EtiquetteFlowersGiftsWhen to Send Sympathy Flowers

July 2, 2020Obitia

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In this article we answer the following questions:

  • Do you send sympathy flowers before or after the funeral?
  • Where do you send the flower arrangements?
  • What can you send instead of flowers for sympathy?


Sending sympathy flowers to the immediate family of the deceased is a touching way to show your sympathy and celebrate the life of the deceased. However, sometimes it’s hard to know the etiquette and timing. Do you send them as soon as you are notified of the death or after the funeral? Sometimes it’s hard to guess what would be best for those who are grieving. To learn more about the etiquette of sending sympathy flowers, please read our Guide to Sending Sympathy Flowers.


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Need help writing the Sympathy Card? Read 25 Messages for Sympathy Flower’s Cards >


Do you send sympathy flowers before or after the funeral service?

As with so much to do with funeral flower etiquette the answer is “it depends”.

The answer to the questions hinges on when you find out about death in relation to the funeral service itself. Flower delivery can be quick, in many cases your sympathy bouquet can be delivered the same day, however, if the funeral service is going to take place within a day or two of you getting notice, then you should simply wait until the funeral has taken place. Remember, the family members receiving your flowers are dealing with the grief of losing their loved one and arranging a funeral. So having flowers come after the funeral rather than in the midst of their planning may be much appreciated.

You may also want to consider the type of funeral service if there will be a viewing beforehand, and the funeral home says it’s okay (check their site or call them directly to ask) you may want to send the sympathy flowers to the funeral home so they can be used in the viewing.


Where do you send the flower arrangements?

The answer to this question depends on the above. If you decide to send flowers before the funeral you may want to send them to the funeral home ahead of time. You should make sure to check the funeral home’s website (you can use our search to find contact information) in case the family or funeral director requests they are sent somewhere else. If you are sending them and the funeral is taking place in the near term or has already taken place, then you should send them to the home of the recipient family member.

The general rule of thumb is simply to send them to the home of the recipient family member if you are not sure what to do. You can always call the funeral home and ask the funeral director, they will tend to know the best way to proceed and know the wishes of the family.


What can you send instead of flowers for sympathy?

As we note in our Guide to Sending Sympathy Flowers, sometimes the family will request that you do something else in “lieu of flowers“. You should always follow these instructions, if you would still like to send flowers as well, then make sure to include a note on the flowers saying that you made a donation or took the alternative action requested by the family.

Sympathy plants have become popular in recent years because they last longer and can be a nice reminder to the family of your sympathy and support. Others may also send sympathy baskets with small gifts if they want to do something different rather than flowers.

To learn more about what “in lieu of flowers” means read more here.



Send a sympathy flower arrangement or a sympathy gift is a touching way to show your sympathy to close friends and family of the deceased. By following the suggestion above you will make sure your sympathy arrangement arrives at the right place and the right time. For more information on purchasing sympathy flowers, including what different types of flowers and colors can signify, along with different kinds of sympathy flower arrangements, please read our Guide to Sending Sympathy Flowers.




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