Flowers bring people joy, so it’s no surprise they are an integral part of many special occasions. We often think of poinsettias at Christmas, roses on Valentine’s Day, and lilies for Easter. It is common for weddings to feature stunning arrangements and for anniversaries to involve thoughtful bouquets. Funerals are no exception. Whether it is a lavish display of gladioli or a vase with a single yellow rose, flowers add beauty and sentiment to one of life’s most momentous events: death.

When someone I know passes away, should I send flowers to the funeral home or the family’s home?

Both are great options. Flowers delivered to the family’s home or place of work are often referred to as sympathy flowers and can be sent any time to show you are thinking of them. Those arrangements should be addressed to the family, and you might want to include a thoughtful condolence message.

Funeral flowers, sent directly to the funeral home, are very common displays at funeral and memorial services. Funeral homes make sending flowers to the service easy because most have an option to order arrangements through their website. All you have to do is choose and pay online. The system will automatically send your order to a local flower shop and have it delivered to the service.

If you plan to deliver flowers to the funeral home yourself, be sure to get them there with plenty of time before the visiting time or service begins. Also, keep in mind that funeral flower customs can vary based on religious beliefs and cultural norms, so you may need to take that into consideration.

No matter where you choose to send an arrangement, be sure to sign the card with your complete name(s) since the family may know many others with the same first or last name as you.

What if I would like to send an arrangement but the obituary says, “In lieu of flowers . . .”?

When the family includes a specific request for donations instead of flowers, it is best to respect their wishes. You could consider sending simple flowers along with a note saying you made a donation to the organization they listed.

What options are there for funeral flower arrangements?

There are casket sprays, standing sprays, baskets, wreaths, and other individual bouquet selections.

How do I decide which flowers to send someone who is grieving?

Some find it heartwarming to send the type of flowers that the decedent most preferred. While any color of flower will be cherished, white and yellow are common choices. Many floral websites have a designated section for sympathy and funeral flowers to choose from, or you can simply ask the florist what they might suggest.

What should I do with the flowers after my loved one’s memorial service?

You get to decide what to do with a loved one’s funeral flower arrangements. Possible options include taking them home, leaving a few behind at a gravesite, giving some to family and friends, or donating them to places such as hospitals or nursing homes. You can also separate the arrangements into smaller groupings, and the opportunities for brightening others’ days with a beautiful bouquet are endless.

Also, before you decide what to do with the flowers, it might be worthwhile to take photographs of the arrangements to look back on.