When a friend or loved one passes away, sending flowers is one way that many choose to express their sympathy. A tasteful arrangement lets their family know how much you care. It can help comfort those closest to him or her and bring some warmth and brightness into a difficult moment.

Though flowers are the traditional choice, it’s not always clear what the proper etiquette may be. Deciding what kind of funeral arrangement or sympathy flowers is appropriate depends on a few different factors.

Floral wreath with purple roses, white mums, dark purple ranunculus and greenery.

Floral wreath with purple roses, white mums, dark purple ranunculus and greenery created by Dietz Floral Studio.


The deceased’s faith should influence the decision of floral arrangements. Consider the type of religious ceremony which will be held in their memory.

  • Catholic, Protestant and other Christian Denominations – Most flower arrangements are welcome at both the memorial service and the funeral ceremony.
  • Jewish – Sympathy flowers sent to the home of family members are usually appreciated. Jewish funeral services in synagogue traditionally don’t include floral arrangements.
  • Hindu – Floral garlands are the traditional choice for Hindu ceremonies. Because white is the color of mourning, flowers should be either white or yellow for a funeral.
  • Buddhist – As a rule, red flowers are not appreciated in funeral arrangements.
  • Muslim – The appropriateness of flowers varies within the Islamic religion, so you might want to ask family members about their preferences. Placing individual flowers or palm branches at the grave is more traditional for Islamic funerals.


If you plan to send flowers for a funeral service, they should be delivered to the funeral home before visitation hours begin. This will give them time to put the floral arrangement on display before the family arrives.

If the flowers can’t be delivered to the funeral home in time, consider sending a sympathy arrangement. The sentiment is similar, but the flowers, basket or live plant would be sent to the home of the close family members. Sympathy arrangements can be sent before or after the funeral is held.

Floral urn arrangement with purple roses, mums and greenery.

Floral urn arrangement with purple roses, mums and greenery created by Dietz Floral Studio.

Arrangement Style

  • Casket Sprays – These are usually designed by the immediate family to rest on top of a casket.
  • Urn Arrangements – Flower wreath can be crafted by a florist to rest around a cremation urn or a memorial picture. Generally, this is also designed by the immediate family organizing the funeral.
  • Wreaths – Round floral arrangements symbolically represent eternal life. They are usually displayed on a floral stand.
  • Floral crosses – For Christian funerals, crosses are usually sent by groups of family, friends or coworkers. They are displayed on a stand.
  • Hearts – This is another arrangement option with a special meaning.
  • Floral Sprays – This more organically shaped arrangement is an appropriate choice for close friends and family. Sprays are meant to be viewed from one side and they can be personalized memorials.
  • Baskets and Plants – Friends, coworkers and relatives can choose potted plants or sympathy baskets in lieu of flowers.

Floral heart arrangement for a funeral with red roses, daisies and white dahlias.

Floral heart arrangement for a funeral featuring red roses, daisies and white dahlias created by Dietz Floral Studio.

Varieties of Flowers

There are no hard rules about flower variety selection, but some stand out as more traditional choices. Lilies are often used to symbolize peace. While roses are a classic symbol for love. Our florists like to mix these with carnations, chrysanthemums and more unusual flowers, such as glazing star, hydrangea, lupine and snapdragons. Then, we add a spray of tasteful greenery, like ferns, palm leaves and eucalyptus. Greenery helps add height, color, texture and volume to flower arrangements for every occasion.

If you know the person had a favorite flower, florists are more than happy to include special requests in funeral arrangements. Of course, this will depend on availability and the time frame for delivery.

Recognizing Veterans

Fallen veterans or members of the armed forces deserve extra recognition. Patriotic themes are a clear choice for anyone who has served the country. Because the flag is usually draped over the casket during the funeral, it’s best to select a standing arrangement.

Sympathy Cards

It’s always preferable to personalize the sympathy card. If possible, it should be hand-written. If the flowers are being sent by a group of family members, friends or coworkers, be sure to write the name of the individuals or group as the senders.

Saying Thank You

It may feel strange or disrespectful to take credit for sending a funeral arrangement, but in this case it’s part of the process. Funeral directors record the name of the senders so that the family can thank them properly. Most appreciate the chance to connect with and thank everyone who expressed their sympathy. This is also an opportunity for the family to show their appreciation for your role in the life of the person whom they cared for so dearly.

The expert floral designers at Dietz Floral Studio can help you design the best floral arrangement to express your sympathy. Contact us online or call (330) 923-9747.

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