“In Lieu of Flowers”

In Liue of Flowers...

In Lieu of Flowers...

What does it mean when an obituary announcement includes the phrase “In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to…”? This statement means the family of the deceased would prefer donations from the friends and relatives to a charity rather than flowers at the funeral home or at the grave site. But, this statement often singles out the floral industry in a negative manner, and funeral directors may be asked to comply with newspaper obituary guidelines which prohibit discriminatory phrases.

According to the Web site, In Lieu of Flowers, other phrases may be used that do not discriminate against the floral industry:

  • The family suggests memorial contributions be sent to….
  • Should friends desire, contributions may be sent to….
  • Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
  • The …. Memorial has been established for those wishing to contribute.
  • As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to….
  • The family has designated the …. for memorial contributions.
  • Remembrances may be made in the form desired by friends.
  • Memorial contributions may be made to….
  • Flowers are welcome Contributions may be sent to….

While some families may regret not having flowers at a funeral, in my experience (which includes a few funerals), people cannot resist sending flowers. When flowers are sent, they usually come from people who feel ‘strange’ if they don’t send flowers as this is a traditional practice. Often, these same people also will make a donation to the charity.

While flowers often comfort the living as well as provide a soothing and caring tribute to the deceased, be aware – many time flowers are not wanted as someone in the family may be allergic to them. Often, if this is the case, the family will ask to “please omit” flowers in the obituary or death notice. In this case, if you must offer flowers, pick up a few at a florist and take them to the gravesite later. At least you know that you’ve honored the deceased in your own special way.

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