"In Lieu Of Flowers", What does it mean?
When you hear or read the words “in lieu of flowers” in an obituary or regarding a funeral you naturally assume it means that the family prefers not to receive flowers, the fact is that this may not always be the case. Typically a bereaved family not wishing to receive flowers will state this through the use of a phrase such as "please omit flowers". Although a family may wish to have donations made to a particular charity (or organization) on behalf of the deceased, this does not mean that they wish not to receive flowers at all. Flowers play an important role in helping the bereaved deal with their grief.
Sometimes the obituary announcement will include the phrase "In lieu of flowers", contributions may be made to...". This terminology often is used to encourage charitable gifts but not necessarily to discourage other expressions of sympathy. In general, most families will sincerely appreciate all personal expressions and at times may regret having too few flowers at the funeral. It is important that individuals make their own choice as to what to give and many people are choosing to send a floral remembrance to the service or family home as well as a donation to the charity indicated. While a monetary donation is a worthy tribute, there is really no substitute for beautiful flowers at a sympathy service. Flowers bring comfort to the living while commemorating the life of the deceased.
A “garden” of flowers and plants at the funeral home, chapel or church make a beautiful setting for visitation and memorial services. Many bouquets can be personalized in favorite colors or flowers or mementos of the deceased. These special touches are a tribute to their lives, a comfort to family and to all who pay their respects.
In fact, the results of a study entitled, "The Role of Flowers and Plants in the Bereavement Process," has substantiated the value of flowers and plants during this time in people's lives. This study was jointly funded by the SAF (Society of American Florists) Information Committee and the American Floral Endowment. Here is a short summary of the findings:
The study confirms what typically has been assumed - flowers are sent as an expression of sympathy.
Flowers are one of the most thoughtful ways to express your sympathy. So although "In lieu of flowers" is an option when you need to convey your sympathy remember it doesn’t mean no flowers. Flowers truly touch the heart and give comfort to the bereaved, so don’t be afraid to send flowers. If you are unsure of what kind of funeral flowers to send we are here to assist you in selecting the appropriate Sympathy Flowers.
If you have the responsibility for placing an obituary and are seeking alternative sayings that respect the wishes of family members while not dictating to friends the manner in which they express their sympathy, here are a few suggestions:
- Remembrances may be made in the form desired by friends.
- Flowers are welcome. Contributions may be sent to....
- Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice, however flowers are welcome.