Sympathy Card Etiquette
Sympathy card etiquette is about when to send a sympathy card, what to write and when to send acknowledgements and thank you notes.
Sympathy Card Etiquette teaches you what to do in times of loss and grieving.
What to do when you hear an unfortunate incident from your close family and friends?
Should you call?
When would it be appropriate to call?
What do you say?
Sometimes the best way to offer your condolences properly is to send a sympathy card.
A card should be very simple, perhaps with the only words, "With Deepest Sympathy" at the very top.
If in doubt, choose a vanilla card.
Proper Sympathy Through A Card
If you are attending the funeral, sometimes you feel that signing on the register is not enough to express your deepest sympathy.
You might want to offer a more personal message in the form of a card or a letter. For instance, this sympathy card etiquette applies:
After signing the register at a funeral home, offer the family your sympathy in person. However, if they are busy attending to other things and you did not get a chance to speak personally, write a letter of sympathy or leave a sympathy card.
If you are attending the funeral with someone who could not make it, offer to take a handwritten note from the absentee to include it with the register.
You may also write one on that absent person's behalf.
Sympathy Gift Etiquette Suggestions
If you are sending a message on behalf of your whole family, get them to personally sign it before sending.
While you should keep it brief, you could include a short anecdote or a quote of the person they are grieving to show how much he/she will be missed.
Sympathy Gifts and Flowers
Whether it is a death, or simply someone in hospital due to a very bad accident etc, one can always offer flowers and an sympathy card with a personal message.
We often send flowers along with our cards.
Just remember to stay away from the 'romantic' flowers. Any good florist will know what to do so when you get flowers, just mention that they are for 'sympathy' purposes.
If the flowers are for people from a different culture, you might want to double check what colors are auspicious.
In Lieu of Flowers?
Don't send flowers. Send a donation to their choice of charity.
See more in Sympathy Gift Etiquette.
Sending Thank You Notes in Sympathy Card Etiquette
Flowers, cards from friends, contributions from friends, funeral or memorial assistance, personal condolences must be acknowledge with a thank you note or message. This basically means anything personally written, said or helped.
A simple vanilla colored card may be printed:
The family of O'Darlings wishes to thank you for your kind expression of sympathy
with a handwritten note at the bottom.
These days with the convenience of email, you may wish to send an e-card and a short personal message to thank everyone.
You don't have to send thank you notes from condolences messages from strangers and public.
What you could do is issue a 'public' or 'mass' thank you note on your blog, website, a notice board or in the newspaper.
Go back to Etiquette.