Flower Arrangements for Funerals

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Flower arrangements are an important part of a memorial service. There is a tendency today to suggest that donations would be appreciated "in lieu of flowers." However, without any flowers the service would look quite bare. It is important to make sure that there are some flowers there even if you have requested donations to your honoree's favorite charity instead.

The choice of flowers presents an opportunity to add a personal touch to the service. You could make sure that your honoree's tastes and wishes are respected by asking some guests to bring potted plants or even flowers or branches of flowering trees from their garden to the service and seeing that they are returned afterwards. A passionate gardener who loved azaleas and kept a greenhouse could be surrounded by pots of azaleas as friends and family bid farewell to her.

Those who ask what they can do to show support can be asked to transport flowers from the service to the reception if it is in a different location. They can also find a hospital or nursing home in the area and drop off extra flowers after the reception. This can be yet another gift of the living legacy of your honoree.

Flowers and Their Meanings

Some flowers are associated with symbolic meaning. For instance, daisies symbolize innocence and loyal love and would be a lovely choice for a spouse who had been part of a long and loving marriage. If you choose flowers for their symbolism, make sure that at some point during the service you communicate that.

Here are more flowers and their meanings:

  • White lilies symbolize sympathy, warmth and purity. Christian folklore believes the lily represents resurrection
  • Carnations are a symbol of undying love. Red carnations stand for admiration; pink for remembrance; and white for pure love and innocence
  • Tulips represent elegance and grace; the red tulip represents perfect love
  • Chrysanthemums symbolize truth
  • White roses evoke humility, innocence, and youthfulness; red roses convey love and respect; and pink roses symbolize courage, love and grace
  • Apple blossoms symbolize adventure, perseverance and hope
  • Pineapples represent hospitality

Adapted with permission from Celebrating a Life by Faith Moore, published in 2009 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances
By Faith Moore
Faith Moore