Planning Check List, Vital Statistics Form,
Floral Selection Guide, Vaults and Mausoleums,
Funeral Etiquette, Memorial Cards, Legal
Planning Resources Main
Flowers for Funerals
There is no hard and fast rule about flower or plant selection for
a funeral. Occasionally, someone in the grieving family will have allergies to certain plants or flowers, so we
advise you to ask a family member before ordering your selection. Remember to keep in mind that plants will need
care after the funeral, and flowers will need to be disposed of by the family. Take some care in your flower
selection to keep in mind the ultimate purpose of the gift -- that is, to comfort the loved ones and to honor
the memory of the deceased.
Casket sprays are flowers lain over the casket. These are usually ordered by the closest relatives of the
deceased. In cases where the deceased has no close living relatives, friends or other family members may order
the casket sprays. In hardship cases, where there are no living relatives and no pre-arrangements, a friend or
business partner or other community organization may provide casket sprays.
Military personnel often have a flag placed on the casket. In this instance, if a casket spray has been
ordered, it is usually displayed above and behind the portion of the casket draped with the flag. Flowers are
NEVER placed on top of the flag, so if there is a casket spray in addition to the flag, feel free to display it
over the scarf portion of the casket. In some cases, a properly folded flag will be placed in the casket with
the deceased, allowing the casket sprays to be placed over the casket as usual.
Floral pieces from relatives are usually placed closest to the casket. Often, relatives choose matching baskets
for each end of the casket, or standing sprays, floral hearts and pillows, wreaths, fireside baskets, and even
rosaries. Specialty arrangements can be ordered, also.
Specialty arrangements include flowers with figurines or other items indicating a connection to the deceased.
These options may be sent by relatives or friends and are often chosen by those who have shared a particular
interest or pastime with the deceased. For example: using a sheaf of wheat in an arrangement for a farmer; or a
ball of yarn and knitting needles for someone who liked to knit. Toys can be used for adults and children,
alike. We know of instances where a semi-truck was used for a trucker who passed on, and a toy tugboat for a
child. Almost anything can be incorporated into a floral arrangement, depending on the ability of your florist
to accommodate them. You are limited only by your imagination.
Lid arrangements are floral pieces placed inside the casket. These are often gifts from the children,
grandchildren or someone especially close to the deceased. Generally, lid arrangements are in the form of satin
pillows, hearts or crosses with roses on them. Hand bouquets, nosegays, corsages and/or boutonnières may be
used. Always check with the immediate family before ordering an arrangement to be placed inside the casket.
RESPECT FAMILY WISHES
Flowers may be sent regardless of a funeral notice requesting charitable donations 'in lieu of flowers'.
However, there are times, especially with celebrities or someone who was quite popular in life, when the
grieving family can be overwhelmed by the donation of large groups of flowers and plants. For example: when a
prominent person dies, and the family has requested a charitable donation 'in lieu of flowers', it is best to
respect the family's wishes. If you feel compelled to send flowers, ask the florist how many pieces have already
been sent or ordered, and make your decision from there.
Another reason for the 'in lieu of flowers' wish is in the example
of an entire family dying in a tragic accident. When there are several members of the same family being buried
at the same time, it can become difficult for the funeral home to accommodate all the donations of flowers.
Groups of people that might wish to send flowers include employees, co-workers, neighbors and colleagues. Ask
for a group sympathy card from the florist. Special cards can be purchased and sent with the flowers, if you
like. Formal associations such as the Masons, Loyal Order of the Moose or Eastern Star, have their own emblems
and will want to have them represented.
Ask the florist to include a brief description of what flowers are in your arrangement, and who sent them, when you make your
order. This will help the bereaved when it comes time to send out thank you cards. Some florists will automatically include this
information, having learned from experience, but it doesn't hurt to ask anyway.
AFTER THE FUNERAL
Flowers may also be sent well after the funeral is over. Many people appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness
of those who attend the funeral to pay their respects, then send a floral gift to the home sometime after the
funeral to show they are still thinking of the family in their time of sorrow.