Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to order flowers for a funeral (Part 1: if you are ordering for a relative, co-worker, or friend)

  I receive many questions each week regarding what is "appropriate" to send when a friend, co-worker, associate or relative dies.   The answer is : pretty much any arrangement of flowers, small or large, is a gesture of love, thoughtfulness and sympathy to friends or family who are grieving.  You can never go wrong with acknowledging the passing of someone special.  However, I would like to point out some guidelines to keep in mind:

Balloons, stuffed animals and silk(artificial) arrangements are discouraged.  Unless you are an immediate family member (son, daughter, mother, father)picking out the item for yourself to take home after the service.  It is not appropriate to send these items to a funeral.  There is a fine line between paying respect and celebrating the life of the deceased and sending an item that is generally reserved for parties and the living.

When possible, group names of individuals together by families on enclosure cards.  Those that are grieving are going to glance at the card messages to gather a gist of who sent the flowers.    Same goes for long messages or passages- a simple "Thinking of you" , "You're in our Thoughts and Prayers" or "With Deepest Sympathy" followed by "From the Smith Family"  is really all that is necessary.   Direct messages to specific family members, personal messages, and religious passages should be handwritten on a larger card and hand-delivered or sent in the mail to the house for family to keep.    Keep it short and to the point.  The family will appreciate those longer messages of comfort and healing thoughts after all the chaos of the funeral is over.

If a group of people is going in on a sympathy arrangement, I would suggest no less than $10 a person.  The average funeral arrangements start at $45-$55.  It will look tacky for 20 names to be on a card of an arrangement that is the smallest in the room (*the exception is if the names on the card are of children)

Funerals are also not a time to "out do" another friend or family member with the size of your arrangement.  Let's not lose sight of the meaning of sending flowers.  It's the thought behind, not the size of your arrangement that is important.

"Don't use funeral flowers!"   I don't even know what this means.   Flowers are simply flowers, especially to a floral designer.  We do not categorize them by occasion but by color, length and size.

Fresh flowers are designed in 2 styles for funerals - For the home and for the service.  The items that fall in the "For the service Category:
Standing Easel Sprays:

Wreaths and Crosses on Easels: 

Traditional One-Sided Sympathy Arrangements (aka: maches/ funeral baskets)

For the Home arrangements are everyday vase and basket arrangements that are sent to the funeral/family visitation for a family member to take home after the funeral services are concluded and enjoy in their home: 
 If you would rather send an arrangement or plant directly to the home, that is also acceptable in times of grief.  Keep in mind when requesting delivery dates that any day after the funeral services have concluded, and up to a month afterwards is suggested and appropriate.   Most families are rather hectic during the period of time the services are scheduled and may not be available to receive deliveries.  

When placing your order online, in the "Recipient Name" fields- please put the name of the deceased when requesting deliveries to churches and funeral homes. Newspaper and online obituaries are organized by deceased names,  and we organize our deliveries by the deceased name as well.    

While the florist will deliver before any family visitation begins, we are required to deliver to the funeral home (or church's) flower room, usually in the rear of the building.  We are not involved with the final placement of your flowers in the receiving room.  That is strictly up to the funeral home staff or director.  

The lighting in a funeral home parlor/room is drastically different than regular daylight and will change the overall color and appearance of your arrangement.  Blues and purples are especially hard to see in darker rooms, while white and yellow stand out the most.  Greenery also tends to look very dark and increase the "spaces" around the flowers.  

I will cover ordering flowers for immediate family in the next blog post.  Hope this was helpful and is a point of reference the next time you need to order for a funeral.