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Sympathy Etiquette


History and Importance of Sympathy Flowers  

Sympathy Etiquette  |  Frequently Asked Questions  

Tribute Guide by Relationship  |  Sympathy Card Messages  

The Weeks Following the funeral: Helping a friend in Grief


It is never easy comforting a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one. People are often uncertain as to the best way to show their sympathy. Adding to this uncertainty are changing trends in how Americans commemorate the death of a loved. Services are simpler and shorter. Viewing periods are now typically limited to one day, if they occur at all. A greater number of cremations have resulted in shorter or no memorial services.


Flowers have traditionally been sent to the funeral home for display during the viewing and service. However, this does not mean that there should be no show of sympathy if no service is held. Grief therapists agree that the rituals surrounding death are an aid in the grieving process. In instance where there is no service, experts recommend sending condolences to the bereaved person or family’s home.

Sympathy flowers have been a part of funeral and memorial traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. Flowers add warmth, beauty and dignity to the service and for many symbolizes eternal life.


Many people are unfamiliar with the terms used by florists for sympathy arrangements. The society of American Florists has provided the following descriptions of the most commonly used terms:

Wreath: A floral presentation often used because a circle symbolizes eternal life.







Spray: Flowers designed for viewing from one side only. Sprays are often placed on easel:


Floral Arrangements: A mix of fresh flowers displayed in a vase, basket or other container. Non-traditional pieces such as vases or baskets are suitable for family members to take home: 



Cover Piece:
Flowers designed for the top of the casket – usually ordered by the family:





Inside Piece:
A general term to describe small floral designs placed inside the casket. Examples include satin hearts, crosses, nosegays or small sprays.





We would be happy to advise you and your family regarding a variety of options available in floral sympathy arrangements.