Should I Gift Sympathy Flowers? Here’s What You Need to Know

Flowers make a great gift for different occasions, and one of these is a funeral or wake for someone you knew or were acquainted with. While it seems simple on the surface, you may be unsure of a number of things surrounding this gesture. Read on to get some guidelines on if, when, how, and where you should send sympathy flowers so you can do it right.

You Can Generally Send Them at Any Time

Sympathy flowers are one of the most generally applicable gifts, so they can be sent at practically any point during the grieving process. Just make sure that you know the religion that the deceased practiced because this can make a difference to the timing at which you send flowers. If they were a practicing Jew, for example, a Shiva call will be held by their family for seven days after the passing. During this time, it’s not appropriate to send flowers, but you can bring Kosher food baskets, fruit, and dessert. This is something you may know based on the lifestyle the deceased led or by asking the bereaved.

In a survey in which the bereaved were asked how much help with grief they got from different rituals surrounding death and funerals, 83% said that family and friends helped a lot. Another 60% said that they were helped by receiving sympathy cards, while 54% said that they felt better about receiving sympathy flowers. Find out beforehand what the standing of the bereaved and the deceased on flowers was so that you can make the right call.

They’re Different From Funeral Flowers

Sympathy flowers should not be confused with funeral flowers. While the same flowers may be used at both of these times, the specific arrangement will be different for each. For instance, sympathy flowers are addressed to the bereaved and will consist of smaller arrangements. They can be used as a centerpiece or decorate an end table in the family home. Funeral flowers, on the other hand, are usually a large arrangement and may come in the form of a wreath, which is inappropriate for a home or office setting.

Different Flowers May Have Different Meanings

Before you buy flowers, remember that different flowers may have different meanings and associations behind them. Sunflowers symbolize brightness and positivity, so they may be used to give the bereaved some much-needed brightness and warmth. Hydrangeas symbolize appreciation, so brighter colored ones may be appropriate to send for someone you appreciate. Lilies symbolize rebirth and are a popular choice in sympathy floral arrangements. Other sympathy flowers to send include tulips, gladioli, roses, and chrysanthemums. Note that you can also gift a simple plant for as little as $29.95, while a decent floral arrangement can be bought from $50 to $80. Standing sprays can cost $100 or more, while big casket sprays can cost from $200 and upwards. The price will mainly depend on the complexity and arrangement, so keep this in mind when you set out to get the flowers.

Know Where to Send the Flowers

Finally, find out where to address the flowers based on whether you want to send them to the bereaved or you want to send them for the funeral service. Find out the right address and time so that your flowers arrive in good time and at the right place. Also, find out before you send the flowers whether it will be appropriate to do so based on the beliefs of the family or any last wishes the deceased may have had. Ask about this, although an estimated 50% to 60% of Americans don’t have a will, which may have been useful in spelling out their final wishes.

This brief guide should give you a few pointers that can help you decide if and when to send sympathy flowers. Go through it and remember that the best thing to do if you’re ever in doubt about anything is to simply ask.