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Is It Appropriate To Give a Wreath at a Funeral?


If you have been lucky not to attend too many funerals, it can be confusing when you suddenly have to think about whether to send a flower arrangement or not. On top of that, you hear about something called “funeral etiquette,” and now you’re unsure if it’s okay to send a wreath. Is it appropriate to give a wreath at a funeral?

It’s entirely appropriate to give a wreath at a funeral. What’s more, there are special wreaths called funeral wreaths that are sent or given to pay homage to the deceased. Funeral wreaths are usually simple and adorned with various flowers. 

In this article, I’ll mention what funeral etiquette has to say about wreaths at a funeral. Moreover, I’ll also discuss what a funeral wreath should look like. 

Should you give a wreath at a funeral?

Wreaths at a Funeral: What Does the Funeral Etiquette Say?

First of all, we should start by saying that, yes, there is such a thing as funeral etiquette. Although it’s not a rulebook or law you have to follow, funeral etiquette is more of a set of guidelines and traditions specific to funerals. 

In addition to funeral etiquette, immediate family members of a deceased person can form their own “rules” for the funeral, and they’re usually tied to the financial burden a funeral might cause. So, what happens if a family’s wishes contradict funeral etiquette?

Well, family wishes should be respected first and foremost. So if the family says, “No large floral arrangements or wreaths,” then you should respect that and show up with a smaller bouquet

However, if the family didn’t provide instructions, funeral etiquette states that flower arrangements, bouquets, and wreaths are appropriate to show respect and love for the deceased. Indeed those types of wreaths are even called funeral wreaths

You could send a funeral wreath as an individual, but wreaths are usually sent on behalf of a group of people. This can be a group of work colleagues, distant family members, or immediate family members (source). 

You should be careful, though. While funeral wreaths are appropriate and welcomed, they’re often confused with sympathy flowers, and funeral etiquette draws the line there.

The Difference Between Funeral Wreaths and Sympathy Flowers

Both funeral wreaths and sympathy flowers are used during funerals, but there is an important distinction based on the intentions behind their use.

You should use funeral wreaths for the person who died; in that sense, wreaths are used as a goodbye sign and a sign of love for the deceased. As such, they generally stand next to the casket on a stand.

Another place where you might see a funeral wreath is on the grave itself. The deceased’s home is the only place you shouldn’t bring a wreath. Remember that funeral wreaths are a goodbye gift that should accompany the deceased. 

On the other hand, sympathy flowers are sent exclusively to those who remain behind. You should also remember that sympathy flowers are usually bouquets small enough so family members can take them home (source).

What Should a Funeral Wreath Look Like?

Now that we know it’s completely appropriate to give a wreath for a funeral, the next question we should discuss is what our funeral wreaths should look like and if there are some dos and don’ts. 

Funeral Wreaths Shouldn’t Be Too Big

If you’ve decided to bring a funeral wreath to a funeral, you should be careful about the size of it. You may think, “Well, if I want to show my true respect, I should bring a really big wreath.” I’m here to tell you; it might not be the best idea. 

You should never bring big funeral wreaths mainly for two reasons:

  • Big funeral wreaths steal the spotlight.
  • They take up too much space.  

You should remember that the funeral is there to pay tribute and say the final goodbye to the deceased. Therefore the casket is usually the main point of focus.

However, when people bring huge wreaths and place them next to the casket, the focus shifts to that big wreath instead of the deceased.

Even after the ceremony, when it’s time to move everything and clear the space, you can hardly find room for that giant wreath. It’s too big to place on the grave or in storage. The only thing that can be done is to break it and throw it away.

Funeral Wreaths Should Be Simple and Elegant

Okay, let’s imagine another scenario, but this time, instead of thinking about a big wreath, you’re thinking: “To show true respect for the deceased, I should bring a wreath with dozens of colorful flowers and some ribbons.” 

You might’ve guessed the problem with this one by now. Yes, same as with the previous point – your colorful wreath will steal the spotlight. But apart from that, the occasion certainly doesn’t call for colorful spring flowers. 

You want to keep everything simple and elegant. And no, you don’t have to find black flowers because it’s a funeral wreath. Funeral wreaths are usually adorned with white and red flowers.

If traditional round wreaths aren’t your thing, that’s fine too. Funeral wreaths can also be heart or cross-shaped. You can always buy the wireframe and build an individualized wreath, such as a Cross Shaped Frame Form (link to Amazon). It’s an inexpensive, high-quality, and durable wreath frame.

If you’re new at making wreaths, you’ve come to the right place! Read our article on how to make a wreath from start to finish.

Funeral Wreaths Should Contain a Personal Note

Whether you’re building a funeral wreath from scratch or you decide to buy one, you should always personalize it with a note. The note should typically be addressed to the deceased as a sign of love and respect.

You can write a note to other family members as well. You should remember that those notes shouldn’t be too long. As a matter of fact, they’re completely optional.


If you’re having second thoughts about giving a wreath at a funeral, don’t – they’re perfectly appropriate as long as you:

  • Bring a wreath for the funeral, not as sympathy flowers.
  • Bring wreaths that aren’t too big.
  • Buy or make a simple and elegant wreath. 

Check out our collection of wreath tutorials, tips, and roundups.

Make Your Own Beautiful Living Succulent Wreath Centerpiece! Complete video course by Jeannine Romero now available through Skillshare.