When someone close to you dies, it’s common practice for friends and family to bring flowers to the funeral or send them to your home. But some people prefer to commemorate a loved one’s life in another way.
“In lieu of flowers” (ie, ‘in place of flowers’) is a family’s way of saying that they would encourage other ways of honouring someone who has passed. (This is usually expressed in the obituary). But, what many people don’t realise is that it certainly doesn’t mean that people can’t also send flowers.
If you’re not sure how to word this phrase, we’ve compiled this guide (complete with examples). And, from charity donations to candles, we’ve also provided some alternative gift ideas to think about.
So, why flowers (or why not)?
Sending flowers when someone dies is a traditional and compassionate way to show that you are sorry for their loss. Research has actually shown that flowers have the power to minimise depression and anxiety. But sometimes, a family might request that donations are made instead, or they may request no gifts at all – only your presence. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t send flowers as well (unless it is specified), but rather, that the family would prefer donations.
Oftentimes, where a family has been particularly touched by a charity or an illness, donations to the cause will mean more to them than flowers. For example, if a person experienced a degenerative disease such as Motor Neuron Disease (MND), they might ask for donations to a support organisation such as MND NSW or MND SA or to a research organisation such as Fight MND.
Other ways to say ‘in lieu of flowers’
If you’re in charge of the wording for the obituary, here are some alternative phrases you can include:
- Remembrances can be made through contributions to (Name of charity).
- In remembrance of (Name’s) life and love, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to (Name of charity).
- The family asks that those who wish to can make a donation to their favourite charity in (Name’s) memory.
Alternative wording examples for all kinds of contributions
- Flowers and memorial contributions to (Name of charity) are both welcome.
- Expressions of sympathy in the form of flowers, cards and memorial contributions to (Name of charity) are equally welcome.
- In addition to flowers, the family would also appreciate donations to (Name of charity)
- Flowers are welcome, however, the family also asks for (Gift of choice).
- The family requests both flowers to (Address) and donations to (Name of charity).
Asking for help with funeral expenses
Donations in lieu of flowers are sometimes requested to help the deceased’s family. This is especially the case when the death is unexpected.
- If you would like to donate to (Name’s) fund to help cover funeral expenses, you can do so here (link).
- In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate any assistance with funeral costs.
- If you would like to donate to help cover funeral expenses, please contact (Name of organiser).
Requesting other gifts
Some people may not want flowers, but something else entirely.
Here are some wording examples:
- In lieu of flowers, the family asks guests to bring candles to the funeral.
- (Name) loved (hobby or location). The family asks for guests to (Take part in activity or meet at location) at a time of your convenience to remember (Name).
Asking guests not to gift anything at all
- No gifts or flowers are required.
- Flowers and gifts are not necessary. Instead, please keep the family in your thoughts.
- We require only your presence. No gifts or flowers are necessary.
Whether you’re accepting flowers, cards, donations or something else entirely, it’s completely up to you. Ultimately, your guests and loved ones will respect your wishes and be there for you during this time to show support.
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