S Y M P A T H Y   G U I D E


Customary Tributes:
Standing Sprays & Wreaths - designed for viewing from one side and are made on an easel and displayed next to the casket.
Floral Arrangement - An assortment of fresh flowers in a vase, basket or ceramic container. (This is appropriate for the family to take home.) It is displayed either on an end table in the viewing room or on either side of the casket.
Casket Spray - Flowers designed for the top of the casket, usually ordered by the family.
Interior Casket Piece - A small floral design placed inside the casket such nosegays, corsages, small satin hearts, crosses or pillows.
Cremation Memorials - Cremation has become move prevalent in todays memorial services. If an urn is present at the service, a memorial ring can be placed around the urn by family members.



Q: Is there a 'right' or 'wrong' type of arrangement to send as a sympathy tribute?
A: There are a variety of appropriate options in sympathy flowers. Traditional sympathy arrangements, including triangular or fan-shaped designs, standing sprays, and fireside baskets are still among the most popular. Mixed flower arrangements which look "just-picked-from-the-garden," elegant vase bouquets of European flowers, and dramatic groupings of a single flower type are just some of the contemporary choices. Baskets of green and flowering plants are also popular as a gift that's convenient for the family to take home or give to a local hospital or charity. There is no right or wrong approach. The choice is up to you. The best advice is to select something you think the family will appreciate.

Q: Do some flower arrangements look too 'cheery' for a funeral?

A: Absolutely not. A funeral service is a way to honor someone's life, and bright, colorful flowers are a meaningful part of that tribute. In addition to adding beauty to an otherwise somber occasion, flowers provide a comforting diversion-something to talk about or look at-during the visitation. Color schemes are popular, too. Soft pinks, purples, and other pastels are appropriate for a feminine touch, while jewel tones, bold shades of orange, red, yellow and purple, have a more masculine theme. All white arrangements are extremely simplistic, and well-received by the family.

Q: What can I do to make my arrangement special from the rest?

A:To make your floral tribute particularly special, we can customize the arrangement to fit the deceased personality, favorite hobby or even favorite sports team. For example, a rustic basket of wildflowers to honor someone who loved the outdoors, inserting a golf club or a baseball glove or knitting needles are just a few of the many possibilities. You could also include his or her favorite flowers or colors, or a flower that has special significance in your relationship with that person. Whatever you do, the family is sure to notice and appreciate it.

Q: I am part of a group. What are some suggestions?

A: When sending from groups, including grandchildren, nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors, business associates, and clubs go in together on flowers, the arrangements can be very special and make a larger showing. Such pieces can include standing sprays and wreaths. We offer many options for national clubs, associations and veterans. We can also customize a tribute from a business or private organization.

Q: What is appropriate to send for a cremation?

A: Cremations are becoming an alternative for many religions that previously opted for burials. Many cremations first hold a memorial service in a funeral home or place of worship and flowers are appropriate. The cremation then follows the memorial service. Standing sprays, fireside baskets or an elegant vase arrangement are all suitable. If the cremation takes place prior to the service, the urn is present at the memorial service and the family normally places a ring of flowers and/or candles around the urn.

Q: When is it considered too late to send an expression of sympathy?

A: It is always more appropriate to acknowledge a loss than to ignore it, especially if the person experiencing the loss is a coworker or friend. A floral arrangement or a plant received at the home after the activity surrounding the funeral can be a comforting and a welcome reminder that friends haven not forgotten. In fact, research shows that bereaved family and friends appreciate being though of in the weeks or months after the funeral. A personal note or 'We are thinking of you' message with the flowers would be especially nice. Any support that you can offer, even after the funeral will let the family know you care.


Etiquette By Religion

Protestants, Roman Catholics and other Christian faiths
accept all forms of funeral flowers. Traditionally, members of the immediate family will order the casket spray. Other family members order more traditional larger pieces such as standing sprays, heart shaped wreaths, floral cross or fireside baskets. Grandchildren may combine on one standing spray or select something for the interior of the casket.

Sending flowers is considered appropriate for a Buddhist funeral.

Eastern Orthodox
practitioners are strict about three days between death and burial. During this time, flowers may be sent to the funeral home. White funeral flowers are seen as especially meaningful.

hold a funeral service on the day of death, before the sun goes down if possible. Sending flowers isn't part of the Hindu tradition, but it may still be seen as a thoughtful gesture.

tradition doesn't include the sending of flowers to the funeral home. It's more appropriate to send a gift basket to the Shiva house during the period of mourning. However, Reformed Jews are open to receiving flowers at the funeral home. The family of many Reformed Jews even order casket sprays for the deceased.

Mormons (or Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
are held in the temple. Whereas flowers are appreciated at the funeral, do not send any arrangements in the shape of a cross, as this may offend.

Muslim or Islamic
cultures may have differing opinions concerning funeral flowers, depending on their ethnic origin and perhaps even on what particular branch of Islam they are from. Ask the opinion of someone close to the family, if you can.


Floral Tributes By Relationship

For Immediate Family Sending to the Funeral Service:
When the loss is an immediate family member, traditional pieces such as a heart shaped wreath, floral spray on a stand, a standing floral cross, or a casket spray (if you are a spouse or adult child for a parent) is appropriate to choose. Often family members may send one large piece from several siblings or a combination of pieces.

For Friends Sending to the Funeral Service:
Friends generally send standing sprays, fireside baskets, or triangular shaped floor designs that are placed on display, near the casket, during the viewing and for the funeral service.

For Friends Sending a Sympathy Gift to the Home:
If you are unable to attend the services, it is generally appropriate to send a gesture of sympathy to the family’s home. Traditional choices for a sympathy gift to the home are an elegant vase of flowers, a basket arrangement, blooming plant, baskets of fruit, food baskets and gourmet baskets.

For Co-workers Sending to the Funeral Service:
Coworkers will generally send the gift as a group. Appropriate floral arrangements for the service would be a standing spray or a fireside basket.

For Co-workers Sending a Sympathy Gift to the Home:
Appropriate sympathy gifts to send to the home are: a garden vase, green or blooming plants, dish gardens, fruit or gourmet baskets.


Sympathy Card Messages

- With Deepest Sympathy

- Our thoughts are with you

- May your memories comfort you

- With heartfelt sympathy

- Thinking of you at this time of sorrow.

- You are in our thoughts and prayers.

- Thinking of you at this difficult time.

The Time Following The Funeral

In the first few weeks after a death, family and friends are surrounded by love and attention. But the visits, flowers, cards, and calls eventually dwindle to a trickle, and then may be none. These are the toughest times. Experts say that although this initial outpouring of sympathy is a great comfort to a family that has lost a loved one, many people experiencing such a loss appreciate knowing they are being thought of in the weeks and months after the funeral. An arrangement of flowers or a lovely plant with your attached sentiment can help immensely after the rush of attention has subsided.

To provide support after the funeral:
Send a remembrance arrangement of flowers or gift basket or plant to the home a week or even a month after the funeral service with your sentiments.
Send a beautiful arrangement of flowers to their work on their first day back.
Send a remembrance bouquet on the one year anniversary of the loss.

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