Just recently a friend of mine asked me for some flower advice. He and his wife had a funeral to attend the next day for an old family friend and in reading the obituary for details on time and location he noted that the family had included the term “in lieu of flowers.”
My friend explained that he had always made a practice of sending sympathy flowers when attending a funeral and felt strongly it was a gesture that brought comfort to the bereaved family and conveyed his personal feelings well. Knowing my flower background, he came to me hoping to find an answer as to what proper etiquette was in these situations. Unfortunately I couldn’t give him a simple answer, after all most of us hope that throughout our lifetime we don’t develop any level of expertise in attending funerals and the customs associated with them. Frankly, many of us have the same question as my friend did and as such I felt it might be a topic that visitors to our website and this blog might find useful. So, based on my experience and after doing a some research I put together some thoughts and facts that I hope will help.
When you hear or read the words “in lieu of flowers” in an obituary or regarding a funeral, you naturally assume it means that the family prefers not to receive flowers. But the fact is that this may not always be the case. Typically, a bereaved family not wishing to receive flowers will state this through the use of a phrase such as “please omit flowers”. Although a family may wish to have donations made to a particular charity (or organization) on behalf of the deceased, this does not mean that they do wish to receive flowers at all. Flowers play an important role in helping the bereaved deal with their grief. Read More