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Like most things with funerals, choosing the right arrangement for funeral flowers comes with its own etiquette.

Funeral flowers are not always appropriate for every faith, and not every family wants flowers at the funeral service. For example, they may request the money is donated to a charity close to the heart of the deceased.

Throwing the funeral flowers away is difficult sometimes too. And for some the sign of wilted and dying flowers is a painful reminder of the finality of the recent loss.

Choosing the Right Arrangement for Funeral Flowers – Common Arrangements

If you want to give flowers, then it’s certainly in keeping with the tradition. There’s evidence of flowers being placed at gravesides going back 62,000 years BCE. But it’s ultimately your relationship to the deceased and the family that dictates which floral tribute you give. 

Coffin Sprays and Standing Sprays

A coffin spray is designed to on top of the coffin to create a stunning visual effect. This type of spray mixes green foliage with the flowers and will often be the main floral tribute and is chosen by the immediate family.

Other types of spray are standing sprays and funeral sprays. Standing sprays are displayed on an easel near the coffin, while funeral sprays might be sent to the funeral home or to the graveside where there is a burial.

Baskets and Posies and Sheafs

These type of flower arrangements come in several sizes and might be sent to the funeral home for viewing at the chapel of rest or to the family’s home. A posy is a circular arrangement which allows the flowers to be seen from all viewpoints.

Wreaths, Crosses and Hearts

These are among the larger floral tributes at a funeral and because they are larger are often delivered to the funeral home for delivery to the funeral ceremony. The wreath traditionally represents eternal life, the heart represents love and the cross has religious associations attached.

Pillows and Cushions

An arrangement that comes in a variety of sizes and designed to represent rest and comfort.


Flowers spelling a name or initials are hugely personal. It’s a traditional flower arrangement at funerals and is often seen while the coffin is being transported in the hearse.

Other Floral Tributes

  • Vases – a floral arrangement in a vase and usually sent to the home of the immediate family in tribute.
  • Dish gardens or plants – a basket or container of assorted plants that is sent to the family’s home or to the wake.


How to Approach Choosing the Right Arrangement for Funeral Flowers

Etiquette at funerals says that flowers for the coffin or the main tribute is chosen by the immediate family. Other relatives and close friends have a huge range of options. Below are the most common, but ultimately the choice of flowers is personal.

Immediate Family

  • Main tribute
  • Sprays
  • Letters
  • Crosses
  • Hearts

Relatives and Close Friends

  • Wreaths
  • Letters
  • Posies (usually friends)
  • Baskets (usually friends)
  • Sheafs (usually friends)
  • Cushions
  • Pillows

Friends and Colleagues

  • Posies
  • Baskets
  • Sheafs
  • Smaller sprays


Should You Send Flowers?

Flowers are not suitable as tributes for some cultures and faiths and some have rules around which flowers are appropriate and what the colours represent. So, it’s always worth checking that the family are happy to receive flowers. For example, Buddhist funerals welcome flowers, especially white – it’s their traditional colour of mourning. But red is considered the colour of joy and so it’s poor etiquette to send flowers this colour.


Church of England, Catholic and Protestant Christian

Flowers are welcome.


Most flowers are welcome but avoid cross-shaped tributes.


It is not traditional to send flowers to a Jewish funeral, particularly in the first seven days.


Flowers are accepted at Hindu funerals, but you are expected to arrive at the funeral carrying nothing. Garlands are more commonly worn at a Hindu funeral.


It is not traditional to send flowers to an Islamic funeral. You should check before sending.


Flowers are welcome and some mourners bring the flowers for the altar as a form of condolence. Don’t send or bring red flowers because to Buddhists red represents joy.


Sending Flowers After the Funeral

It can be comforting for relatives to receive flowers along with a personal note of support in the weeks or months after a funeral has taken place. Again, consider if the culture or religion accepts it.


Choosing the Right Arrangement for Funeral Flowers – Which Flowers?

The flowers you choose will have a different meaning in terms of a funeral tribute. Our blog on the meanings of funeral flowers gives you more advice on what the flowers you choose represent.

Popular flowers include:

  1. Lilies

  2. Gladioli

  3. Carnations

  4. Chrysanthemums

  5. Roses

  6. Orchids

  7. Hydrangeas

  8. Peace Lily Plant

  9. Daffodils and Tulips

And of course, not every family wants flowers. It’s fairly common these days for a family to choose a charity that’s important to them or the deceased and ask for a donation from mourners in place of floral tributes. Read our 10 alternatives to sympathy flowers here.


We can help with your flower requirements.

Your S Stibbards and Sons Ltd funeral arranger can discuss floral tributes, helping you choose a fitting tribute. We can then place an order on your behalf, helping take the stress out of an already emotional time. If you want to make your own floral arrangements, we can easily incorporate them into the funeral according to your wishes.

One thing we do recommend is that your flowers are delivered to the S Stibbards and Sons Ltd funeral office where the funeral was arranged, on the morning of the funeral.

To get in touch with the team please contact us. We are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For general enquires use the contact form on our website and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

01702 922267

[email protected]

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If you wish to have a discussion with one of our funeral arrangers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can talk through yours and your loved one’s needs and discuss how we can best celebrate their life.