What Do Families Do With Flowers AFTER The Funeral?

One question often asked by families, friends and funeral home professionals alike is what should be done with the flowers after a funeral service is over?

Many traditional memorials and funeral services include decorative floral pieces, as well as sympathy flowers sent by family and friends to the funeral home. But after the services have concluded and the flowers are no longer in use, where do they go?

Simply throwing them away seems wasteful and unceremonious. Yet, the tradition of sending flowers to a funeral home or to the grieving family is an important one, rooted in history and designed in part to signify compassion for families dealing with the loss of a loved one and to help facilitate healing.

As long as there are funeral services — the significant event that cues the start of recovery from grief for many — there will be the question of how to make use or properly dispose of funeral flowers.

Why Do We Send Flowers In The First Place?

Sending sympathy flowers is not simply a custom we’ve all come to recognize. In fact, flower power is a very real thing when it comes to helping someone through a period of mourning. Receiving flowers after the loss of a loved one is associated with some very healthy and necessary benefits. During a time when it’s often hard to feel any excitement or happiness, the receipt of flowers can truly lift a mood like few other things can.

Whether these beautiful arrangements come from colleagues, dear friends, distant relatives or near strangers, sympathy flowers have shown time and time again to be a significant tool in healing. They also strengthen relationships and offer respite during a time of great difficulty.

Sending flowers to a house or funeral home is a tradition worth keeping. As for those blooms, are they doomed to be tossed aside and forgotten just a few short hours or days afterward? Not so. In fact, they may have more life left in them than you ever thought.

Where Do Funeral Flowers End Up?

After a funeral, hundreds (or more) of beautiful flowers have fulfilled their duty, yet are still in peak bloom and in great shape to be repurposed. Families may be unsure of what to do with them and will turn to you for some guidance.

With the consent of the family, your funeral home might create an opportunity to give sympathy flowers a new purpose by donating them. Hospitals, hospice centers, nursing homes and other facilities will often accept these donated flowers, which can bring brightness and fragrance and uplifting feelings to patients and staff there.

Science has shown that doing good deeds and sharing joy with others helps you feel better. For some families, an act of goodwill like donating flowers can help facilitate further healing. You might put together a list to share with families of local hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities that would be happy to receive leftover flowers. Then, following the service, arrange for pick-up or delivery to the facility as a gift from the family.

In other cases, families decide to take funeral flowers with them after services, especially when senders address them to a specific person. Encourage families to use these bouquets in a way that will feel meaningful and special to them. While some like the idea of bringing their flowers to place on their loved one’s gravesite, there are plenty of other ways to repurpose these blooms at home. Even beyond their peak freshness and for long after the funeral services are over, flowers can offer continued support as long as people need them. Encourage your client families to try one of the following unique ideas:

  • – Dry homemade potpourri. It’s easy for families to create homemade potpourri with flowers from the service, and there are plenty of different ways to display the fragrant petals. After drying the flowers in the sun, the petals can be stored in pretty jars or flower vases that belonged to their loved one. Even perfume bottles and other unique containers could hold potpourri and make for a beautiful display item.
  • – Create a shadow box. Using dried, pressed flowers, photographs and other mementos, families can create small memorial pieces to place in their home in honor of their loved one. These take little effort and supplies, and the act of building something special and combing through photos and tokens can help families navigate their grief in the days or weeks that follow the service.
  • – DIY a memorial wreath. After funeral flowers have been dried in the sun, a simple craft using twine and a foam cylinder creates a beautiful wreath. This can be hung near family photos or even on the front door, so families can feel the presence of their loved one every time they return home.
  • – Add flowers to other meaningful bouquets. Weddings, graduations and other special events are emotionally challenging for families who’ve recently lost a loved one. Tucking flowers from the service into wedding bouquets or corsages and boutonnieres for special days is a special, private way to bring a loved one into a milestone event.
  • – Have unique jewelry made. Petals can be made into sentimental keepsakes like jewelry: bracelet charms to keep a loved one close by, a necklace or tie clip to keep them near the heart, a pendant to wear their love proudly. Companies like Flowers Forever receive petals by mail and create beautiful wearable pieces for holidays, birthdays and every day a family wants their loved one near.

Get Your Gifts Into the Right Hands

For funeral guests and friends of the family, it can be confusing to know what are the right flowers to send or where to send them to be sure people can benefit from the healing power of flowers. Sending sympathy flowers to the funeral home is one option, and The Sympathy Store allows you to alternatively send the flowers directly to the home.

And because your funeral home is able to keep the family address on file, families can be sure that an order placed through The Sympathy Store can be delivered to the right place, even if you don’t have the home address handy. Sending these uplifting gifts to the home lets family members have some brightness in their own space, as well as feel supported and loved upon returning home from services or while they face the difficult days that follow.

Though flowers they are customary for very good reason, some people might appreciate an alternative gift. Unique options available in The Sympathy Store cover a range of options: a spa basket for a person who finds the most comfort in physical self-care, chocolates and other sweets for family members who take comfort in a delicious dessert, meal delivery services for those who will appreciate not having to look after basic household chores during their difficult time. These gifts can be sent right to the family home, a process made easy by The Sympathy Store’s address memory.

Having this service as a part of your offerings helps you answer the questions you receive from funeral guests and friends of the family about how to show their support and sympathy for people they care about. The Sympathy Store lets you spend the most time attending to families in the times they need you most.

Visit The Sympathy Store for all your sympathy gift needs and easily, meaningfully, and efficiently share your support and compassion with relatives and friends when they need it most.

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  1. Kathleen Berry

    Turn them into rosaries, necklaces, car medals, meaningful prayer cards with the help of Commerative Rosaries (www.commrosaries.com). They do beautiful work and I have give their chaplets to friends who have lost a member of their family…they are treasured pieces. I have one from my Dad’s flowers.
    You can also put the flowers into Keepsake jewelry pieces or memorial pieces. So many ways to use them to preserve the memories of your loved one!

  2. Deanna

    I loved the article. At Wilks Funeral Home we have a company that will make non-burning candles, putting the flowers and greenery in the wax. They can be purchased as electric candles or using a fuel cell. I recently ordered four with the flowers from my Mom’s service and they are beautiful.

  3. Donna clayfield

    Make them into keepsake jewelry (bracelets, pendants, keyrings, toe tacs, money clips, ornaments, beads, letter openers)

  4. Annette Ferebee

    Loved all of your articles! If my friend’s mother died, do I send the flowers to both he and his wife or just him?

    Thank You,

    Annette Ferebee

  5. Krystal Penrose

    Hi Annette, I would say to follow your intuition, there’s no set way of doing things. I feel sending them for everyone in the family creates a space of inclusion 🙂