There is no strict set of rules when it comes to choosing a floral arrangement for a funeral or memorial service. However, some flowers are traditionally more popular than others for saying goodbye. We have compiled a list of the most common types of funeral flowers and the symbolic meaning behind each type of flower. When choosing what kind of floral display you would like it can be helpful to think about the relationship you have had with the deceased, and pick something that best reflects that relationship.
Lilies are a popular choice as they come in a range of colours and emit a lovely scent.
What it means: The white Lily is commonly associated with love, devotion, and purity. However, there is one downside to using Lilies - if their pollen drops onto white tablecloths or other materials it can stain the surface of the fabric.
What it means: Carnations have long been associated as a traditional flower for funerals because they are long-lasting and have a strong fragrance. They signify love, fascination, protection, and strength. However, the meaning behind carnations does vary depending on the colour. For instance, pink carnations symbolise gratitude, white carnations signify purity and good luck, and red carnations are associated with love and affection.
The Gladioli is commonly used for funeral services due to its unique shape. The flowers bloom along each side of a long stem which can grow up to a metre in length. Due to its height the Gladioli is often used in funeral services on caskets because it is so eye-catching.
What it means: The Gladioli symbolises strong moral values such as faithfulness, integrity, and honesty.
Roses are a classic floral choice for any occasion so it’s no surprise they feature as one of the most popular options for funeral flowers.
What it means: Red roses are universally known to symbolise love, while the darker red flowers can represent grief. Yellow roses signify friendship, pink symbolises love, grace, and appreciation, and white roses demonstrate purity and innocence.
Chrysanthemums have a different meaning depending on what part of the world you live in. In parts of Europe they are used exclusively for funerals, while in Asia the flower symbolises death. In the United States they are more of a cheerful flower that signifies respect and honour.
What it means: These flowers generally symbolise longevity, joy, and optimism. However, the specific colours and culture of the country you are in can significantly impact the meaning behind the use of the Chrysanthemum. The use of a red Chrysanthemum signifies love, yellow signifies neglect and sorrow, and white signifies loyalty.
Instead of giving someone a bunch of flowers, an orchid in a pot can be a popular choice for a gift at a funeral. Unlike a bouquet which will wilt and die after a week a plant can last for years if it is looked after properly.
What it means: In the context of a funeral, orchids signify respect and admiration. Any colour is appropriate to use as funeral flowers. Purple signifies respect and dignity, pink symbolises grace and innocence, red signifies strength and courage, and white signifies elegance, beauty, and humility.
Tulips and Daffodils
While they are not as long-lasting or fragrant as other flowers, tulips and daffodils are typically associated with the beginning of Spring, and feelings of positivity and happiness. Choosing this combination can be a way to spread a bit of cheer during a difficult time.
What it means: Tulips symbolise new beginnings and deep love for the deceased.
Funeral Flower Arrangements
When organising a funeral or memorial service there are a number of different stylistic decisions you can make when it comes to choosing your floral arrangements.
The most common types of floral arrangements used for funerals are:
Casket sprays (also known as coffin flowers)
Standing funeral sprays – includes funeral wreaths
The cost of the funeral flowers will depend on:
The size of the arrangement
The quality of flowers
The type of flower
Below are the average costs for each type of funeral flowers:
Casket Sprays (Price: $150 - 500)
Casket sprays (also known as coffin flowers) are floral arrangements that are designed to cover the top of a coffin or casket. They are the most noticeable funeral flowers, and you can customise them in numerous ways, from the colour to the type of flowers.
An example of a traditional casket spray which you can purchase on Interflora, which has a network of 700 local florists around Australia.
Standing Funeral Sprays (Price: $75 - 350)
Standing funeral sprays are flower arrangements that are displayed upright. They are usually positioned at the front of the funeral service near the casket. They can be displayed as an easel or a wire stand, and can take a number of different shapes such as:
An example of a standing funeral spray as a wreath. Courtesy of @funeralflowershop on Instagram.
Bouquet (Price: $30- 200)
A bouquet is one of the most familiar flowers for all occasions. Bouquets can either be arranged in a vase or wrapped in paper.
An example of a bouquet arranged in a vase.
You want to be mindful of the message you include when you give someone flowers at a funeral. It is understandable that it can be a bit challenging to find the most appropriate words to express your sympathy to the grieving family.
Nevertheless, the message you write to accompany your flowers is important, because not only does it provide comfort to the family who suffered the loss, but it allows you to show your support with a personal touch.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when writing your message:
Keep it short & simple. Even if it’s just a sentence or two.
Be authentic. Make sure that the message has a personal touch. Sometimes, writing the first thing that comes to mind is best.
Share positive memories you had with the deceased.
We’ve compiled a few examples you can use as a basis for your message, or you can read more on our blog 'How to write a condolence message.'
Our thoughts are with you.
(Name) was a very special person, who (add the qualities that you liked about them). May your own memories be a source of comfort to you now.
Our hearts are saddened by your loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
The last thing you want to do when expressing your sympathies to a grieving family is to offend the deceased family’s culture or religion. Below are the following things to take into consideration when sending funeral flowers.
Different Faiths & Cultures
It is important to consider that many people are from different faiths and cultures. How one may send bereavement flowers to a grieving family may be offensive to that family’s culture or religion.
For instance, each faith and culture have different customs when it comes to funeral flowers. They are:
Jewish Funerals – for Jewish funerals, flowers are not appropriate. If you want to send your condolences, a charitable gift or fruit basket are more appropriate options.
Buddhist Funerals – for Buddhist funerals, while white flowers are appropriate, red flowers are not.
Asian Funerals – for Asian funerals, both white flowers and yellow flowers are appropriate. However, red flowers are not.
Muslim Funerals – with Muslim funerals, it all depends on the family, their congregation, and what their religious leader may say. While some may consider funeral flowers to be appropriate at a funeral, others may say that it’s not. It’s important to discuss whether they are appropriate to a religious leader or family member.
Through your Funeral Director
This is one of the easiest ways you can organise flowers if the ceremony is being arranged by a Funeral Director. Funeral Directors usually have florists they work with, and they can assist you with a range of different options depending on your budget. Keep in mind that depending on the funeral director you work with, you may need to pay a premium service if you want them to help with floral arrangements.
Through your Local Florist
You can arrange the flowers yourself through your local florist. The easiest way to find a florist in your area is to search on Google. For example, if you live in Canberra, you can search “Buy funeral flowers in Canberra” and it will refer you to various florists in your area.
Another easy option is to simply purchase the flowers online. This can ultimately be the cheapest option since they sell at low margins and don’t come with any added fees. The most convenient way to find an online florist where you live is by searching through Google.
The following online florists offer delivery Australia-wide: