News and Advice

The Etiquette of Funeral Flowers

Funeral flowers are a traditional way to pay tribute to a loved one at a funeral. They can often convey the right sentiment when words are so hard to find.

Having said that, we are often asked what the right thing to do is with regards to floral tributes, and so in this article we take a look at the etiquette of floral tributes that might guide your approach.

Classic Spray Funeral Flowers

The first thing to note is that the obituary might specify the family’s preferences with regard to funeral flowers. They may have requested family flowers only or donations in lieu of flowers and may prefer that the money you might otherwise spend on floral tributes is instead donated to a good cause. You may be able to make the donation via your funeral director either in advance or on the day of the funeral. Some families may have set up an online fundraising page. In this scenario it would be considered good etiquette to follow the families wishes.

Floral tributes from immediate family

It is usual for the coffin spray to be organised by the immediate family. This arrangement is usually a large, often diamond shaped spray that lies flat and is placed directly on the closed coffin or casket. Individual members of the deceased’s immediate family may also provide flowers, these may include a wreath from the spouse or flowers from the children. The circular shape of a wreath symbolises never ending love, as does a heart shape tribute. It is usually the very closest family members that opt for a floral tribute that spells a name or represents something very close to the heart of the deceased such as a football or rugby club logo for example.

Dad Funeral Flowers

For very close family members there are no strict rules surrounding funeral flowers, even if donations in lieu of flowers have been requested. Therefore, if arranging a floral tribute is something you feel is important, your funeral director will be able to help advise you what to do.

Other relatives and close friends

Relatives and close friends of the deceased often choose wreaths, crosses, cushions or hearts and it is usual that these are sent to the funeral director in advance of the funeral.

Work colleagues, friends and acquaintances

A hand tied bouquet, posy, spray or a sheaf are usually considered appropriate for any mourner. A spray or a sheaf are specifically designed to lie flat next to the coffin or at the graveside while a posy is designed in a circular shape to look attractive from all sides – any of these options make a good choice for a funeral. It is usually best to send these arrangements to the funeral director or the family ahead of the funeral, since the service is not the best place to be handing flowers over to grieving family members.

Heart Funeral Flowers

Different faiths

Funeral etiquette can differ between faiths and it is important to respect the faith and beliefs of the deceased by bearing that in mind when ordering funeral flowers. Here are some examples of common practices with regard to flowers that you might need to consider:

  • Buddhist – floral tributes are welcome.
  • Catholic – floral tributes are welcome.
  • Christian – floral tributes are welcome.
  • Catholic – floral tributes are welcome.
  • Eastern or Greek Orthodox – floral tributes are welcome, and white flowers are usually favoured.
  • Hindu – floral tributes are acceptable, although garlands are traditionally worn at a Hindu funeral.
  • Judaism – do not send flowers during Shiva (the first 7 days following the funeral)
  • Mormon – avoid tributes in the shape of the cross.
  • Muslim – it is considered appropriate to seek consent from the family before sending flowers.

In all cases, floral tributes should include a card with short message of condolence so that the family knows who the funeral flowers are from.

Selecting the right floral tribute requires a great deal of thought and consideration. We are always on hand to advise and support you in making the most fitting choice. Take a look at a few examples of our floral tributes.

Member of the National Association of Funeral Directors The national society of allied and independent funeral directors

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