What color flowers to give for a funeral?

Updated February 21, 2017

Funerals offer an opportunity to honour and remember the deceased and flowers remain an important part of the service. You might choose to send floral arrangements to serve as a visual representation of the love, admiration and respect with which you viewed the deceased and to indicate your support for the bereaved families. Flowers can also serve as a welcoming diversion during the service, imparting warmth and beauty to the proceedings. By selecting funeral flowers in colours that impart traditional meanings or personalising floral tributes to honour the deceased's personality, you can create a meaningful sympathy arrangement.

Traditional Colors

Select white flowers, a traditional colour of mourning in many countries, to convey peace and purity. Consider choosing lilies: the white colour indicates majesty, as well as serving as a symbolic reminder of the innocence restored to the soul of the deceased. White chrysanthemums, associated with truth in the USA, carry a strong symbolism of death and lamentation in Korea, Japan and many European countries, making them a traditional part of many funeral arrangements. White carnations, one of the most popular choices for sympathy arrangements, according to the flower company FTD, stand for pure love and innocence. You will almost certainly wish to include some white roses, which can convey humility and reverence.

Consider giving red flowers, a colour that expresses love to commemorate the life of a dearly beloved friend or loved one. Express passion and undying love with red roses or admiration using red carnations. Choose red flowers to indicate the courage and beauty of the deceased.

Pick earthier hues for deceased men and pastel flowers for a woman. Pink flowers indicate grace and gentility, as well as remembrance. Purple arrangements can be used in lighter hues or darker ones to indicate accomplishment and admiration. Select flowers in a variety of autumnal hues to add a masculine theme to the arrangement.

Customised Sympathy Arrangements

Work with your florist to use the language of flowers to create a personalised arrangement that suits the personality and interests of the deceased. According to Susan Loy, the author of "Flowers, the Angels' Alphabet," the language of flowers is a literary tradition based upon books popularised during Victorian times, which associated certain flowers with specific meanings. See Resources for specific information on each flower colour and their meanings.

Take the individual's hobbies and personality into account when creating the arrangement. If the deceased person enjoyed gardening and cultivating specific flowers, consider adding these favourites to your arrangement. Choose wildflowers for somebody who loved the outdoors. According to Philip's Floral, a florist that serves the US and Canadian market, funeral floral tributes can be of all hues, even bright and cheery ones, since the funeral service pays tribute to the deceased and flowers offer a meaningful way to provide additional insight into the deceased's personality.

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About the Author

A former children's librarian and teacher living in Dallas, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and parenting through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various websites.