In August 2014, a survey was administered to members of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The survey questions were aimed to learn about their attitudes toward the use of floral tributes in funeral services. Additionally, they were asked about consumers’ reactions toward sympathy flowers and the symbolism connected to sympathy flowers.
Sixty-six percent of the sample had more than 20 years of experience, 14% had 16 to 20 years of experience, 8% had 11 to 15 years of experience, and 12% had less than 10 years of experience. These are people that truly understand the grieving process and how comfort is best provided to the bereaved. And they believe flowers are vital.
Some of the key findings included...
- Funeral directors considered flowers and plants as providing the most comfort to the bereaved, followed by sympathy cards, for non-human sources of comfort.
- Seventy-three percent of funeral directors believe their clients recall flowers and plants as a comfort.
- Seventy-four percent of funeral directors encourage flowers at the services.
- Funeral directors recall approximately 64% of clients talking about flowers/plants.
Other relevant sections of the report appear below...
From the perspective of funeral directors, the most comfort comes from human sources starting with family and friends, followed by the funeral director and clergy members. Regarding non-human sources of comfort, funeral directors consider flowers and plants as providing the most comfort to the bereaved, followed by sympathy cards.
Aside from being there flowers are the best thing you can do.
...flowers/plants are considered as the most important physical element followed by photos/videos/music. Monetary donations are considered the least important physical elements among funeral traditions... A majority of clients talk about, touch or smell flowers/plants after funeral services, which mean they are very important to clients.
Charities have done a good job of promoting the "in lieu of flowers" donation request (61% of funeral directors reported having been contacted directly by charities requesting their recommendations to families), but it is flowers that hard to the ceremony, comfort the bereaved and are remembered and appreciated afterwards.
Many funeral directors indicate that floral tributes are necessary to soften the atmosphere and provide visual comfort. One funeral director stated ‘A funeral without flowers is a big step towards no funeral at all’ indicating flowers are an instrumental part of the funeral service.
Many families have blindly followed the "in lieu of" path only to realize, too late, just how cold a service is without flowers.
When a family sees a floral arrangement, and reads the name of who sent the arrangement, they are deeply touched because the sender thought so much of them to take the time and expense to send flowers.
Flowers are seen, appreciated and remembered as sign of love and respect, as are the people that send them.