Helping someone deal with the loss of a loved one is never easy. When it’s hard to find the words to say, sending funeral flowers for the service or sympathy gifts to the home are common ways to express your deepest condolences. Below are helpful funeral etiquette tips for you to lend your support during a difficult time, along with gift advice based on your relationship with the deceased.

Etiquette for sending appropriate funeral flowers and sympathy gifts based on relationship

Immediate family

If the deceased is an immediate family member, then larger, traditional pieces, such as funeral standing wreaths and hearts, standing crosses, large floral standing sprays, and casket flowers, are appropriate. Often, family members as a group will send one large piece or a combination of pieces. These large specialty floral pieces are often placed next to the casket.

Sympathy gift etiquette with someone placing a rose on top of a casket

Whether you’re sending funeral standing spraysfuneral standing wreaths, or funeral standing baskets, know that these displays can often be catered to fit the personality of the deceased, making for a very personalized experience. For example, if you know the deceased loved the color purple, a standing spray with purple flowers makes a thoughtful funeral flower choice. If you know the deceased was very involved in the church, a standing floral cross may be a good option in a cemetery or cremate.


Sending flowers to the funeral home

Of course, there are always different levels of friendship, from good acquaintances to best friends. How close you were with the deceased may alter the sympathy gift you choose for those in mourning. Chipping in with a group of friends also will change your decision.

The important part is that you connect and let them know that you care.

Jim McCann, Founder and Chairman, Inc.

For close friends and large friend groups, standing sprays or abundant flower baskets to be displayed at the funeral service are always a safe and thoughtful choice. For more casual friendships, sending a modest funeral flower arrangement for the service is a fine gesture.

Sending sympathy gifts to the home

If you cannot attend the services, it’s generally appropriate to send your condolences to the grieving family’s home. Traditional choices for a sympathy gift to the home include an elegant vase of flowersbasket arrangements, or sympathy plantsSympathy gift baskets also have become a popular and thoughtful gift to send to the home. There are many gourmet sympathy gift baskets of comfort food from which to choose, with everything from meat and cheese to cookies and chocolate.


Sending flowers to the funeral service

Professional colleagues will generally send a group gift. An appropriate floral arrangement for the service may be a standing spraystanding basket, or fireside basket.

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Sending sympathy gifts to the home

In most cases, a note or card is appropriate and sufficient to express your sympathy to the family of a deceased work colleague. If you worked closely together, you might send a sympathy flower arrangement or dish gardenFruit, food, or gourmet baskets are also appropriate and appreciated.

“The important part is that you connect and let them know that you care,” says Jim McCann, founder and chairman, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. “It’s the thought that counts.”

Gourmet sympathy baskets and prepared meals

Gourmet food — whether baskets of individual snacks or full meals — is not just a thoughtful gift for those who are grieving but an especially considerate and convenient gesture. Sympathy baskets are carefully designed to include wide selections of comfort foods, ranging from fresh fruits to gourmet cookies, suitable for the home of a grieving family or memorial service. Sympathy meals provide restaurant-quality entrees and side dishes to be enjoyed in the comfort of home. Each meal arrives fully prepared, making it easy to eat and feed guests during a difficult time.


At Harry & David, we deliver expertly crafted delight.

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