Deciding on the right flowers for any occasion can be hard, but when that occasion is a funeral, it calls for a particular touch. Funeral flowers -- whether they are given or used as part of the decoration -- must set the tone you want to convey, must carry a certain message, and must be appropriate for the deceased or the family. One way to accomplish all these is to understand and make use of the symbolism of flowers when choosing.
Throughout the world, flowers mean different things in different cultures. Knowing what messages or connotations each flower sends can help you make the right impression. Here is a short, handy guide to 5 common funerary flowers and what they mean within the Western or American culture.
Lilies. Perhaps the most ubiquitous funeral flower is the lily. With their pure whiteness and clean lines, lilies are often taken to symbolize innocence, majesty or purity. Within a Christian funeral context, this represents the pureness or innocence of the soul of the deceased.
Carnations. In addition to being a long-lasting and inexpensive bloom, the carnation is a good funerary choice because it holds a variety of meaningful symbols. Pink carnations represent remembrance or love (particularly for women or mothers), while white ones symbolize pure love and innocence.
Roses. You rarely can go wrong using roses in nearly any arrangement. This holds true for funerals. Overall, roses always symbolize love and strong emotion. Yellow roses are best to convey lasting friendships. Pink ones can convey the idea of sweetness, gratitude, or joy. Using roses to represent the personality of the deceased or your relationship with them is a good way to personalize arrangements.
Hydrangeas. Living plants are a nice addition to funeral gifts for family members of the departed, since they can last long after the funeral service. Like roses, hydrangea flowers symbolize heartfelt emotions including gratitude or perseverance. Offering a grieving person a potted hydrangea allows them to plant the flower in their yard and reflect on these qualities as it grows.
Daffodils or Tulips. As spring annuals that return again and again, both tulips and daffodils represent rebirth or new beginnings. At a memorial or funeral, they can bring encouragement and hope to the deceased's family and friends. Like hydrangeas, they are living plants that can also be planted to bring good memories for years to come.
Choose a flower (or flowers) that conveys the meaning you most want to give, then work with a professional florist to create a beautiful floral arrangement based on these blossoms and messages. By doing so, you can give a gift may mean much more to loved ones than you think.