How To Build the Perfect Sympathy Flower Bouquet

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:


Flowers have long been considered the appropriate gift to give to bereaved loved ones as a sign of love and care. Recent studies have found that fresh flowers have tangible, positive effects on our brains, making the case for sympathy flowers even stronger.

If you’ve never sent or received a sympathy flower bouquet, you may not know what types of flowers to include. While any flowers are bound to be appreciated, there are some rules of thumb you may want to follow.

In fact, there’s even an etiquette to sending sympathy bouquets that you may want to keep in mind. Fortunately, we’re here to clue you in.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about creating and sending the perfect sympathy flower bouquet.

Are Sympathy Flowers the Same as Funeral Flowers?

You may have heard the term “funeral flowers” before and wonder if that’s the same thing we’re talking about today. While both types of arrangements are used during a period of grief, they are not the same thing.

Funeral flowers are typically handled by the family of the deceased. They are the floral arrangements you may see around the church or ceremonial space, on the casket, or around the gravesite. These typically take the shape of wreaths or other large arrangements.

Sympathy flowers, on the other hand, refer to floral arrangements sent to the bereaved from friends and loved ones. They should be on the smaller side–between ten and sixteen stems, appropriate for a standard vase. Rather than bringing them to a funeral or memorial service, you will want to have them delivered to the home(s) of the bereaved. 

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What Types of Flowers Should Be Used in a Sympathy Flower Bouquet?

What goes in a sympathy bouquet? If you’re looking to create a more traditional sympathy flower arrangement, you’ll stick with white flowers. The color white symbolizes things like honor, purity, humility, and (of course) sympathy.

Flowers that are often used in sympathy bouquets include roses and lilies. However, it’s not out of the ordinary to see sympathy bouquets of carnations, orchids, hydrangeas, and chrysanthemums. 

Nowadays, more people are sending sympathy bouquets that do include color. However, you may want to go with a monochromatic color scheme of colors like blue or purple, rather than a dozen different colors. Check out this flower site to get an idea of what kinds of arrangements are available in your price range. 

When Should You Send Sympathy Flowers?

As we mentioned earlier, you will want to send sympathy flowers to the bereaved where they live, rather than bringing them to the funeral. This will give them less to keep track of and worry about during the ceremony, itself.

You may want to get a general sense of the bereaved’s travel schedule, particularly if the ceremony was not held near their home. After all, you don’t want them to come home to a wilted bouquet on their front porch.

In fact, you don’t have to wait until the ceremony to send flowers at all. While funerals often occur soon after the loss of a loved one, memorial services may not happen for a few weeks. In this case, you can send your flowers within one to three weeks after the passing of the bereaved’s loved one. 

You may not want to wait much longer than a few weeks after the passing or funeral. Show your support and love as soon as possible.

What Should You Write in Your Note?

Whether you hand-deliver your sympathy flowers or have them delivered by a floral service, you will want to include a note. If you knew the deceased personally, you may wish to include a personal anecdote about them. If not, make sure to include a small statement expressing your condolences.

Possible options include:

  • I’m sorry for your loss
  • Sending you love during this time of grief
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you 
  • [Name of deceased] will be missed

Make sure to also include your name. Don’t be offended if you don’t receive an acknowledgment or thank you card for sending sympathy flowers. Remember, those who are grieving have a lot on their plates.

Is Sending a Sympathy Plant Appropriate?

Some people wonder if it is appropriate to send a sympathy plant instead of a sympathy flower bouquet. You should only do this if you know that the recipient enjoys keeping houseplants or gardening and will appreciate the gesture. Otherwise, you may be giving them a chore they don’t have time for. 

If you do choose to send a plant, consider one that requires minimal maintenance. Peace lilies, for example, produce beautiful flowers but don’t need constant sunlight or a rigid watering schedule. 

What If the Bereaved Has Requested Donations to Charity, Instead?

In some cases, you may discover that the bereaved has asked for a donation to a specific charity in lieu of flowers. Should you still send them flowers?

Ultimately, you should always respect their wishes. Make a donation to the charity of their choice. If you still want to send flowers after doing so, this may be appropriate.

Share Your Condolences With a Sympathy Bouquet 

There is a reason that sending a sympathy flower bouquet is a common custom. Flowers bring comfort, joy, and beauty to the homes of our grieving loved ones. They’re also a great way to share your condolences and reach out to the bereaved without asking for anything in return.

We hope that our guide to creating and sending a sympathy flower bouquet has proven helpful. If you’re looking for more information about how to follow proper etiquette or follow the latest trend, stick around. We have plenty of tips, guides, and news that we know you will enjoy. 

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