Choosing the right flowers to express sympathy or condolences can be a daunting task, so to help simplify the process we’ve put together a quick guide. We’re also on hand to help – you can email our experienced customer services team on info@realflowers.co.uk or call us on 01730 818300.

Is it best to play it safe and go for white / ivory?

“Funeral and sympathy flowers should be a reflection of the person they are paying tribute to,” says our head florist Jay Archer. “If you’re remembering someone who was bright, bubbly and vivacious and wore bright colours, the flowers can reflect this. If you’re remembering a young person, you might want to choose the colours you would find in a spring bunch of tulips. Similarly if the person was a keen gardener, try to find their favourite flowers rather than be governed by what’s available in white.”

Where’s the best place to start?

We suggest speaking to your local florist – they will have a wealth of experience and will be able to suggest designs and ideas. If you’re in London or Hampshire then our expert florists can help – they have the pick of what’s in season on our sustainable English and Fairtrade farms including David Austin roses. You can also browse our range of sympathy flowers here for ideas. These designs are made to order by hand in our Hampshire farm workshop by our highly skilled florists.

When should you order funeral flowers?

Ideally try to give your florist seven to ten days’ notice. We also have a range of funeral and condolence flowers that can be ordered for next day UK delivery. You can shop the funeral flower collection here.

Most florists can arrange same day or named day delivery of sympathy and condolence flowers. Our London flower shop in Chelsea Green can deliver same day throughout London or you can order online from our website for next day (or named day) delivery throughout the UK.

Floral tributes like a Funeral Sheaf or Sympathy Wreath are usually delivered to the undertaker or brought in person on the day. If you are arranging for flowers to be delivered to the undertaker, we recommend that you include the name of the deceased and the date of the funeral on the address label. If you add a note when placing your order then our customer services team will make sure everything is in hand or you can contact us here with any questions.

Funeral Flowers by Season

We asked Jay for her favourite flowers for sympathy and funeral arrangements by season:

Always rosemary for remembrance – it’s evergreen and so is available throughout the year.

Spring – English narcissi, tulips and blossom

Summer – English roses and sweet peas

Autumn – catkins, berries and twigs

Winter – olive (for peace) and ivy berries

Funeral Customs by Religion

Buddhism – white flowers are traditional and may be sent to the family. Avoid red flowers and gifts of food.

Catholicism – all flowers welcome.

Hinduism – mourners don’t bring flowers or gifts to the funeral. Flower garlands and seasonal flowers may be in the casket. Ten days after the death, a ceremony is held – if you visit at this time then it is customary to bring fruit.

Islam – opinions are divided but flowers are not usually given, except occasionally something small and modest. Opt for a condolence card or a gift to charity instead. Food or a food baskets are also sometimes given.

Judaism – it is not customary to send flowers to the family home or funeral. A Jewish funeral takes place as soon after death as possible and flowers are not present. Instead send a condolence card or make a gift to charity.

Mormonism – flowers welcome but avoid tributes in the shape of a cross.

Protestant Christianity – all flowers welcome.

What is a Funeral Sheaf?

Sheaves or a Tied Sheaf is a hand-tied bouquet that’s been carefully arranged to lie flat so it can be used to adorn a casket or burial site.

What other options are there?

Posies or hand-tied bouquets are traditionally sent as a way of expressing sympathy and condolences – they can be a way to demonstrate your love and respect at a time when words often seem inadequate. Our florists have designed a Rosebud Sympathy Posy and Ivory and Lavender Sympathy Bouquet but as with funeral flowers our advice is to choose something that suits the person you are remembering. If you are uncertain about what to choose, our Sympathy Bouquet is a classic and elegant white and cream arrangement with a beautiful scent.

Funeral Wreaths, designed to lie flat as part of a display of tributes, are also a popular choice. Our florists have designed a classic Ivory Sympathy Wreath using the best seasonal scented white and cream roses to represent purity and spirituality. Pink roses have traditionally been used to show thankfulness to the deceased – these are thoughtfully arranged with seasonal pink flowers and foliage in our Pastel Pink Sympathy Wreath.

If you’d like to talk to our team about bespoke sympathy flowers then you can call us on 01730 818300 or email at weddings@realflowers.co.uk.