A bouquet of flowers says many things; it can be given to celebrate a joyful occasion or as a gesture of love and support. When a friend or family member is experiencing the loss of a loved one, a carefully chosen bouquet is a considerate way to express sympathy. However, when it comes to choosing which flowers to include it can be tricky to know what’s appropriate and which flowers send the right message.
To ensure your bouquet is greeted with gratitude, we’ll introduce you to the best blooms to use for sympathy flowers. We’ll also talk you through some of the key things we’ve learnt in our years of crafting luxury bouquets.
Are Sympathy Flowers the Same as Funeral Flowers?
Both sympathy flowers and funeral flowers are common after a loss. They’re similar but have a few subtle differences:
Funeral flowers are sent to the funeral home, church, or cemetery to be visible at the funeral service. They are often large bouquets, wreaths, or even elaborate arrangements.
Sympathy flowers are generally hand-tied bouquets or bunches sent to the home of anyone grieving a loss. They can be sent at any time, from immediately after the death up to a few weeks after the funeral service. Sympathy flowers are a great way to show someone you’re thinking of them during a difficult time.
The Best Flowers to Express Sympathy
Most sympathy bouquets will include a variety of flowers, here is a selection that we often recommend for our customers at Thatch and Roses:
The popular carnation flower has always been a symbol of love. If you want to express your feelings of love or affection for someone who has passed away, carnations are a great choice. They come in a range of colours, including white, and are ideal to be included in larger bouquets to provide a classic backdrop for grander blooms like roses or lilies.
Roses bring a touch of elegance to any bouquet and with their range of colours and scents you’re bound to find the right bloom. Often recognised as a symbol of love and romance, roses are equally as suited to express sympathy, friendship and new beginnings.
Lilies have always been associated with mourning ever since the Victorian era when the practice of attributing meanings to flowers really escalated. Lilies make a comforting gift for someone suffering loss or mourning as the white represents renewal and a feeling of hope.
The grape hyacinth is a beautiful spring flower that is best for representing the beauty of nature and looking forward to happier and better times. Their classic appearance is ideal for expressing sympathy and gives a strong sense of remembrance and tranquillity.
Chrysanthemums are often used to show someone that you share in their grief and want to offer support. White chrysanthemum blooms are particularly linked to mourning and deep feelings of respect and admiration. The brighter versions are also seen as lighthearted and are a great way to lighten the mood and share a smile.
Pink hibiscus flowers are great for representing femininity. They have cultural ties to Hawaii or the Pacific islands and are typically best for when someone is grieving the loss of a woman such as a mother or wife. They can also represent friendship and the love you share for your family and friends.
Which Flower Colours Are Best for Sympathy?
It’s not just the type of flower that should be considered when sending a sympathy bouquet, the colour is important too. Colour can dictate a sense of feeling you may want to try and portray.
White flowers are a common choice to represent sympathy. It’s a classic clean look that really works so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. However, because of its close association with death and funerals, you might want to opt for something slightly brighter and save the white for the funeral flowers.
The colour orange represents the feeling of warmth and optimism. If you want to remind a person that you’re there for them, orange flowers are an excellent choice. Their bright, cheerful appearance is a beautiful representation of friendship and may act as the perfect pick-me-up.
Blue flowers deliver a level of peace and tranquility that few others can match. It’s a colour that’s often used to represent sadness but it also delivers a hint of optimism that could be just what the recipient needs.
Purple flowers are a great way to add a touch of dignity and elegance to your bouquet. This is the colour often chosen to mark the passing of someone in the older generation but it’s ideal if you want a bouquet with a classic appearance without having to rely on white.
Pink flowers represent grace, compassion and love. They’re also impressively versatile with brighter shades bringing life to the room and pastel tones matching well with more traditional white blooms.
They are perfectly suited to brighten any bouquet, but you can also opt for pastel shades if you want particularly if you want to sympathise but also share your love.
Things to Avoid When Sending Sympathy Flowers
You’re unlikely to go wrong when selecting sympathy flowers, but there are a couple of things you should avoid:
Don’t overthink a sympathy bouquet – It can be easy to get lost trying to come up with the perfect sympathy bouquet. In truth, the thing that matters most to the recipient is that you’re thinking of them. If you get stuck, speak to your local florist and let them take the reins.
Don’t wait for the funeral to send sympathy flowers – It can be a lovely gesture to send flowers to the funeral but that’s not the only time they’re appropriate. A beautiful bouquet with a short heartfelt message of sympathy can be sent at any time.
Don’t forget to consider the preferences of the recipient – When choosing your sympathy flowers don’t forget to consider the recipient. Ultimately, the important thing isn’t ‘what makes a great sympathy bouquet’, it’s ‘what makes a great sympathy bouquet for them’.
Are Sympathy Flowers Appropriate for People of All Faiths?
People of many cultures, backgrounds and religions share flowers as a mark of sympathy. However, some don’t. For example, for Jewish people flowers are not part of their funeral and mourning tradition, instead, baskets or platters of food are sent to the family. There are also some faiths, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Islam that emphasise the importance of simplicity when it comes to sympathy flowers. On the whole, the best rule of thumb is, if you’re not sure if flowers are appropriate, ask the family.
As with any bouquet, sympathy flowers are only limited by the blooms available and your imagination. While some styles, flowers and colours may seem more traditional the main priority should always be to send something appropriate to the recipient. And, if you’re still stuck get in touch with us at Thatch and Roses and we’ll help you create the perfect sympathy bouquet.
Which flower symbolises grief and loss?
In Europe and Asia, white chrysanthemums symbolise grief and are often used in sympathy or funeral flowers. Lilies are often strongly associated with loss and are commonly included as the centrepiece of many larger sympathy bouquets.
Which flower represents sadness and sorrow?
Purple hyacinths represent sorrow. They can be included in a bouquet to indicate that you’re remembering a loved one, but they can also be used as a symbol of apology.
Which flower symbolises life after death?
White lilies are used to symbolise purity but they can also represent rebirth and new life after death. Daffodils can also be seen as representing new life and a fresh start.
Which flower symbolises remembrance of a loved one?
Various flowers are used to symbolise remembrance. Some common ones include pansies, forget-me-nots, red poppies and white tulips.