Offering flowers after a decease is not new. Indeed, according to some, it would date back to Antiquity where, at the time, it had more “pragmatic” purposes: as embalming did not exist at the time, flowers were used to perfume the atmosphere around the deceased while the relatives honoured his memory.
This tradition has lasted up to now, especially among Christian communities, even if offering flowers today does not really serve the same purpose anymore. Indeed, it is rather a question of offering sympathy to the deceased’s relatives, of symbolising good times spent with him and of displaying hope: flowers embellish the ceremony while their natural character symbolises life that continues. Finally, some choose to send flowers because they cannot be there to support the deceased’s relatives in those difficult times.
Choosing the flowers
While there is no fixed rules regarding the most appropriate flowers for a funeral, some principles seem to be somehow established now. Of course, the choice of flowers really depends on our relationship with the deceased, on the memories that we shared, on our feelings and emotions... and remains a personal choice that no one may question.
The type of flowers
As explained above, you are totally free to choose the flower arrangement that suits you most. Flower arrangements designed for a funeral will generally be made of roses, orchids, lilies or carnations. Chrysanthemum are also often found in such arrangements, but you may also opt for flowers with a strong meaning, for example arums or purple anemones.
The colour of flowers
Traditionally, white flowers are best indicated for a funeral, as this colour symbolises the respect and purity of feelings. This colour is also often used for the funeral of young children, as it is the colour of light and innocence. The colour chosen, generally nuances of yellow and pink, may also reflect the personality of the deceased, depending on whether you opt for pastel or brighter shades.
Choosing an arrangement
Several types of flower arrangements exist, from bouquets to flower wreaths. The time and place where you will send those flowers should guide you in your choice.
Sprays and wreaths
Sprays and wreaths are generally sent directly to the place where the funeral is held. Indeed, those arrangements are relatively big and it would not be convenient to have them sent to the deceased’s relatives’ home. Sprays and wreaths are used to decorate the place where the ceremony is organised as well as the coffin. They will often be brought directly by the funeral home to the ceremony (or the cemetery, if there was no ceremony). Therefore, it is best to opt for flowers that will less likely be damaged during transport.
Flower posies, which may come with a ribbon or not, just like wreaths, are usually used to decorate the coffin. That explains why they are generally sent on the day of the funeral and brought directly to the ceremony. Such arrangements are also frequently used on “important occasions”, such as All Saints’ Day.
For practical reasons (especially the need to put it in a vase), a flower bouquet is usually sent directly to the deceased’s relatives’ home. Bouquets are traditionally used to show support and sympathy and can therefore be customised (and they generally do not remind of death). It may also be a great idea to send a bouquet to the deceased’s loved ones if you could not make it to the funeral, if it has already taken place or simply to show your sympathy.
If you wish to have some flowers sent after a decease, you may choose a standard and appropriate flower arrangement from a specialised company. Of course, you can also go to your favourite flower shop, where you will most likely find more tailor-made bouquets.
In any case, if you decide to send flowers to the deceased’s relatives, let your feelings guide you. They will certainly be moved by your thoughtfulness. Do not hesitate to add a note to your bouquet to show your sympathy: all those signs of support will certainly help the family go through those difficult moments.