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Sympathy Flowers Shouldn’t Be A Worry… Here Are A Few Tips

Here are a few of my observations and thoughts when it comes to Bereavement Floral Designing: 


Firstly, I would like to use this wonderful sentiment by Michael Reuschenbach as my introduction to this topic.

He writes: ”Let’s admit it! We have neglected the area of sympathy floristry for a long time!”

and “The palette of possibilities should be explored and new beginnings considered.

The consciousness  for nature and romance should be rekindled and flowers and feelings united in harmony.”


Traditional Flowers for Bereavements vary quite a bit from country to country, but in Europe and Australia, where I spent most of my time as a florist, I have noted that there definitely is a general tendency toward a few flower types.

In particular, the Lilies, Roses and Chrysanthemums are the most commonly used and asked for.

The rose standing for love and beauty, the lilies have a fragrance, that can really sweeten the space with its oriental aroma, the chrysanthemum having a place of endurance and solidity.

Amongst these, there is a few more types that are used rather frequently:

Calla or Arum Lillies (again, the lasting aspect and elegance, and simplicity are the main factors here)

Carnations are also a very liked floral addition to arrangements for sympathy flowers, as they have a softness to them that really is quite comforting.

The materials chosen really should resonate with the personality of the deceased.

One has to be open to the suggestions or special wishes of the next of kin.


The Colour spectrum is traditionally kept quite neutral.

Whites and Greens seem to dominate the ‘sympathy arena’ but my personal experience has shown, that many a time, the florist chooses to listen to the individuals requests when it comes to choice of colour.

Also the softer tones, all pastels for instance creme, pale or blush pinks, mauve and soft apricot are very often amongst the favourites, as they resonate with calm and gentleness and can really soothe the soul.

Everyone has different opinions and ever so often do the colours pop brightly and cheerfully to reflect the personality and happy nature of the deceased.

Flower arrangements for the closest loved ones can be one of the most meaningful assignments any florist could ever carry out.

The mostly Dreaded Card Message: 


What to write in a Sympathy flowers card really depends of how well we knew the departed.

Whether we were close to the family or we are the closest relative to the perished.

Here are a few examples, I found comforting and suitable:


We hope these flowers express what our words never will

Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Please accept these flowers and hear the words we are not able to speak

With love to you and your family

May these flowers remind you of our loving thoughts and prayers


Longer Messages could be:


Please know that we are thinking of you and your family during this time of sorrow

Flowers and prayers go out for our dear — that left us too soon

We don’t know how to ease your pain, but we hope that these flowers remind you of the beauty of life that your —- still wants you to see

May these flowers in some small way express the sympathy and sadness we feel for you during this difficult time.

May these flowers bring some comfort during this difficult time

Though words, however gentle, cannot take your loss away, still may these  sympathy flowers help comfort you today

As stated above, some of these traditions vary from Country to Country and it is therefore advisable to not jump to any conclusions when ask to deliver a sympathy flowers arrangement.


Yes, we could do the “one size fits all” thing and create a somewhat non-intrusive, neutral coloured design that blends in with the rest, OR we could ask the right questions and rather INDIVIDUALISE the design, by looking at heritage, personality and preferences the passed-on person had.


I for one, think that the floristry Industry needs to have individualised designs to suit each person they are dealing with and not make the mistake to just create yet another ‘off the mill’ arrangement that doesn’t reflect the needs of the customers 100%.


Parts of transcript is also found on these two blogs from Urban Flower




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My warmest regards,


ALSO READ: Considering Changing Career? Consider A New Life In Floristry