Comforting someone who is grieving a loved one is never easy. In those moments of sadness, it can be difficult to know what to say or do that would offer the appropriate support. Sometimes, flowers are better than words.
The right arrangement of meaningful flowers can convey the depth of your feelings with grace and elegance. But which arrangement is right? Actually, there’s no shortage of appropriate flowers for a wake, funeral, or cremation burial for you to choose from.
With a meaningful bouquet, you can express complex feelings like gratitude to the deceased, a wish for strength to the family, or how much you value your friendship with the deceased and/or their surviving loved ones.
This guide will help you choose the best funeral flowers and the best type of arrangement to offer as a burial gift to share what you feel. It also covers cultural considerations to keep in mind, as well as kind words to share in a sentimental note with your arrangement.
Lilies are an elegant and simple gift to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one. They’re probably the most common funeral flower for Western burials.
- What they mean: Innocence and purity of the soul
Peace Lily Plants
Peace lilies aren’t actual lilies, but they’re beautiful nonetheless. They’re typically sent as a full potted plant rather than as part of a cut arrangement. Peace lilies make for beautiful, long-living houseplants that the family can keep as a peaceful reminder of their loved one.
- What they mean: Rebirth and a return to innocence
The meanings of rose colors change in the context of a funeral. Red roses represent respect and courage as much as love. White roses denote innocence, reverence, and youthfulness.
Yellow roses represent friendship, and pink roses represent grace, love, and gentility. If you are particularly grateful to the deceased – possibly a teacher, mentor, older relative, or even a close friend – you can express your gratitude with dark pink roses.
- What they mean: Respect, courage, or love (red), youthfulness or reverence (white), friendship (yellow), grace (pink)
Although there are many types of orchids, pink and white phalaenopsis and dendrobium are the most appropriate varieties for a funeral.
Orchid plants can be tricky to care for if you’re not gifting a cut arrangement. Consider a different option if the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb or the capacity to care for a fragile flower.
- What they mean: Eternal love
Chrysanthemums are vibrant flowers that add pops of color to a funeral arrangement.
Europe associates them with death due to their popularity in funeral bouquets, but that meaning isn’t popular in the U.S.
- What they mean: Celebration of life, as well as love (red) and innocence (white)
You can say a lot with carnations, and several colors are appropriate for funeral arrangements.
Carnations are popular because they’re widely available, making them an easy and affordable option for bouquets.
- What they mean: Innocence and pure love (white), love and admiration (red), memory (pink)
Hyacinths have multiple meanings depending on the context. They’re fragrant flowers with a beautiful, varied appearance due to their stacked blooms.
- What they mean: Deep anguish or prayers for those grieving
Hydrangeas are popular as cut flowers and potted plants when considering flowers for funerals.
Hydrangeas accentuate the meaning of another flower, making them a common addition to funeral bouquets with hyacinths.
- What they mean: Depth and sincerity of the giver’s feelings
Gladioli are popular types of funeral flowers because they can have many meanings. They’re a beautiful way to encourage grieving family members and honor the person who has died.
- What they mean: Strength and sincerity, particularly of character
Funeral Flower Color Meanings
When it comes to the best flowers to send for a funeral, symbolism is important. As we learned above, flowers can have many different meanings. Their colors can also change their meaning, so knowing what each color represents is important.
- White: Remembrance, innocence, purity, peace, respect
- Pink: Sympathy, peace, familial love
- Red: Everlasting love, familial love, beauty
- Yellow: Celebrations of life, fond memories, youth
- Blue: Mourning, condolences, hope
- Purple: Respect, dignity, honor, remembrance
Popular Mourning Arrangements
Here are some of the most common arrangements used at a funeral. Most funeral homes can make arrangements for all or most of these options.
- Standing sprays are special arrangements typically set up on tripods around the casket.
- Funeral baskets are versatile options that are easy for the family to move between events.
- Wreaths are among the most traditional ways to express condolences; the circle represents eternal life and rebirth.
- Funeral crosses and hearts are shaped wreaths that express devotion to faith and love. Crosses are only appropriate for Christian services, while hearts are appropriate for most Western funerals.
- Living plants can last long after the funeral and will remain a comfort to family and friends for days, weeks, or years to come.
Cultural Considerations To Keep In Mind
Many religious and cultural traditions have a long and storied history supporting gifts of funeral flowers, but not all religions and traditions do.
Traditionally, Jewish and Muslim funerals do not include flowers, but that does not always mean they are unwelcome.
Red flowers are generally inappropriate at Buddhist funerals. White is a more respectful color choice.
- Tip: To avoid an accidental mix-up, contact the funeral home or house of worship where the funeral will be before making a purchase.
Words Of Comfort And Support
When you gift flowers, you might have the opportunity to share your sentiments in a thoughtful note attached to the arrangement. There are a few tips to keep in mind for sharing support in a tasteful and positive way.
To write thoughtful notes, make sure you:
- Express sympathy for their loss
- Do not minimize the death
- Offer your support and care
- Do not speculate about the deceased
- Do not impose religious sentiments if you’re unsure they’d be welcomed or shared
When words fail, sometimes just being present and willing to listen can bring great comfort. The thoughtful act of listening may be remembered with gratitude by survivors longer than even the most beautiful flower arrangement.
Plan Ahead For Your Funeral And Compare Funeral Coverage
Your loved ones will appreciate you helping them deal with their loss regardless of how you do it. But when it comes to your own funeral or the future funeral of a loved one, it’s best to be prepared so others can focus on grieving rather than planning.
If you’re considering planning for your funeral, it’s worthwhile to investigate funeral insurance. Ensuring you don’t leave your loved ones with unpaid funeral bills is important. Final expense insurance can help.