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.
There are so many different flowers available, though, and so many types of arrangements, it can be hard to decide on what types are most appropriate.
How can you express complex things like gratitude to the deceased, a wish for strength to the family, or how much you valued your friendship with the deceased and/or their surviving loved ones?
This guide will help you choose the best arrangements and the best flowers to offer as a burial gift to share what you feel.
Funeral Flowers and Their Meanings
There are many flowers to choose from for a funeral. But have you considered that some flowers have a specific meaning?
Putting some thought into the meaning of the flower might help to add another layer in how you honor the deceased.
Elegant and simple, lilies stand for innocence and purity, specifically that of the soul. They’re probably the most popular type of flower for western burials.
Peace Lily Plant
Typically sent as a full, potted plant rather than as part of a cut arrangement, a peace lily symbolizes rebirth and a return to innocence. It makes for a beautiful, long-living houseplant that the family can keep as a peaceful reminder of their loved one.
The color of a rose determines its meaning. 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 stand for 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 a dark pink rose.
Chrysanthemums are a vibrant flower that celebrates the life of the departed.
In Europe they have become associated with death due to their popularity in funeral arrangements, but that sentiment isn’t common in the U.S. Red and white flowers symbolize love and innocence respectively.
You can say a lot with carnations, and several colors are appropriate for funeral arrangements. Red carnations express love and admiration, while white carnations signify pure love and innocence. Pink blossoms represent memory.
Hyacinths have multiple meanings in various contexts. As a funeral gift, they can stand for deep anguish or tell the grieving family that you hold them in your prayers.
Popular as both a cut flower and as a potted plant, a hydrangea can emphasize the sincerity and depth of your feelings. Paired with other blooms, it can emphasize other messages.
Gladioli stand for strength and sincerity, particularly of character. They are a beautiful way to encourage grieving family members and honor the soul that has passed.
Popular Mourning Arrangements
Here’s some of the most common arrangements used at a funeral. Whatever funeral home you select, they will certainly have all or most of these options.
Standing sprays are special arrangements typically set up on tripods around the casket. They are classic and beautiful expressions of love that provide loved ones with a visual representation of your condolences.
Funeral basket arrangements are beautiful and versatile. They’re appropriate for wakes and memorials as well as funerals, and they’re easy for the family to move between events.
A wreath is one of the most traditional ways to express your condolences. The circle represents eternal life and rebirth in many cultures, and the style makes it easy to add specific flowers to convey your message.
Funeral Crosses and Hearts
Shaped wreaths provide additional meaning for those looking to emphasize a particular emotion or quality.
Funeral crosses and hearts express devotion to faith and love. It’s important to remember that crosses are only appropriate for Christian services. Heart-shaped arrangements are usually appropriate for most western funerals.
The benefit of living, potted plants is that they last beyond the funeral. Although they may be sent to honor the departed, they will remain as a comfort to family and friends for many days to come.
Many religious and cultural traditions have a long and storied history supporting gifts of funeral flowers, but not all religions and traditions do.
Red flowers are generally inappropriate at Buddhist funerals. White is a more respectful color choice. There are other religious and cultural elements that may influence how your gift is received.
It’s a good idea to contact the funeral home or house of worship where the funeral is being held before making a purchase.
This simple step helps ensure you offer a gift that will be a balm to grieving loved ones during this difficult time rather than the grounds for an awkward conversation.
Losing a loved one is difficult, but the gift of flowers can emphasize the beauty of the life you gather to celebrate.
The right arrangement or living plant cannot erase the pain of the occasion. However, flowers can help deliver the peace, strength, and love you wish to share.
Kind Words for Those Grieving a Loss
When you gift flowers, often times you have the opportunity to share your sentiments in a thoughtful note to be included in the arrangement. In that note, it is important to show support in a tasteful and thoughtful way.
Tips for Writing Thoughtful Sentiments:
- Express sympathy for their loss
- Do not minimize the death
- Offer support and care
- Do not speculate regarding the deceased
- Do not impose religious sentiments if unsure they would be welcomes 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.
Your loved ones will appreciate you helping them deal with their loss regardless of how you do it.