Funeral Etiquette

There are many customs and traditions for most funeral services that would be good to know about when it comes to sending flowers and gifts to those who have recently lost a loved one. We've provided information on some of the most common one's below.

FAQ's

Q: What is appropriate to send to a funeral?

A: Fresh flowers, plants, dish gardens, or even fresh flowers with green plants are all a very appropriate gift to send for those who have lost a loved one. Different areas may have different customs.

Q: What is appropriate to send for a cremation?
A: Because this practice is increasingly common in some areas, we have a dedicated section of our website specifically for cremation services. Families may choose a smaller piece designed for display with the urn. Specially designed pieces may be more in keeping with a brief memorial service. If there is to be a visitation and viewing before the service, palms, green plants and larger tributes from groups can provide a beautiful backdrop. A elegantly arranged floral tribute adds beauty to any type of memorial service. Of course, it is equally nice to send the flowers or plants to the family’s home.

Q: Is it alright to send brightly colored flowers for a funeral?
A: Definitely. Bright flowers can reflect on the beautiful personality of the deceased. Also, colorful flowers may be chosen to send a message about how that person made you feel happy to have known them.

Q: Who orders the casket spray?
A: Most of the time that is the responsibility of the closest family member(s). In some cases organizations, companies or even the funeral director will place the order and/or pay for the casket spray with the immediate family’s approval.

Q: I found out about the death after the funeral (or cremation) was over. What can I do?
A: A floral arrangement received at home after the funeral can be a welcome reminder that friends haven’t forgotten. A recent university study shows the bereaved appreciate being thought of in the weeks or even months after the funeral. In this instance, consider a table or foyer arrangement or perhaps a basket arrangement with spring or pastel flowers. A personal message always adds a nice touch as well.

Q: Is it okay to send flowers to the family's home? If so, when is it appropriate to send them?
A: Absolutely. This is a wonderful way to express your sympathy and is a common practice. Some people choose to send flowers to the home immediately while others prefer to wait a week or more. There are no specific rules. Flowers can be a very encouraging reminder during the grieving process that friends haven't forgotten.

Q: Is it still appropriate to send flowers if the death notice mentions a charitable donation "in lieu of flowers"?
A: Yes. Because flowers help say what is often difficult to express, they are always appropriate and in good taste. Often times, this vocabulary is used to encourage charitable gifts but not necessarily to discourage other gestures of sympathy. Most families genuinely appreciate all personal expressions and may later regret having too few flowers at the funeral. Flowers also play a functional role, adding warmth to the service and providing the visible emotional support that the family needs during this time. Making a charitable donation in addition to a gift of flowers allows you to honor the family's request while still expressing the sympathy you feel.

Q: If I want to place a tribute in or on the casket, what should I do?
A: This tradition is usually reserved for family members or special loved ones. It would be best to ask the family before ordering anything for the casket.

Q: How do I know what charity to donate to?
A: If the bereaved would prefer donations to a charity in lieu of flowers usually the information can be found in the obituary or in literature at the funeral home. You may also wish to donate to a charitable cause of your own choice. Many organizations will send a notification to the bereaved of your donation in the deceased's name.

Religious Considerations

Buddhist
Send white flowers, the traditional color of mourning in Buddhist culture. Yellow flowers are also acceptable. Red flowers symbolize happiness and are not considered an appropriate tribute. Food gifts are not usually considered appropriate.

Christian
Most Christian denominations consider flowers a fitting tribute with no constraints on the color of choice.

Hindu
Flowers may be an fitting gift depending on family preference. It would be best to ask the family before ordering anything. A gift of fruit delivered to the bereaved family's home is also considered a welcome expression of sympathy. If attending the memorial, mourners generally dress casually. Black clothing is considered inappropriate; white clothes are preferred.

Jewish
Flowers may be an fitting gift depending on family preference. It would be best to ask the family before ordering anything. A gift of fruit delivered to the bereaved family's home is also considered a welcome expression of sympathy but check to see if the food is Kosher (i.e., prepared in accordance to Jewish dietary guidelines).

Muslim
Flowers might be an fitting gift depending on family preference. It would be best to ask the family before ordering anything. A gift of food sent to the bereaved family's home is usually considered a welcome gesture of sympathy. If attending the service remember that men and women sit on separate sides of the Mosque and women have their heads covered.