Tips for Sending Your Condolences with Sympathy Flowers

by Alexander Griffin
Tips for Sending Your Condolences with Sympathy Flowers

Throuout history, flowers have played a vital role in the way humans connect and communicate. In polite victorian societies when people couldn’t be very open about what they wanted to say, flowers became a symbol of unsaid messages and emotions.

With time, the popularity of flowers has only increased, with them being used to show affection, care, love, well wishes, to wish someone luck, and a whole range of other emotions. They’re even a popular present for saying goodbye, and are used on occasions ranging from weddings to funerals. Placing flowers on someone’s grave is considered an act of love and care for the deceased, and you can send sympathy flowers to a grieving family member after a loss to tell them that you’re there for them.

However, you can’t send the same flowers you would give to a loved one on their birthday when you’re going to send your condolences. Just like the language of flowers was once complicated, the art of sending flowers today for different occasions is, too. There’s no formal set of “rules”, but some practices are more socially acceptable than others. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of those rules, and give you some tips for sending flowers to show your sympathy.

Sympathy Flowers and Funeral Flowers: What’s the Difference?

Since both types of arrangements are used for the same occasion, there can be some confusion. But while funeral flowers are larger arrangements made to drape over or place around the casket, and are meant to be easy to view from a distance, condolence flowers are more personal.

Funeral flowers are centered around the casket and arranged in standing arrangements placed behind, wreaths that are placed around, or on them. There are also arrangements that make it seem like flowers are growing on the casket.

Sympathy or condolence flowers are smaller bouquets that are meant to be given to and enjoyed by a single person – they often come with a little card with a heartfelt message inside, and come in many different sizes.

Depending on the intended use, your choice of flowers will be completely different, but the funeral flowers are usually the responsibility of the people arranging the funeral. These floral arrangements cannot be interchanged though, which means you can’t use sympathy flowers when you should actually be getting some funeral flowers.

Flower Color

In most cultures, sympathy flowers are supposed to be light colored. Usually, white colored flowers are a popular choice. They can be paired with dark paper and ribbons to create a sober and appropriate bouquet for the occasion. Lilies, white roses, and other white colored flowers can be a good idea.

In recent years though, it has also become appropriate to throw in a splash of color into your condolence bouquet, but you still can’t have the flowers be too bright. For example, stay away from red roses or bright pink or yellow flowers.

Types of Flowers

Certain types of flowers can’t help but be cheerful and bright no matter what color they come in, including ones like sunflowers and hydrangeas.

Popular flowers to choose from would be lilies, roses, and other smaller and delicately built varieties like orchids and white peonies. You can even make a bouquet out of different varieties of white flowers with some very light pink ones in the mix, or a bouquet of mostly white but also some light pink peonies in there.

When to Send

The most appropriate day to send or give someone sympathy flowers would be the day of the funeral itself. Even if you can’t make it to the funeral, you should make sure the flowers do, which is easy with a lot of online flower shops now offering same day or next day delivery for your bouquets.

If this isn’t possible for some reason, you should make sure the flowers reach the grieving family within a month of the tragedy happening, or as soon as you find out about it. The timing will also be influenced by how well you know the person mourning their loss, and if there are other things to be done for them that take precedence over them sending flowers. 

Who Should You Send Them To?

Flowers are usually sent to the blood relatives or closest family members of the deceased, like parents, spouse, children, and siblings if you knew the deceased. However, you need to send the flowers to your friend if you’re trying to be there for a friend who lost their best friend.

There are also norms and ceremonies regarding flowers to be followed in various cultures, which can also have an impact of who you end up sending the flowers to.

Respect Cultural Differences

As we mentioned above, cultural differences may have an impact on who you send flowers to. Not just that, but it can also have an influence on whether you send any flowers at all. In certain south asian cultures, for example, well wishers and relatives of the grieving family are encouraged and expected to send food instead of flowers, and the flowers are later placed or draped over the grave. In most western cultures, a simple bouquet and a heartfelt message is important.

Certain colors of flowers might be more common than others, and you might need to look into the culture of the deceased person before sending your condolences.

The Deceased Person’s Wishes

Another case when flowers might not be the right thing to send people would be when the deceased person had made it clear that they wished for money to be donated to a certain charity, or that some other act be done to honor their passing instead of an exchange of flowers.

You can still send flowers, but only after you’ve honored the deceased person’s wishes. If you need to choose between either donating to the charity of their wishes or sending flowers, donate to charity!

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