Sympathy Guide

Wondering about how to express your thoughts at a time of sorrow? Flowers are messengers of hope when it's needed most. Here are some helpful questions and answers for sending sympathy flowers.

I just heard the news.
Is it too late to send flowers?

No matter when you hear the sad news, sending flowers is always appropriate. You can choose to send flowers to the service or the home of the surviving family members.

Flowers sent to the service are living memorials to the deceased. If you have missed the service, then send flowers to the home of loved ones.

Flowers sent to the family are sympathy expressions of comfort, peace and hope. They say "I'm thinking of you."

Shop for sympathy products for the casket

What types of floral arrangements can I send to a service that has a viewing and a church service?

For multiple day services, it is best to send flowers that will be designed in a container with water or floral foam. This will keep the flowers fresh for the longest possible time. Design styles include vase arrangements, baskets and container designs. Plants are also ideal for multi-day services.

What types of floral arrangements can I send to the family home?

You can send a centerpiece, plant or even a small teacup with flowers. Some choose a small garden of green plants, accented with a small blooming plant for color. In some cases a fruit or gourmet basket is also greatly appreciated by a family who is receiving out-of-town guests.

Shop for sympathy products for the service

What if I don't know what to send to a funeral that is out-of-town?

There are many types of services, from traditional funerals to memorial services. It is appropriate to buy and send a flower arrangement to any of these services. If you are sending flowers to a service that is out-of-town, ask that the local florist who delivers the order fills it "according to local customs." Then they will send the style of design that is best suited for the service.

What types of things are appropriate to send to a memorial service?

A flower bouquet in a vase or a basket of flowers is most often sent. You could also send another type of floral gift, such as a wreath on an easel or a standing spray. In some locations, a green or blooming plant is also appropriate. Some families request designs that can be sent to local hospitals or nursing homes afterward to be shared with patients there.

Shop for sympathy products for the home

Phalaenopsis Orchids.
One lavender phalaenopsis orchid arrives in a ceramic dish with bark chips.

I am not sure how to sign the card. What should I say?

Most enclosure cards are pre-printed with messages like "Deepest Sympathy" or "With Love and Sympathy." All you need to do is sign your name. You should use your first and last name to avoid confusion for the family. If there are a group of names you should spell each one for the person taking the order to make sure they have it correct.

We collected money among the people in our office to send flowers. How do we sign the card?

You can sign it with the name of the business or group or use the individual names on the card. Try and keep the name list as concise as possible. You might want to get a larger greeting card and have everyone sign it as you collect the contributions. Then bring in the card to the flower shop and they can attach it to the design you are sending.

Sentimental Setting.
Pink alstroemeria, blue iris, fuchsia carnations and a touch of heather.

The obituary says "In Lieu of flowers", But I still would like to send flowers - is this appropriate?

Yes, flowers are also appropriate in these situations. Many people choose to send a token remembrance to the service or family home and also send a donation to the charity requested.

I am not certain where the service is being held. Can the florist help me?

If you have the name of the deceased and the funeral home, most florists have the obituaries on hand to check them. You can trust the florist to get the flowers to the funeral on time.

Vivid Sentiments.
Red carnations, white chrysanthemums and larkspur.

Are there certain types of flowers that are not appropriate for sending to a funeral?

Every flower when tastefully arranged is appropriate for expressing sympathy. There are some general guidelines which are followed.

For designs that are going to a memorial or funeral service - larger flowers are usually used to create dramatic tributes. They may include gladioli, snapdragons, lilies, standard chrysanthemums, carnations and roses.

Small scale flowers in mid- to small size designs are used for sending to the home. These may include carnations, roses, spray roses, alstroemeria, lilies, daisies, gerbera, liatris, delphinium and stock.

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