Sympathy Flower Etiquette and Procedures

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity- John Rushkin.

Flowers are one of the most beautiful and expressive creations of God that can be used to reflect your inner feelings and different moods. People the world over use sympathy flowers as a medium to express their grief on losing their loved ones or friends. Sympathy flowers are sent to homes, or can be carried while attending the funeral service. The following sympathy flower etiquette should be kept in mind while making a selection:

• Sympathy flowers should be delivered to funeral homes usually before the visitation time starts. Rushing the flowers to the funeral site is not considered to be good practice. Also, if you are close to the family member of the deceased, then it would be advisable to have the sympathy flowers delivered to their home. Also a person’s nationality should also be kept in mind while ordering sympathy flowers; in Italy and the UK flowers are delivered usually to funeral homes and not residences as they are considered a bad omen. Sympathy flowers will convey that you are there with them in this time of grief. If you are carrying the flowers to the funeral then carry a bouquet.

• It is also important to select the appropriate flower and colour while ordering a bouquet. In order to show your respect for the deceased or the grieving family, choose a bouquet that can generate positive memories. Each flower conveys a special message; roses are for loved ones whereas lilies represent elegance. The color of the flowers should be in accordance with the traditions followed by the family. In many countries, such as Japan, only white flowers are used during funerals and if you are unaware about the religious beliefs of the family take the assistance of a professional florist while deciding on the floral arrangement. Traditionally white, lilac and other pastel shades are used for making sympathy flower arrangements but you can create a bouquet by mixing and matching differently coloured flowers. Blue flowers are symbols of peace and yellow of friendship, and can be included in the ordered bouquet.

• Send a sympathy card along with your floral arrangement. It may be tough in times of grief to think of the right words to say but a short note of support should do. Heartfelt personalised messages are much appreciated by the family in these tough times.

• In some cases family members prefer charitable donations rather than sympathy flowers, and this information is included in the funeral announcements. Therefore keep such things in mind before ordering sympathy flowers.

• The size of the sympathy flower arrangement depends upon the place of delivery and also your relationship with the deceased and their family. If you have lost a close friend a large floral arrangement may be sent or if the deceased is just a mere acquaintance than you can decide on a smaller floral tribute.

The days following the death and funeral are tough for the grieving family members and sympathy flowers displaying your support and solidarity are a welcoming gesture. But do keep the accepted sympathy flower etiquette in mind while ordering your floral tribute.

BOLA TANGKAS