When Should You Send Funeral Flowers? Tips to Get It Right!


So you want to support your friend, family member, or acquaintance in their time of grief with a lovely bouquet of flowers but have no idea where to start. With lots of contradicting information online, it can be hard to figure out the right time to send funeral flowers, and you definitely don’t want to complicate anything for your friend.  Here are some tips to make sure you get it right.

So, when should you send funeral flowers and how to avoid getting it wrong?

Funeral flowers that are to be displayed at the ceremony should be delivered early on the same day. This ensures the flowers are presented at their freshest and most beautiful. The flowers should be ordered at least one day in advance of delivery. Also, make sure the florist knows the right address.

It seems like a simple task, but there are so many things that you need to take into consideration when sending flowers to a funeral.

What’s more, the timing for funeral flowers varies based on where they are being sent. The funeral, funeral home, and family home are all viable options depending on your relationship with the deceased. Read on to learn the specifics of when to send flowers.

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When to Send Funeral Flowers vs. Sympathy Flowers

Funeral flowers

Funeral flowers are flowers that are displayed at, well… the funeral. Members of the immediate family normally send funeral flowers to be displayed at the funeral. The flowers should be ordered one week to two days in advance of the ceremony, but make sure the delivery is on the same day as the funeral service. It is important the flowers are not wilted and looking their best.

You can guarantee they will be at their freshest if they are delivered the same day. Many florists will deliver the flowers themselves, so be sure they know the location and time of the funeral. If you are nervous about them arriving, call ahead on the day of the funeral to ensure they know the address and what time they will be delivered.

Funeral flowers should arrive at the funeral location a couple of hours before guests start to arrive. So, if the service starts at 2 PM make sure the florist knows to deliver them at noon. This gives plenty of time for the flowers to be placed so when people arrive they are not walking into a service that is only partially set up.

If you are a member of the immediate family, you may also choose to save your funeral flowers for placing on top of the grave. If this is the case, pick up the flowers you ordered the day of the funeral and bring them with you to the service.

Wait until the burial, and place your flowers with the deceased. These flowers can be ordered up to one day before the service. Because they will be smaller sprays, many florists are able to take an order for the same day but to guarantee you have flowers for the funeral, I recommend ordering them at least two days in advance.

Sympathy flowers

If you are extended family or a friend of the deceased, you may choose to send sympathy flowers instead.

Sympathy flowers can be sent to the family home, the place of worship the family attends, or the funeral home. Sympathy flowers should be sent immediately upon hearing about the death. They should be ordered that day and delivered as soon as possible. Make sure you have the correct address when sending these flowers. There is nothing worse than having your flowers delayed because you did not inform the florists correctly about where to send them.

If you are unable to send flowers immediately, or you decide later you would still like to send flowers, you still can. You may send flowers to the family home anytime before the funeral, and up to two weeks after.

The family will still enjoy the beautiful flowers and perhaps even more so once the busyness of the funeral preparations is over. Remember, however, that the proper etiquette is to send flowers immediately, so aim to be prompt with your sympathy flowers.

How do You Order Funeral Flowers?

The Internet has made it extremely easy to order funeral flowers. There are many websites that provide pictures of the bouquet or arrangement, and there are categories of sympathy flowers to ensure you are choosing an appropriate spray.

You will be able to choose the delivery date, a customizable message, and the spray all from the comfort of your own home. When ordering online, be sure to account for the delivery time. The flowers may be sent from across the United States, so it is of the utmost importance that you order them at least a week in advance to ensure they arrive on time.

If you have a trusted florist in town, or would rather not have to deal with the stress of “will my flowers come in on time” you can always shop locally.

Many florists will have suggestions and be able to talk to you about your flower needs. If you would like an expert opinion, it is a good idea to shop locally and speak to the florists. They will be able to tailor the bouquet to exactly what you and the recipient wants. For example, if you are sending a bouquet to the funeral of a man, they will be able to pick out flowers that are a little less feminine to suit his ceremony’s needs.

It is important that you know the address of the place of worship or funeral home that the flowers are being sent to. In many cases, you can look the address up online or call the funeral home for its address.

If you are unsure, the florist may even know the number of popular funeral homes and can help you find which address to use. This of course, if not an option if ordering online, so be sure you know exactly what the address is.

If at all possible, get this information from a close friend to the deceased rather than bothering the grieving family with administrative questions. Of course, it’s better to disturb them slightly rather than not being able to send the flowers at all.

What Type of Flowers Should You Send?

Choosing the right type and arrangement of flowers for a funeral is very important. You don’t want to pick flowers that are too cheery or bright for the sad occasion. In addition, the arrangement you choose can differ based on your relationship to the deceased. Here are some traditional funeral flower arrangements:

  • Wreaths – Symbolizes eternal life, can be displayed in the place of worship or placed on the grave
  • Casket sprays – To be displayed outside of the casket, most likely chosen by immediate family
  • Small sprays- To be placed inside the casket by immediate family
  • Standing sprays- Used to decorate the place of worship
  • Shaped arrangements – Unique arrangements to decorate the place of worship, such as heart, cross, or pillow-shaped arrangements

The types of flowers that make up the above arrangements are also very important. White flowers always are a good bet for funeral flowers. However, if you wish to have more color in the flowers you choose you can pick light and faint color flowers. Be sure to stay away from anything too bright. Below are some great options for flowers.

  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Carnations
  • Orchids
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Gladioli

If you would like your flowers to last longer, feel free to send a plant such as a peace lily or an orchid.

How much should you spend on flowers for a funeral?

Funeral flowers will vary in cost depending on the size of the arrangements and whether you bought them locally or online. Expect to pay between $25 to $700 depending on the type of flowers you want. Below is a general breakdown of the price you will have to pay for the right type of funeral flowers.

Arrangement typeLocal floristOnline
Basic Bouquet/ basket$75-$300$60-$75
Casket Spray$60 – $1,440/
Stand-alone Spray$150-$475$160-$220
Wreath$190-$300$180-$399

Should You Include a Sympathy Message?

If you are sending flowers to the family home, it is always encouraged to include a sympathy message along with the flowers. The message of condolence can be very short, as the flowers speak bounds for themselves. Some examples of condolence messages can be found below:

“My deepest sympathy”

“My heart goes out to you in your time of grief”

“I am so sorry for your loss”

Be sure to include your first and last name on the card. The family will want to thank you, and it is much easier for them if they do not have to figure out which “Susan” sent the beautiful orchids.

Should You Always Send Flowers?

Sometimes funeral flowers are not appropriate to send. If you did not know the person very well it is fine to send a card in lieu of flowers.

Other times, the family makes a specific request for donations instead of flowers. The deceased might have had a favorite charity, and the family wishes to honor that charity in their memory. Some cultures and religions also do not present flowers at funerals. Judaism, for example, does not have the custom to send funeral flowers.

Make sure to respect the wishes of the family grieving. The last thing you want to do is cause a hassle for them. There are many ways to show your sympathy for their loss. Cards, emails, a phone call, and a home-cooked meal are all great options if the family does not want flowers sent.

I hope I have cleared up any lasting questions you may have about when to send funeral flowers and flower etiquette in general. After reading this I’m sure that you will be able to show your respect and feeling of loss by successfully sending flowers to the funeral you’ll soon be attending.

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