When most Americans think of a funeral or memorial, the color that comes to mind is black. However, different colors can be appropriate in the funeral context for a variety of reasons. Here are a few ways you or your family might weave color into the funeral arrangements of your loved one.
The most common flower for American funerals is white. Casket sprays, wreaths, and flowers on stands are often white as this is a color associated with peace and innocence. However, other common flower choices for funeral arrangements are blue, yellow, red, purple, and pink. Some families incorporate the favorite colors of their loved ones.
Colors in flowers depend not only on what's deemed appropriate by American culture, but also on what the flower signifies. Peace lilies are one of the most popular funerary flowers, and these are often all white. Brighter-colored irises, on the other hand, convey hope, faith, and respect, and so may be selected for their flower message more than their color. In addition, if the person loved daffodils, feel free to include these bright yellow blooms.
While most people do wear black to a funeral, it's okay to wear other shades in modern times. In general, any conservative, dark color is perfectly appropriate. This often includes navy blue, gray, brown, deep purple, and forest green. If you wish to include lighter shades, feel free to add accents such as tie colors, suit blouses, and modest jewelry.
Exceptions exist to the tradition of wearing muted colors to funerals. The most common is when a child passes away. Because there are other young children involved — such as classmates, siblings, or friends — the family may wish people to dress in more colorful outfits to help lessen the children's anxiety or fear.
Creating a funeral that honors and celebrates your loved one can also mean including unexpected colors. It could be the team colors of an avid football fan, a vibrant personal signature color, or Hawaiian shirts worn in honor of someone who always rocked theirs. While this use of color isn't for everyone, it shouldn't be dismissed simply because it's unusual. Remember, this is for the deceased and their loved ones.
If you do plan to use bright colors or not follow traditional mourning colors, tell the funeral home and invited guests in advance. The funeral home can help answer people's questions about attire or flowers without bothering the family. And invitees won't be shocked or create unnecessary drama.
Where to Start
Want to know more about color use and pitfalls in funeral or memorial services? Start by consulting with a funeral home in your area today.