Choosing Funeral Flowers

Sending funeral flowers is a lovely way of letting the families who have been bereaved know that you are thinking of them.

They can be a fitting tribute to the deceased person and a lovely way to honour their memory. The symbolism of flowers dates back many centuries and is often associated with religion and Greek mythology. Today, there are so many options for funeral flowers that the choices might at first glance appear overwhelming. This guide is to help you to select the most appropriate flowers to express your sympathy as well as to convey personal meanings. It is also designed to act as a guide to the etiquette involved with sending a floral tribute.

Things to consider when you choose funeral flowers

  • Wishes of the family
  • Faith and religion of the deceased person
  • What the colours of flowers mean
  • Your relationship with the deceased person
  • The personality of the deceased person
  • Meaning of traditional flower favourites
  • What the colours of flowers symbolise
  • Types of funeral flowers

Recognise and respect the wishes of the family when you choose funeral flowers

Firstly, you will have to check and respect the wishes of the family. Often the family will let you know if flowers are acceptable through family announcements, the obituary or funeral invitations. If you don’t know, it is appropriate to ask the family. Some families will ask for donations to a favourite charity of the deceased person rather than sending flowers.

Faith of the deceased person

In some cases, your choice of funeral flower arrangements is dependent on the religion, cultural beliefs, and religious traditions of the deceased person.

  • Catholic– all styles, colours and types of flowers and arrangements are largely acceptable.
  • Anglican/Protestant – in general, sympathy arrangements of all types are allowable.
  • Mormon – giving flowers is welcomed but ensure the arrangement is not in the shape of a cross or crucifix.
  • Jewish – flowers are not usually a traditional feature, with mourners encouraged to send donations to charity. During Shiva (mourning), it is customary to take fruit, food baskets and desserts to the family home.
  • Muslim – the focus of the faith is ‘simplicity’ so whether to send funeral flowers is up to the family. Due to this belief, flowers can appear unsuitable and extravagant.
  • Buddhist – white flowers are acceptable and suitable. According to Buddhist tradition, sending red flowers or food is not appropriate.
  • Hindu – funerals are expected to take place 24 hours following death with mourners arriving empty-handed. A second ceremony is held ten days later and fruit is deemed an appropriate gesture rather than flowers.

Consider your relationship to the deceased person and family when you choose funeral flowers

  • Coffin flowers – often provided by the immediate family
  • Funeral sprays and wreaths – bought by extended family members and close friends
  • Sympathy flower arrangements – sent by friends, neighbours, community members, colleagues

Choose funeral flowers that reflect the personality of the deceased person

Did they love a particular colour? If they were always dressed in pink, funeral flowers in this colour would be fitting.

Did they love the countryside and the great outdoors? A natural rustic arrangement would be appropriate.

Was the loved one an avid gardener? A plant could be perfect.

Consider the seasonality of flowers. Although poppies may be a favourite, they may be hard to find at certain times of the year, so consider what else they may like

Did the deceased person love a particular flower? If they adored roses, select these as funeral flowers. For example, the flowers in the late Queen’s funeral wreath featured scented pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangeas, sedums, and dahlias in shades of gold, pink and burgundy, some of which were grown at the Queen’s estates.

Was their home adorned with roses, lilies or carnations and their fragrant scents? This really simplifies your choice as you can opt for those beautiful flowers and the choice is easier.

Traditional flower favourites and their meaning

  • Roses are a popular and relevant flower for someone who you loved deeply or respected. They are one of the most loved of flowers with the various colours having different meanings.
    • Red - the classic symbol of love, as well as respect
    • Dark crimson - suggests deep sorrow and grief
    • Pink - represents appreciation and gratitude
    • Yellow - symbolises friendship
    • Orange - represents passion
    • White - symbolises purity, humility and innocence
  • Carnations come in a wide variety of colours, are long lasting and highly scented. They can be used as the main flower or mixed with others. Carnations are typically known for representing love and affection.
    • Red - symbolises true love, just as red roses do and could be chosen by a husband, wife or partner
    • Pink – remembrance and gratitude and an ideal choice for a mother or grandmother
    • White – for purity, innocence and youth and could be chosen for a child
  • Chrysanthemums symbolise deep feelings of loss, grief and sympathy. They also symbolise a friendship that was meaningful.
  • Lilies signify purity and luminosity. The white stargazer variety symbolises ambition, sympathy and compassion with Oriental lilies representing eternal life and peace lilies, a rebirth following death.
  • Orchids symbolise love and beauty with the colour of the orchid changing the meaning and the intention.
    • Red – affection and desire as well as strength and bravery
    • Blue – individualism
    • White – innocence and purity
    • Yellow – friendship, happiness and new beginnings
    • Orange – boldness, pride and strength
    • Purple – admiration, appreciation and dignity
    • Pink – joy and happiness
  • Daffodils – may at first seem a strange choice as they are associated with spring and new beginnings, but as funeral flowers they are indicative of inspiration and encouragement.
  • Daisies – these cheerful flowers symbolise innocent and are therefore typically linked to children.

What type of arrangement when you choose funeral flowers

There are several different sorts of arrangement, which can be sent to share your sympathy and demonstrate your support. Sometimes is it lovely to create an arrangement of your own too, to create something truly personal.

  • Wreaths – symbolise never-ending love and emotion and can be placed on the grave. They can be created in a range of colours ranging from soft pastel hues to more vibrant colours. Scented, eco-friendly, Christmas, and living succulent and plant varieties are also available.
  • Sprays and sheaves – these are traditionally tied and designed to lay flat.
  • Funeral Hearts and Cushions – created with roses, sunflowers, daisies or other flowers in traditional or contemporary heart, rectangular or square shapes. Natural and woodland-designed cushions make for a meaningful tribute and can be created from orchids, lilies, anthuriums and natural willow, set on an eco-friendly moss base.
  • Posies and pillows – often favoured by younger members of the family and more distant relatives. They come in a variety of sizes and can feature all types of flowers including carnations, alstroemeria, germini, freesias and astrantia.
  • Special tributes and crosses – the choice of immediate family members. Crosses come in a range of sizes and colours and other types of tributes can include letters such as ‘MUM’ or ‘DAD’.
  • Coffin tributes – are diamond shaped and go on top of the coffin or casket and are selected by immediate family or those arranging the funeral. They can be predominantly of one colour or a range of hues and come in a variety of dimensions.

How can CPJ Field help you choose funeral flowers?

If you decide to send flowers, and the family is happy for you to do so, we are always happy to give advice on what to purchase and how to arrange delivery to the funeral service.

Here at CPJ Field, we appreciate the addition of the beauty of personalisation, and the colour and fragrance of flowers at a funeral. We can order your choice of funeral flowers from a local florist if you are arranging the funeral. We are also happy to do this for attendees, although you may want to visit the florist in person or order from an online website. These can then be sent to the funeral or family home. And don’t forget, it’s never too late to send flowers, even after a few weeks or months. Attach a heartfelt sympathy note to show you care.