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Sympathy Flowers Etiquette

Updated April 17, 2017

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult times in life. While the passing of a friend or esteemed colleague might be difficult for you, your main priority should be to express your condolences to the family. Sending an arrangement of sympathy flowers to the family is considered an appropriate way to express your sorrow.

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Type of Arrangement to Send

There are certain factors to consider when choosing the type of arrangement to send; generally, the closer you were to the deceased, the more elaborate the arrangement should be. For an immediate family member, send a casket spray or standing cross. If the arrangement is for a relative, send a less elaborate standing spray or wreath. For a friend, select a simple arrangement of flowers or a standing basket.

Appropriate Time to Send Flowers

Timing is crucial when sending sympathy flowers. If your flowers arrive during the funeral service, you risk upsetting the family and guests by disrupting the service. Coordinate the flowers to arrive prior to the initial viewing. Never arrange for flowers to arrive during the graveside service.

What to do if You're Late

If you're late in sending sympathy flowers to the funeral service, you can still express your condolences by sending flowers to the home of an immediate family member (typically spouse, parents or both). It is considered proper etiquette to send sympathy flowers up to four weeks after the funeral service. However, the arrangement should be simpler than the standard wreath or spray for funeral homes. Sending a plant, gourmet gift basket or simple flower arrangement is considered appropriate. Wait approximately two weeks to send the sympathy arrangement. Be sure to confirm the recipient's location; often family members will take time off work or visit close family members.

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About the Author

Based in the countryside of New York, Jazmin Espinal has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008. When writing for the Studio, Espinal excels on creating content in the topics of home decor, business development, time management, health and personal care.

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