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Where Do I Send Sympathy Flowers?

Sending flowers is the traditional way to show your condolences during a time of grief.  Here are some etiquette rules to help you know the appropriate place and time to send sympathy flowers.

What exactly are sympathy flowers?

Sympathy flowers are sent to the family or loved ones of the deceased. During this difficult time the flowers bring hope, peace and comfort.

What location do I send the sympathy flowers to?

A sympathy flower arrangement should be sent to the residence of the family or loved ones of the deceased. Typically sympathy flowers are more common to send when there isn’t a funeral service or viewing period. This way even if there is no service you can still show your support. However, sending sympathy flowers to the home even when there is a funeral service has become increasingly popular. Funeral flowers are to be sent to the funeral home as soon as possible, but sending sympathy flowers is appropriate at anytime. Even sending a sympathy arrangement a few weeks after the funeral is appropriate and shows continuous support.

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Funeral Flower Etiqutte

Your Questions Answered! 
Flowers are the perfect way to express sympathy to those that have lost a loved one. Knowing what etiquette to follow though can be tough. Here are some answers to frequently asked funeral flower etiquette questions.

Does the type of floral arrangement matter?
The type of floral arrangement to send depends on your relationship to the deceased. Typically the immediate family selects a casket spray or shaped wreath to accompany the casket.

Some of the most popular flowers are carnations, chrysanthemums, glads, lilies or roses. The best advice is to pick flowers that you think the family will appreciate.

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Every Star Deserves Flowers!

Ask the Expert:
I am attending a local play that a girlfriend is acting in. Thinking I should bring flowers but not sure what is appropriate. Please let me know Thanks! Susan

Flower Shop Network Expert Reply:
Flowers are a lovely gesture for any occasion. In fact, flowers and the theater have a very long history. Single stem roses were often thrown on stage at the end of a performance. The lead actress would pick these flowers up as she took her bows. So, it is perfectably acceptable to give someone flowers who is performing in a play.

Hand-tied flower bouquets are the beat flower choice for the theater. Depending on the situation and the recipient, you could give the actress a hand-tied bouquet of roses or mixed flowers after the performance.

If you want to send something prior to the performance, a vase arrangement would be the best choice. Your local florist can help you decide which type of arrangement is the best choice for your actress based on the theater.

This flower giving tip was brought to you by New York Florists who deliver flowers to the theater district on a daily basis.

Etiquette Matters: Who Pays For The Wedding Flowers?

Someone asked a really good question on Wedding And Party Network about wedding flower etiquette. I knew when I read it that many of the Bloomin’ Blog readers could benefit from this info so here goes! Here’s some wedding etiquette to break things up. (Read the question and more on Wedding And Party Network’s wedding flower etiquette–who pays? blog.)

The Question: My parents want to help pay for the wedding so that my fiancee and I can have a nicer ceremony. We really appreciate the help but aren’t sure what to ask them to pay. We don’t want to step on toes or ask too much to we thought about asking them to buy the wedding flowers. Is that appropriate? ~ Jesse J. from Fountain, Colorado.

Brynn’s Answer: Great question! The short answer is that it is traditionally the responsibility of the bride or bride’s family to pay for the wedding flowers. –BUT– Today’s society sees so many weddings being paid for by people other than the bride’s family. For instance, it is often the role of the bride to pay for the wedding while the groom pays for the honeymoon. Some couples go in together. Many times the groom’s parents take on part of the payments while the bride’s family picks up the other. The simplest answer is that yes, it is acceptable to ask your parents to pay for the wedding flowers.

A Reminder To Florists: If you are a florist, here is a small tidbit to keep in mind when working with the bride. If her mother or mother-in-law is paying for the wedding flowers there could be potential conflict. She may passively opt for something smaller or of less value so as to appease her mother. Her mother may passively encourage this. Then again, both could be rather blunt women. Either way, keep in mind that some mediation may be required to make sure that the bride gets exactly what she wants for her wedding.

Did You Remember The Return Address With Sympathy Flowers?

You’d be surprised how many people do not include a return address when sending sympathy flowers. This could be for many reasons and no one is at fault. However, including an address with sympathy flowers has many benefits. The next time you send flowers to express condolences, ask your local florist to include an address where you can be reached in the future. Here’s why:

  • “That will make it seem like I want to be thanked.” Not really. It’s a very courteous gesture that will not be perceived as polite and prudent In fact, it’s somewhat expected.
  • Once the family has had a few days to grieve, most tend to send “thank you” cards to those who have expressed their sympathies. Whether or not this seems necessary to the sender, it is polite to include an address just in case.
  • In lieu of “thank  you” cards, many people try to contact the sender by phone or in person. Though they probably have this information, including an address and perhaps phone number will make it easier for the recipient to contact you after the services have ended. If your address is included with the sympathy flowers, the recipient will not have to go far to find your information whether he or she has it or not.

This kind of simple convenience goes a long way to someone who has just lost someone that they love. It’s a hassle to do even the slightest chores. Even though things have usually settled by the time this type of contact is made, it is still easier to have things laid out nice and neat in front of them.

If you are a florist, remember to ask for an address where the sender can be reached. This is not a must-have as far as sending sympathy flowers goes, of course. However, there will be far fewer troublesome phone calls after the service. Many who do not receive word that the flowers were received like to call the florist to verify delivery. Some call the recipient. Making sure to include an address with the enclosure card is one way to avoid this hassle for everyone.

Try These 5 Prom Flower Styles in 2009!

Ok. It’s the big night. You’re standing there looking stunning in the dress that took two weeks and as many credit cards to find. Your hair has never looked better. Your face is clear, your teeth sparkle. You are a beauty to behold. That’s when you hear your date ring the doorbell. You coyly greet him only to find that he has brought something else besides a prom corsage. Could it be so? Is he even able to do that?


Prom flowers have taken many new shapes and sizes over the years. As the dresses get shorter, lighter and much more “springy,” so also do prom flowers change. (Yes, I actually say “so also do” and I’m not 100.) As far as having to stick to prom corsages goes, that’s not so much the case anymore. These flowers are gorgeous and perfectly acceptable. Plus, you can dress them up to fit you. However, don’t be alarmed if your date shows up with something a little less standard.

Florists are finding more and more that prom flowers need to fit the personalities of both the young lady and the young man. What I mean by this is that if you are a flashy, showy woman who likes to be bold–try a bolder looking bracelet wrist corsage. As a rocking young woman, I prefer these because your accessories ring a lot of personality to the whole ensemble. Instead of simple black and a pop of color, you now have your pretty black dress with an eye-catching bracelet and flowers that suck the attention straight back to you.

Prom Flowers by Inspired Floral Design Prom Pocket Squares from Oakhill Florist Beautiful Prom Corsages

Want to get some major compliments on prom night? Here are some flowers for prom that are hot in 2009:

1) Prom Pocket Squares (for guys) — not as familiar as the rest but definitely worth the wear. Prom pocket squares hold a photo of your date with floral accents to complement her corsage. Want more information on prom pocket squares? Call Oakhill Florist, a great flower shop in Scarborough Maine.

1) Wrist Corsages — you guessed it. The traditional is always going to show up in a list like this. However, modern girls are turning the traditional prom accessory into something trendy and fun. All it takes is a phone call to your local florist. He or she will talk with you about how to use ribbons, jeweled bracelets and particular types of flowers to make your corsage work for you.

2) Boutonnieres — again with the traditional but there are modern spins to be put on these as well. Just let your florist know that you want a very unique, contemporary boutonniere for your date. Once you know what color he’ll wear, the rest is a breeze! (Want a fun prom photo? Have a friend snap a pic of your date wearing your flowers and you wearing his. Strike a James Bond-esque “cool” pose and laugh about it for years.)

3) Bracelet Corsages — this is a little bit different than a typical wrist corsage because modern prom flowers mean very contemporary styles for the accessories worn with them. Jeweled bracelets make people WANT to show off what used to just be something to keep the flowers on their wrists. Now it’s an eye-catching fashion statement! Florists now have awesome bracelets and other jewelry that they can attach the flowers to.

4) Flower Bouquets — seems a little unorthodox considering the party atmosphere of a prom but these favored flowers are anything but passe. If your date shows up with a bouquet of flowers–well, that’s just worthy of a good solid hug. Only a sweetheart would go the extra mile to make YOU fell special. After all, you’re not going to be showing off a bouquet to your friends. These flowers are just for you; something to keep the memories of that night alive. Extra points for him and you if he shows up with something to wear to prom AND something to enjoy for yourself. He’s a keeper!

While these may not seem like “new” concepts for prom flowers, the whole idea with this accessory in 2009 is to make it all…about…YOU. Accentuate your personality because it’s YOUR prom. Flowers are just the icing on the cake. You’re the main attraction so ask your florist to create flowers for prom that bring your personality to life. Bold? Be a little brazen. Reserved? Try something traditional. In love with your date? Go romantic. It’s all up to you!

In Lieu Of Flowers Doesn’t Mean No Funeral Flowers

Back in December, Central Square News (the Central Square Florist blog) addressed the issue of “In Lieu of Flowers” concerning funeral flowers. It seems the question concerning the appropriateness of sending sympathy flowers surfaces over and over again. The 2003 Flower Shop Network newsletter – In Lieu of Flowers addressed the importance of flowers in the bereavement process. In fact, there have been many studies that prove the importance of flowers during times of emotional stress. But, I realized that the reason this question comes up, time and time again, is that people are uncomfortable with funerals and don’t want to make any mistake when it comes to showing their sympathy and support.

Funeral FlowersUnderstanding some of the terminology used in obituaries can help elevate some of the questions people have concerning funerals and what is appropriate. As Central Square Florist explains the term “in lieu of flowers” gives you the option of sending a donation instead of flowers – it is acceptable to give both, flowers and a donation. This phrase, however, does not state that the family does not want flowers. If flowers are not wanted at the service, the term “please omit” will be used.

Flowers are one of the most thought ways to express your sympathy, but ordering funeral flowers can be a frightening experience for some. Not all families deal with funerals the same way. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t believe that children should be exposed to funerals. As a result, I was unprepared the first time I needed to send flowers to a funeral. I was in college and a friend was killed in a car accident. I remember calling the local florist shop; I rambled on about needing flowers, not knowing what was appropriate or what information the florist needed; luckily the florist was very patient – walking me through all the steps and making suggestions. It would have been helpful to have some kind of guide.

As always, Flower Shop Network tries to give it’s reader pertained information about anything concerning flowers. In fact, the FSN Funeral Flower Etiquette newsletter discusses everything from the types of funeral flowers to the appropriateness of sympathy flowers based on culture. Although the newsletter is very helpful, I found that InLieuOfFlowers.info had a couple of really neat tribute guides. The Tribute Preference by State lists five types of floral sympathy categories (baskets – sprays – arrangements – wreaths, hearts & crosses – green and blooming plants) and then lists the categories in order of frequencies for each state. The Tribute Guide by Relationship lists the type of floral piece and which is appropriate to send by relationship.

So although “In Lieu of Flowers” is an option when you need to convey your sympathy remember it doesn’t mean no flowers. Flowers truly touch the heart and give comfort, so don’t be afraid to send flowers. If you are unsure of what kind of funeral flowers to send,

Talk to a local florist, read the FSN newsletters or check out the sympathy guides at InLieuOfFlower.info. If you have funeral flower questions, I’m always here to answer them. Remember, the funeral flowers you send will give convey a message of comfort and support in a difficult and emotional time.

Did you know, you can use FSNfuneralhomes.com to find a funeral home anywhere in the US and Canada.

Appropriate Gift for Kwanzaa

Ask the Expert: My co-worker celebrates Kwanzaa and I would like to send him a gift to show my respect for his culture. Would flowers be an appropriate gift for a Kwanzaa celebration?


Kwanzaa means “first fruits” and originates from the first harvest celebrations of Africa. Gifts are mainly given to children and include a book and a heritage symbol. Since Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday I would suggest sending a fruit gift basket since the fruit represents a valued part of their culture — the harvest and particularly the celebration of thanks and respect for the harvest.

Just a little extra Kwanzaa information:

Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days — beginning Dec 26th and celebrated until the end of Jan 1st.

Kwanzaa is a time to honor and respect one’s elders and heritage. Family and community play an important part in Kwanzaa. It is not a religious holiday.

Flower Etiquette For Hanukkah.

Ask the Expert: I know that Hanukkah begins at sundown today, but I don’t know the proper etiquette for gift giving during the holiday. I would like to send my friend a flower arrangement to acknowledge the importance of this holiday to their faith. Would it be appropriate?

Are Fireside Baskets Appropriate For Funerals?

Yesterday my neighbor called to ask me what I thought about sending a fireside basket to a funeral. She explained that an old high school friend passed away recently and she and some other friends sent sympathy flowers to the service held in another state. She explained that one of the ladies in her group handled all the arrangements. My neighbor received a thank you card for the fireside basket that was sent. She was concerned because she didn’t know what a fireside basket was and that it might not be appropriate for a funeral service.

Fireside baskets are floral arrangements created in a broad, low-sided, oval handled basket. Many times this type of flower arrangement is used as an appropriate alternative to a standing spray. In fact many families prefer a fireside basket to a standing spray.

While helping my sister-in-law at her flower shop, I have seen many funeral arrangements. I find that the fireside baskets were some of the most appropriate floral tributes. I remember a couple of fireside baskets that really represented the personality of the deceased. One basket was arranged so the flowers looked like they had been picked from someone’s flower garden and placed in the basket. This fireside basket was for an avid gardener. The second basket was for a man who loved fishing and the flowers were arranged in the basket with a fisherman figurine. It looked like the fisherman was walking through a wildflower field to his fishing hole.
So to make a long story short. It is appropriate to send a fireside basket to a funeral