Choosing Flowers for Your Funeral or Memorial Service

Flowers are a common decorative element used in funerals and memorial services and are usually purchased by the family for the service and by friends as a token of condolences. Along with music and special readings, choosing the type of flowers you'd like at your service is a way of making the service will look and feel the way you want.

Types of funeral flowers and arrangements

Though you can have any type of flower or style of arrangement at your funeral or memorial service, there are some flowers and arrangements that are commonly used at funerals and memorial serivces.

Traditional funeral flower arrangements include:

  • Casket sprays, which cover a casket
  • Standing sprays, which are arrangements displayed on an easel and shaped in the form of bouquets, wreaths, hearts, crosses, and other shapes
  • Bouquets in baskets or vases

Common types of funeral flowers include:

  • Lilies
  • Roses
  • Carnations
  • Gladioli

How to choose flowers for your funeral or memorial service

If you'd like to have flowers at your funeral or memorial service, think about what you'd like the overall effect of the flowers to be.

  • Would you like a few simple bouquets, or would you prefer many lavish arrangements?
  • Would you like the flowers to convey a somber mood or a celebratory mood?
  • Since different flowers have different scents, are there some scents you prefer more than others?

You can also choose flowers based on color. While white is a common choice for funeral flowers, you can also choose flowers based on your personal favorite colors, your favorite sports team’s colors, the colors of the season, or any other criteria that matter to you.

Religious considerations

While many religions support the presence of flowers at a funeral or memorial service, it is customary in some religions for flowers not to be part of the ceremony (such as in Judaism). If you are planning a religious funeral and you're not sure of your religion's attitude toward flowers at a funeral, it's best to check with your religious leader or read our article on Religious Funeral Traditions.

Deciding what to do with flowers after the service

After the service is over, consider what you'd like your family to do with the flowers purchased for the service. Your family can take the flowers home or give them to friends. If the funeral or memorial service will take place at a religious place of worship, you can donate the flowers to your church, synagogue, or mosque. You can also make arrangements to have the flowers donated to a local hospital, hospice, or nursing home. Whatever you decide you'd like to have your family do with the flowers, let them know what your preferences are so that they can follow your wishes.

To buy flowers online, use our resource Guide: Purchasing Flowers.

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