Funeral Flowers Etiquette

Knowledge of etiquette when sending funeral flowers can help anyone confidently order funeral flowers appropriate to any situation. Your relationship to the deceased is the first thing to consider when ordering funeral flowers.  Knowledge of traditional flower choices for your type of relationship can help you choose the right funeral arrangement.

Funeral Flowers Sent by Immediate Family Members

This includes but is not limited to: Spouses, children, siblings, and parents as well as anyone who fulfills similar roles.

While it is appropriate for immediate family to order any type of floral tribute they desire, some types of funeral flowers and some display locations are generally considered to be strictly for them.  Flowers placed directly on or inside the casket almost always come from immediate family members. 

Typically, the casket spray comes from the spouse, children, siblings, or parents of the deceased.    Wreaths or pillows laid on the end of the casket usually come from the children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews of the departed.  Pillows or floral swags to go in the lid of the casket are most often provided by the children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents.  Flowers held in the hands of the deceased also traditionally come from immediate family. 

Immediate family members often order standing sprays or easel arrangements, or other funeral flowers to be displayed close by the casket. 

The following casket spray and cross shaped pillow would be items purchased by the immediate family.



Wreaths, hearts, fireside baskets, vase arrangements, and table arrangements are popular choices.

Funeral Flowers Sent by Extended Family

This includes but is not limited to: nieces and nephews, cousins, great grandchildren, and close friends of the deceased.

The extended family has a wide variety of funeral flower options.  Funeral flower etiquette for extended family members is very simple; extended family members can send everything from traditional standing sprays to less formal floral arrangements suitable for family members to take home instead of to the cemetery.

 An example of a standing spray that can be sent by the extended family.


Extended family members should contact the funeral home to find out visitation and service times and have that information ready to supply to the florist. 

Funeral Flowers Sent by Acquaintances and Business Associates

This includes but is not limited to: co-workers, employers, employees, and service providers.

Acquaintances and business associates may send funeral flowers of almost any type save those that go on or in the casket. Flowers sent by aquintances and business associates specifically includes basket arrangements, standing sprays, wreaths and plants.

A selection of basket arrangements.

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A selection of wreaths.

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Funeral Flowers Sent by Friends of Family Members

Friends of family members often choose funeral flowers which are meaningful or particularly enjoyed by the family member or members they are friends with. Types of funeral flowers can be sent by friends of family members inlcude basket arrangements, standing sprays, wreaths and plants.

 If your relationship is with a certain family member or friend of the deceased it is certainly within funeral flower etiquette to send the funeral arrangment directly to the family member or friend of the deceased. 

Funeral Flowers - Etiquette for Everyone

Have your information ready before placing your order of funeral flowers.  This includes the full name of the deceased, the location or locations of the funeral services, the wording for the enclosure card, and a method of payment.  This helps the florist process your order faster and more efficiently and prevents delivery errors.

Order funeral flowers as soon as possible.  This allows you to have more flower choices and ensures your funeral arrangement’s arrival in time for the next visitation or service.  If you do not find out in time to order flowers in time for the first visitation, funeral flowers may still be sent to the second visitation (if there is one), the church or graveside service.  Failing that, sympathy flowers can be sent to the home of one or more of the deceased’s family members or friends.

If your relationship is with a certain family member or friend of the deceased it is certainly within funeral flower etiquette to send the funeral arrangment directly to the family member or friend of the deceased. 

Sending Funeral Flowers to the Home or Office

Flowers sent directly to the home or office can be very personal and meaningful condolences.  The most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid arrangements clearly designed for display only in a funeral home.  It is best to avoid standing sprays, easel arrangements, stylized or one-sided fireside baskets, and anything designed in a disposable container.

While it’s also a good idea to avoid balloons and teddy bears on a stick, sympathy flowers sent to homes and offices should be celebrations of life.  Plants are a wonderful choice as they celebrate life and also last longer than fresh cut funeral flowers.

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 Stick to arrangements you could easily see yourself giving the same person under happier circumstances and you are sure to make a great choice.   


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