Sympathy Flower Etiquette: Avoid These 9 Common Mistakes

Posted by Andrea Purcell on

In times of sorrow, flowers serve as a silent yet powerful expression of sympathy and support. As a florist, I've witnessed how the right floral arrangement can bring a sense of solace and respect. However, there are many common mistakes some encounter when selecting sympathy flowers. I hope this guide will help you avoid these mistakes and make sure your floral tribute is received as a thoughtful and caring gesture.

1. Choosing the Wrong Flowers:

You know, picking out sympathy flowers isn't always straightforward. It's easy to accidentally select something that might not fit the solemn mood. Sending a vibrant, festive bouquet for a funeral can stand out for the wrong reasons. What you want are flowers like lilies or white roses. They symbolize innocence, reverence, and deep love. They strike the perfect note of respect and condolence.

2. Ignoring Cultural and Religious Sensitivities:

This part is crucial. Each culture and religion has its own customs regarding mourning and sympathy flowers, and overlooking these can unintentionally offend the grieving family. I suggest doing research or consulting with a knowledgeable florist about appropriate choices. In many Eastern cultures, white is a color of mourning and respect, making white flowers a safe choice. Some religions, like Judaism, traditionally prefer donations to charity over flowers.

3. Overlooking Personal Preferences:

Choosing a generic flower arrangement for a sympathy gesture can sometimes feel impersonal, especially if you shared a close bond with the deceased or their family. To truly honor their memory and convey your deep care, consider incorporating elements that reflect the unique personality of the departed. Was there a flower or color they particularly loved? As a florist, I've seen how personal touches like these can profoundly resonate with the bereaved family. It's more than just a bouquet; it's a meaningful symbol of your connection and thoughtfulness. Trust me, personalizing your arrangement in such a way can speak volumes and show a level of consideration that is deeply appreciated in times of mourning.

4. Disregarding the Message:

The message you send with your flowers is as important as the flowers themselves. A generic note or no note at all?  That’s not going to cut it. Write something from the heart. Share a memory, express your sorrow, or offer support. It makes all the difference.

5. Inappropriate Size or Display:

In times of mourning, the size of your floral tribute really does matter. A large, extravagant arrangement, while well-intentioned, can sometimes feel out of place at a solemn funeral. Such displays can be mistaken as ostentatious or not in keeping with the respectful atmosphere of the occasion. Instead, I recommend choosing modest and tasteful arrangements. These convey your respect and consideration more fittingly. Remember, the goal of sympathy flowers is to provide comfort and solace, not to make a grand statement. A thoughtful, well-chosen bouquet that reflects thoughtfulness and sensitivity can be far more comforting than the most lavish arrangement.

6. Timing of Delivery:

Timing and precision in delivering sympathy flowers are more important than one might realize. Sending flowers too late or to an incorrect address can lead to logistical complications, and in delicate situations like these, it can even cause unintended distress. To ensure your thoughtful gesture is received in the spirit it's given, plan to have the flowers delivered to the funeral home, church, or the family’s residence ahead of the service or viewing. If you're sending them directly to the family's home, it's crucial to arrange for delivery at a time when someone will be there to receive them. This attention to detail not only avoids practical issues but also shows a deep level of care and respect for the bereaved during their time of mourning.

7. Forgetting About the Family’s Wishes:

In the process of offering condolences, it's vital to respect the bereaved family's wishes, which may sometimes include a preference for charitable donations over flowers. Overlooking such requests can be unintentionally disrespectful. If an obituary or funeral announcement specifies a desire for donations to a particular cause rather than floral tributes, honoring this preference is a meaningful way to show your care and sensitivity towards the family's needs during their time of loss. Always take a moment to carefully read the obituary or funeral announcement to ensure your gesture of sympathy aligns with the family's wishes. By doing so, you demonstrate respect and thoughtfulness, attributes that are deeply valued in times of grief

8. Not Considering Longevity:

It's important to consider not just the beauty but also the longevity of the blooms when selecting flowers to express your condolences. Families often appreciate being able to keep floral tributes for an extended period, as a lasting symbol of support and remembrance. Quick-wilting flowers can be disheartening in such sensitive times. Therefore, I recommend opting for plants like peace lilies or long-lasting cut flowers such as chrysanthemums. These choices are not only elegant but also enduring, ensuring that your gesture of sympathy remains with the family for a longer time, continually reminding them of your support and thoughts during their period of mourning.

9. Neglecting Follow-Up:

While sending sympathy flowers is a beautiful way to express your condolences, the care you show shouldn’t end there. Just sending flowers can sometimes feel transactional if not accompanied by ongoing support. A quick, considerate check-in with the family a few weeks after the service can be incredibly meaningful. It's a simple act, but it shows that your thoughts and sympathy extend beyond the funeral. 

So, there you have it. Selecting and sending sympathy flowers is all about thoughtfulness and empathy. If you ever need help picking out the right arrangement or want to talk through your options, come on over to Addison Taylor Designs or check out our online selection. We're here to help you express your heartfelt condolences with grace and dignity.


← Older Post

Flower Journeys


5 Questions You Must Ask Your Florist for Your Wedding

By Andrea Purcell

Feeling overwhelmed with the endless decisions in your wedding planning journey? You're not alone. A key decision that can make a world of difference is...

Read more

The Ultimate Guide to a Stress-Free Wedding: Navigating Your Big Day with Ease

By Andrea Purcell

The journey to your wedding day is filled with excitement, dreams, and, let's face it, a fair share of stress. From managing budgets to coordinating...

Read more