?
Families usually choose a floral piece designed for display with the urn. Others may send a vase arrangement of flowers or a plant to the cremation or to the home following the service. A tastefully done tribute adds beauty to any type of memorial service.
Our group has collected money to send flowers to a funeral. How do we sign the card?
Several individual names will fit on a florist enclosure card. If you have a large group, you can sign it with the name of the business or name of the group. Include a contact name and address so the family knows where to send a thank you card.
Is it okay to send brightly colored flowers to a funeral or memorial service?
This is a time to go with your heart. Brightly colored flowers are strong reminders of the beauty of life, and the passions the deceased had for living. If you know their favorite flower, it’s always a nice choice; but if not, we think that following your heart makes perfect sense.
If the service is to be held at a local church, should the flowers be sent there?
Always call the funeral home in charge of the service arrangements to confirm where they would like the flowers sent. Usually, they will tell you to have them sent to their funeral home, and they will deliver all the arrangements to the church at the appropriate time.
I only knew one of the family members of the deceased. Is there some way to address the card to them?
Yes, simply request that the arrangement/plant go to that specific person and it will be addressed accordingly.
The deceased was a veteran, and there will be a flag draping the casket. Does this mean I can’t send flowers?
Of course you can! Flowers are always appropriate. You may opt to choose flowers in colors that match the red, white and blue of the flag, or to elect to send flowers that have special significance in form or color. For example:
- Yellow is the color of sunshine. It's associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.
Purple associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, and creativity.
- Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility.
- Orange is fun and flamboyant, and radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach are very popular.
- Pink is a symbol of hope, health, and vitality.
I don’t want to send flowers that are too tied to sadness and funerals. What could I send instead?
What you describe are the traditional arrangements. Most florists today are happy to create an arrangement that’s fresh, original and appropriate. Using a variety of flowers, non-traditional arrangements in non-traditional containers are perfect to present to close friends, take home or deliver to places of worship as a remembrance after the service.
What if I have no idea what to send? Can the florist help me decide?
Most florists have books that show a variety of sympathy flower tributes including regional designs. Long-lasting green plants are becoming increasingly popular and are often combined with flowers. Your florist is an expert you can turn to in any situation and by asking a few questions, they can help narrow down the selection.
When the obituary states donations are preferred “in lieu of flowers,” is it still appropriate to send flowers?
Flowers are always appropriate and in good taste. Most funeral directors share that a service devoid of flowers is not as engaging as one where floral arrangements are artfully displayed. If you’re very concerned about the issue, you may choose to send flowers or plants to the family at home instead of sending them to the funeral home. Perhaps a table or foyer arrangement with spring or pastel flowers would be nice. Whatever you choose, always send a personal note expressing that you are thinking of them along with the arrangement.
Can I be confident that the funeral home received my arrangement?
Every funeral home we’ve ever worked with logs in each delivery made. If the delivery is being attempted close to the service or visitation time, the driver should inform the funeral home staff of the delivery, to assure prompt placement of the floral piece by the funeral directors.
I really want to send something special. What should I do?
Think about the life of the deceased. There are many themed arrangements, including sprays, wreaths and plants, which focus on the interests of the deceased. Talk to your florist, and share everything you know about the life of the deceased. We’re confident that they can create a truly personal arrangement for you.
The deceased is to be cremated. How does that change my options for sympathy or tribute flowers?
Simply put, it doesn’t. Cremation is an increasingly common practice, which means that florists have given much thought to what will work best for you. They may suggest a smaller piece designed for display with the urn. Often there is a visitation or viewing before the cremation occurs, which means that a casket will be the center of the service. In this case, green plants and larger tributes can help provide a beautiful setting.
Someone at our office passed away, and the employees want to send something to the service. How can we make it clear who sent the arrangement?
Usually in cases like these, when many pool their resources to purchase flowers, there needs to be room on the floral enclosure card for several names. If there's not enough space it is best to sign as a group. For example, you could say, From the Secretaries at XYZ,” or “With love from the Jones Family.” Always include a contact name and address on the card so the family knows whom to thank.
We want to send a flower arrangement to the service that the family can bring home after the funeral. What should we choose?
Honestly, flower arrangements for a funeral service are usually designed to be viewed from one angle. In effect they are "one sided." If the flowers are intended to be taken home, we recommend that you select an arrangement more suited to being viewed on a coffee table or end table. You may choose instead to send a house plant, blooming plant or basket garden.
Is it appropriate to send a floral tribute to a co-worker at the office?
Of course! Again, we want you to follow your heart. An arrangement sent to the workplace when the bereaved returns to work, is a wonderful way to express your sympathy, especially when they have been away attending funeral services out-of-town.
What can I send instead of a floral tribute?
We suggest fruit or gourmet food baskets. However, you should always send these alternative gifts directly to the family home. There are even companies now that will deliver a delicious full-course meal, selected from a menu as if in a restaurant, to nourish the family in the days following a death.
What does the phrase "graveside services" mean? And can I still send flowers?
It’s just like it sounds: it means that all services will be held at the cemetery at the time of burial/interment, and they will occur directly at the grave site. Of course you can send flowers. They will be delivered directly to the grave site the day of the services.
I read in the obituary that the services were "private." Exactly how does this affect my options in sending flowers?
While private services are reserved for family only, or those issued a personal invitation, you are more than able to send a personally selected floral tribute to the funeral home, graveside service, or the family home.
What is a Funeral Mass?
This is a formal Catholic service performed prior to burial. Usually held at a church, it is open to all who choose to attend, unless specified as private.
What is a Rosary Service?
A rosary service is a formal Catholic ritual performed the evening prior to formal funeral services and burial. Usually held at the funeral home, it is open to all who choose to attend. The rosary can also be performed during the "vigil service" or "wake."
What is a Vigil Service? Is it the same thing as a Wake or a Viewing?
Simply put, yes. Such a gathering takes place during what can be called the visitation at the funeral home. It is open to all who choose to attend. The family is usually available at this time to receive visitors and condolences.
When are sympathy or funeral flowers not appropriate?
Flowers are not traditionally sent to funerals for Orthodox Jews or Muslims. However, flowers, plants and fruit baskets are welcome at the family home.
Can I bring flowers with me to the funeral home at the time of the service?
Yes. We recommend that you give the bouquet or arrangement to the funeral director for placement.
I’ve seen arrangements with ribbon streamers with writing. When are those appropriate?
They are appropriate only on some pieces. Usually these ribbons declare the relationship you had with the deceased. “Loving Mother,” “Beloved Aunt,” “Dearest Sister” are just some examples of the ribbons we’ve done for clients. If the arrangement was sent by a team, company, or social group, it would be appropriate to put the name of the organization on the ribbon. If you opt for such a ribbon, the enclosure card is where your individual name(s) would be noted.
What happens to the flowers after the funeral?
It's up to the family. Sometimes they'll donate them to a hospital or care facility or they may decide to take them home for continued display. If there was a burial, they may choose to have the flowers taken to the cemetery, while the plants or plant baskets go home with the family or designated friends of the deceased.