What is the etiquette for sending flowers for a funeral?
If you have just learned of the death of someone you knew the shock can be overwhelming, and even the simplest activity seem like a huge task. When it comes to sending funeral flowers this can become a significant source of stress if you are unsure of the etiquette and process, so we are here to help you navigate this difficult road, and make the best choices when looking to express your respect and affection via flowers for funerals.
1. Check for any instructions regarding funeral flowers
While funeral tributes have been a long standing tradition in the UK and in many countries in fact, it is important to know that not all families want to have funeral wreaths and arrangements included in the service. In some cases this may be due to the family preferring that money spent on flowers is donated to a relevant charity instead, it may be due to health concerns of funeral party members, or it may simply be that the individual who passed away did not like flowers, and therefore would not appreciate them at their funeral. Regardless of the reason, it is important not to just assume that funeral posies will be welcome; often information regarding flowers will be included in the funeral announcement, but always check if unsure.
2. Be tasteful
If you have confirmed that having a flower delivery at the funeral is OK with the deceased's family, the next step is to decide what tribute to send. Today florists can create funeral arrangements of virtually anything you care to think of, so while it's important to consider what the individual who passed away may have wanted, it's equally, if not more, important to be conscious of the surviving family and other funeral attendees, and avoid sending flowers that may cause any offence. It would be in bad taste, for example, to send a floral tribute of an alcoholic beverage, if you were aware the deceased suffered from alcoholism. While this is an extreme example, there have been many cases where a poorly chosen tribute has caused upset at a funeral service, so if you are in any doubt, either ask, or choose something else.
3. Include a name
Although this is not mandatory, it is good etiquette to include a name when you send funeral flowers, and this applies whether you will be attending the funeral or not. The reason this is important is that it is often extremely comforting to the bereaved family of a person who has died, to see how well loved that individual was. Sending flowers that include a message helps demonstrate this, and also allows the family to send thank you notices should they choose to do so.
4. Do not tell people how much you paid for them
This is a common slip up when dealing with funeral flowers, and can be a significant cause of unnecessary tension if poorly handled. While you may be proud of your money saving prowess, or even the fact that you spent far more than you had to on your funeral tribute, it is in bad taste to discuss this at the actual service, or really any time. The purpose of flowers at a funeral is a demonstration of your affection, respect and grief for someone who has died, and being overly communicative about the money spent on their flowers is disrespectful, boastful, and unlikely to endear you to anyone, so it's best not mentioned.
5. Don't ask to take them with you
Another common faux pas with funeral arrangements is the purchaser wanting to take their arrangement home with them. While this can, and does happen, it is far from common practice, and unless the family of the deceased actively ask you whether this is something you'd like to do, it is best not to mention it yourself.
The biggest challenge when dealing with flowers for a funeral is that stress levels and emotions are already running high due to the situation, and unfortunately the smallest slight can cause big ructions. It is therefore best to stick to the etiquette tips highlighted above to ensure no offence is caused, unintentionally or otherwise, to anyone going through the grieving process. Being respectful and tasteful in your approach will go a long way to not only demonstrating your love for the person who's life you are celebrating, but also to showing your deepest sympathies and respect for those grieving alongside you.