3 Ways To Look at Sympathy Work From A Different Angle

Posted by Joe Barnes on November 05 2018

A floral funeral arrangement sits atop a casket

3 Ways To Look at Sympathy Work From A Different Angle

Funeral designs have always been a vital component of our floral industry. As the world has grown more complex, though, so have the options available to the flower-buying public – especially those mourning the loss of a loved one.

Keeping up with the times means knowing when to buck tradition and when to stick to it. Whether it’s a knowing a key nuance between religious faiths or designing heartwarming tributes to those with four legs, your approach to sympathy arrangements can be determined by many factors. Here are three key topics to consider before you start in on floral creations for funerals:

1) Subtle Flower Differences between Faiths

Certain religions adhere to traditions with which you may (or may not) be familiar. Knowing your audience is key to delivering a quality experience with each and every funeral contract that comes your way. While it’s always prudent to consult with the family and their funeral home, here are a few faith-based guidelines provided to us by our friends at Smithers-Oasis Floral Products:

Jewish – While flowers are not part of Jewish custom of mourning and are inappropriate to recognize shivah – which can last from 7 to 30 days and sometimes up to a full year after the death of a family member, a simple plant like a peace lily would be welcomed a few months after the family’s loss.

Buddhist – White flowers are traditional for mourning in the Buddhist faith. While red flowers and gifts of food are considered bad manners. Friends are welcome to the family home after the funeral, but not before.


Catholic – Flowers are always welcome at every event associated with the passing of a loved one. Candles and flowers often decorate the vigil or wake, which is held prior to the Funeral Mass. They are also on display during the burial ceremony.

Mormon (Church of Latter Day Saints) – Flowers are appreciated during funeral services and mourning. However, arrangements in the form of a cross or crucifix are not acceptable.

Muslim – Because there is a focus on simplicity, there is a difference of opinion on giving flowers during mourning in the Islamic tradition. Consult the mosque Imam (religious leader) or a family member first. Roses are a popular choice for services where flowers are welcome.

For a deeper dive into faith-based flower selections, along with best practices on marketing your sympathy design skills, click here for an informative download from Smithers-Oasis Floral Products.

2) Sympathy Arrangements for Beloved Pets


The loss of a pet is a perfectly appropriate occasion for sympathy flowers, yet is often overlooked by floral professionals as a viable revenue stream. Dog and cat themed arrangements make a wonderful addition to any florist’s portfolio and, when properly marketed, can expand a shop’s service offering to include more potential clients every day.

Think about adding some heartfelt creations honoring past pets to your website and social media pages. You may also want to ask your local animal hospitals if they would be willing to keep a stack of your business cards at their front counter.

Quick Tip - Pet Memorial

3) Certain Flowers Have Specific Meanings

In general, beautiful flowers of any kind convey the giver’s intended emotion.  But did you know that certain varieties represent different meanings when used in funeral work? Knowing these attributes will help you, as the designer, manifest in flowers what your customers’ want to say about the recently departed.

Lilies – the soul is now at peace
Gladioli – strength of character and sincerity
Peace Lily Plant – everlasting nature of the soul
Roses – spirituality and perfect love
Orchid – enduring love Chrysanthemums – sympathy and honor
Carnations – a variety of sentiments, every color has a unique meaning: red = affection, white = innocence
Hyacinth – holding the family in prayer
Hydrangea – heartfelt emotion
Daffodils and Tulips – renewal

Stock-up on Sympathy Floral Supplies at kennicott.com

Between now and November 30th 2018, you’ll receive a FREE 18” Mache Foam Wreath with every purchase of $250 or more worth of Smithers-Oasis brand items.

The Smithers-Oasis Floral sympathy products below are available now from the Kennicott / Nordlie online supply store. Click here to start shopping!


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Posted by Joe Barnes

Joe Barnes is the Marketing Manager for Kennicott Brothers wholesale flower distributors. He holds a Bachelors degree in Advertising & Public Relations, and has worked in the flower/horticulture industry since 2007.

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