Guide to Funeral Flower Arrangements

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
October 14th 2022 - 8 minute read
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Learn about flower arrangements for a funeral. We explain symbolism, colour, etiquette, and selecting the right blooms.

Funeral flowers are a standard part of many end-of-life services. Many flower options are available, but choices are often expected to follow specific etiquette related to the type of flower, arrangement, colour, etc. This article provides a guide to help you understand everything you need to know about funeral flowers.

What are funeral flowers?

Funeral flowers are flower arrangements sent to a funeral service. They were first used to help cover the odour caused by physiological changes in a deceased person's body after death. However, with modern preservation techniques, this is no longer prevalent.

Instead, funeral flowers are used as a visual representation of condolences for their deceased loved one and their family. Funeral flowers can also serve as a way to memorialize the deceased and bring beauty and brightness to an otherwise dark time.

Funeral flowers vs sympathy flowers

Flowers sent for a funeral can be referred to as funeral flowers or sympathy (or condolence) flowers. However, these are slightly different arrangements. As the name suggests, funeral flowers are sent to or used for a funeral. In contrast, sympathy flowers are more commonly sent directly to the home or work of the deceased person's immediate family. However, like funeral flowers, sympathy flowers also are a way to bring light and warmth to grieving families.

Funeral flower options

When purchasing funeral flowers, there are many types to choose from. However, the most prominent factors include the following:

  • Arrangement type
  • Colour
  • Flower type

Types of funeral flower arrangements

The types of flower arrangements for a funeral vary depending on purpose and function. Below are a few examples of common types of funeral flower arrangements you might consider:

  • Floral arrangements or baskets. These come in many different colours, styles, and sizes. These are typically sent to a funeral but can also be sent directly as sympathy flowers to the deceased person's close family.
  • Wreaths. These are generally large or elaborate pieces displayed near the casket or may be taken to the gravesite. The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes eternal life.
  • Standing sprays. These are standing pieces displayed on an easel. These are typically placed near the casket for viewing from one side only.
  • Casket sprays. The deceased person's family usually chooses these flower arrangements and places them on the casket.
  • Inside pieces. These are small flower arrangements placed inside a casket.
  • Dish gardens or plants. These are assortments of colourful flowers or lush plants in a basket or decorative container. Dish gardens or plants are suitable for funerals and can be sent as sympathy flowers.

Which colours should I choose for funeral flowers?

Many flower colours are suitable for funeral arrangements. However, some colours have specific symbolism. Below are some examples.

  • Blue flowers represent condolences, sadness, and mourning. Blue can also express peace and hope.
  • White flowers signify purity, innocence, sympathy, reverence, peace, and eternal love. This is one of the most common colours used for sympathy flowers but is also a popular choice for funeral flowers.
  • Orange flowers represent excitement, happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and warmth.
  • Red flowers signify beauty, strength, respect, devotion, admiration, and love.
  • Pink flowers signify compassion, sympathy, and innocence. Pink can also suggest remembrance.
  • Purple flowers signify admiration, beauty, respect, dignity, and sorrow. Since this is a darker colour, purple flowers serve more as an accent colour or are paired with similar colours.
  • Yellow flowers signify happiness, joy, friendship, warmth, and hope. Like orange flowers, yellow is bright and vibrant, which helps bring brightness to an arrangement.
  • Green flowers signify rebirth, renewal, nature, and wellness. This is a less common colour used in funeral flower arrangements.

Learn more about funeral flower colours in this article.

Which funeral flower type should I choose?

Many types of funeral flowers also have unique meanings and significance. Examples include:


Roses signify love and respect. However, the symbolism can change slightly depending on the colour. For example, a red rose may be better suited for the death of a spouse or parent, while a yellow rose may be better suited for the death of a friend.


These flowers are long-lasting and fragrant, making them ideal for longer services. Like roses, the significance changes slightly based on the colour.


Lilies are very popular. They are associated with the deceased person's soul, innocence and renewal. It makes them well-suited for religious services. However, lilies are also common sympathy flowers.


These flowers bring brightness and warmth to a funeral service, but symbolism varies depending on background and beliefs. For example, white chrysanthemums symbolize grief in China, Korea, and Japan. In contrast, these flowers are almost exclusively used for funeral arrangements or placed on graves in Europe.


These flowers represent strength, integrity, and character, making them an uplifting addition to funeral arrangements.


Orchids signify sympathy and often represent eternal love. They are often used as sympathy flowers but can be great additions to funeral arrangements.

Funeral flower etiquette

In general, guests cannot rarely go wrong with sending flowers. However, there are scenarios where flowers may not be appropriate or preferred. Funeral flower etiquette considerations include:

  • Relationship to the deceased person. Generally, larger and more elaborate flower arrangements are reserved for close family and friends of the deceased person. However, those with a distant relationship with the deceased person can express sympathy through smaller bouquets or baskets. Similarly, depending on the relationship, it may be appropriate to send sympathy flowers instead of funeral flowers.
  • Symbolism. Although guests can choose what is included in an arrangement, it is good to follow general colour, type, and style guidelines to ensure the flowers convey the intended message.
  • Type of service. Certain flowers are better suited for different funeral services. For example, a large standing spray would be better suited for a viewing, visitation or wake. In contrast, these arrangements may be too large to send to a recipient's home or place of work.
  • Religious affiliations. Flowers are not always appropriate for certain religions or cultures. For example, flowers are not commonly given to members of the Jewish or Islamic faiths. Similarly, white or yellow flowers are acceptable at a Buddhist funeral, but red flowers are not.
  • Funeral flower message. It is common to include a card with funeral flowers to indicate who it was sent by. Cards can also be used to express condolences (e.g., “Thinking of you during this difficult time”), but it is best to keep these messages short.

How much do funeral flowers cost?

The cost of funeral flowers varies greatly depending on the colour, style, and type of arrangement. For example, a simple condolence bouquet can cost as little as $10, but an elegant wreath can have a price tag of upwards of $500 and sometimes more. Similarly, carnations are long-lasting and fragrant, so they can be more expensive than flowers that wilt more quickly. To learn more about this,  see the top longest lasting cut flowers.

Overall, flower arrangements can be somewhat costly, but here are tips to help save money when purchasing or sending funeral flowers:

  • Shop around
  • Look for promotional codes online
  • Choose simpler options or smaller arrangements to save money
  • Place orders directly with a local florist instead of a flower network to eliminate the middle man and inflated service charges
  • Inquire about discounts through the funeral provider. Many have promotions with designated retailers
  • Consider a DIY arrangement

Where to buy funeral flowers?

Funeral flowers can be purchased directly from floral retailers, through a funeral home, online, at grocery stores or flower shops, etc. Many flower retailers also offer delivery services, allowing arrangements to be sent directly to where the funeral will be held. Note that this may incur an extra fee.

Choosing the perfect funeral flowers

The most important factor when purchasing or sending funeral flowers is the intention. It is good practice to consider flower etiquette and symbolism, but the goal of funeral flowers is to remember and honour the deceased. If flowers are sent with good intentions, grieving family and friends will likely appreciate the gesture.

The most important factor when purchasing or sending funeral flowers is the intention. It is good practice to consider flower etiquette and symbolism, but the goal of funeral flowers is to remember and honour the deceased. If flowers are sent with good intentions, grieving family and friends will likely appreciate the gesture.

Have a question?

Our team at Eirene can answer your questions via email at To make cremation arrangements with Eirene, click here.  

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