Death is an inescapable fact of life and we are often in a dilemma regarding the proper etiquette for sending flowers to a funeral. The sort of flowers you would send to a funeral depends on quite a few factors, including the nature of your relationship with the person who has passed away and the family. While there are no strict rules governing sending of flowers to funerals, the following advice may help:
Why Send Flowers?
The fundamental reason to send flowers to someone’s funeral is to express your condolences to the family of the deceased and to provide them comfort. In one way, flowers also act to celebrate the life of the dead person; however, you should not take it very literally by including anything silly or lighthearted in the arrangement like balloons. Make it a point to include a handwritten note to personalize the gesture.
Take Religious Faith into Consideration
Every culture and faith has its own social norms and you need to take care not to violate them to avoid hurting the sensibilities of the family of the deceased. While the following flower gifting guide can be followed for factoring in matters of faith, it is always better to ask any member of the family known to you. Christians, both Catholic, and Protestantsfind most floral arrangement acceptable; however, Mormons do not like any symbolism of the crucifix. The Greek Orthodox accepts most flowers but prefers the white ones. The Jewish do not like to display flowers at the funeral so it is best to avoid sending flowers and opt for fruits delivered to the family’s home. The Buddhists have no particular preference while Hindus prefer white flower garlands and wreaths. Sending flowers to a Muslim funeral can be tricky as sensitivities vary; it may be better to donate to a charity instead.
What Do the Family Members Gift?
The immediate family members like spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc. can send any floral arrangement of their preference. Their offerings are usually placed nearest to the coffin or body and may even be placed in contact with the deceased’s remains. Typically, family members will offer wreaths, casket sprays or even table and other arrangements. The members of the extended family like cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and even friends very close to the family can choose from a wider range, however, the conventional standing spray is the most popular.
Business Associates and Acquaintances
Business associates and friends of the deceased or the survivors may send flowers to the funeral to express their sympathy and grief. Typically, these could be wreaths, standing sprays, bouquets, baskets, and even live plants. Friends may send their offerings to the home of the family or to the funeral parlor while business associates may have them delivered to the office of one of the family members.
The most important thing to find out is if there are any cultural or religious sensitivities associated with sending flowers to the deceased’s funeral or home. Keep your floral gift simple and low-key to avoid any misinterpretation.
Author Bio: Elizabeth Sorenson is the head of marketing and sales for a leading chain of florists. She has also authored a flower gifting guide that can be read on her blog.