Flower etiquette: from weddings to funerals

What kind of flowers should you give as a gift?

Flowers are among the most frequently given gifts worldwide. This isn't surprising, because there's a floral bouquet for every occasion. You've always known to declare love with a bunch of red roses, but what's the correct etiquette for giving flowers at the theatre, at a wedding or a a funeral? Read on for our guide. 

Sign up for monthly flower inspiration.

Floral etiquette at a wedding

At a wedding, it's tradition for the bride to have a bridal bouquet. This bouquet is handpicked by the groom, according to etiquette, and is given out the moment he picks up the bride-to-be. Before the wedding ceremony, the bride should carry the bouquet in her right hand. Once married, she carries the bouquet in her left hand.

In addition to the bridal bouquet, there are the corsages. According to traditional etiquette, the groom wears a corsage with flowers that have been incorporated into the bridal bouquet. The corsage should be pinned on the left. If there are boutonniere, these should also be pinned to the left. Men wear the corsage upright, with the stem down. Women traditionally should pin their corsage the other way round, with the stem upwards. If you'd like to discover more about flowers at weddings, take a look at our wedding article

Flower etiquette at a funeral

Flowers have played an important role in funerals for centuries thanks to their beauty, symbolism and comforting properties. Although calm and neutral colors are often chosen, there are no strict rules for flowers given at a funeral. It's worth taking the favourite colour and flowers of the deceased into account, or respecting the wishes of close relatives. It is especially important that you let your feelings speak when putting together a funeral bouquet or funeral piece, as it makes the final tribute even more personal. In our mourning article you can read more about what flowers can mean in the event of a death.

Flower etiquette at the theatre

Never put the actors and directors under scrutiny by giving them flowers before a performance, as this could bring bad luck. The procedure for handing out flowers is simple: while the players bow, the flowers are distributed. The players receive the bouquet and raises it. As soon as the curtain falls, they take it to the dressing room.

What about throwing flowers on stage after a performance? We don't see this token of appreciation, which is often seen in old films, very often any more, and it's not allowed at every theatre. If it is allowed, the general rule is to not overdo it and to be careful. Throw one flower only, traditionally a red rose, at the performer's feet. 

bloemen etiquette theater

Learn local customs

A bouquet with yellow flowers symbolises energy, warmth and cheerfulness - but this isn't the case everywhere! Flower etiquette can vary by country, so if you're gifting flowers abroad or to someone from a different culture, it's wise to check in advance what the customs are. For example, did you know:

  • It's better to not to give yellow flowers as a present in Eastern Europe, as this colour is a symbol of betrayal in countries in this area. 
  • Flower wreaths in Hawaii are used for happy moments, but also when someone has passed away.
  • In China and Japan it's better to not to give lilies and white and yellow chrysanthemums as gifts, as in these countries these flowers are associated with death.

Say it with flowers

Our love for flowers stems from the human need to connect with nature, something that we all need to be healthy and happy. So if you want to laugh more, you know what to do! Let your feelings speak with flowers or use flowers to speak when words aren't enoughLet us know how you're bringing more flowers into your life on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtags #funnyhowflowersdothat and #weneedmoreflowers.