Mother’s Day Manners for Flowers at Church —A Quick Look


By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor

I once suffered a miscarriage shortly before Mother’s Day. When I entered the sanctuary that Sunday, an usher carrying a basket of carnations greeted me.

“Happy Mother’s Day, pretty lady!” He innocently beamed. “I know you must be a mom! Here’s a flower.”

In a sudden daze I accepted the flower from his hand and rushed to the bathroom crying. I wish I had known then what I know now about what that flower represented. It would have made the incident more bearable.

Mother’s Day Manners for Flowers at Church

• Every woman 18 and older should accept a carnation if one is offered. The flower you take is in honor of your mother, not you. It doesn’t symbolize whether you’re a mom.

• If you have a strained, or even non-existent, relationship with your mom, you can still accept a flower out of respect for the role of mothers in society.

• Carnations are traditionally given because they were the favorite flower of Ann Reeves Jarvis, the mother of the woman who campaigned for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday.

• You take a white carnation if your mother is deceased and a pink carnation if she is living.

• Many churches, for the sake of simplicity, offer just one color of carnation.

• If you find yourself the lucky recipient of a corsage (It’s sad that they’re pretty much a thing of the past!), it’s correctly worn on your left side — the side of your heart! Wear a corsage high on your shoulder with the flower pointing up and the stem pointing down.

• Mother’s Day corsages (unlike prom flowers) don’t need to match or coordinate with your outfit. Regardless of the look (just like all those macaroni necklaces!), wear them with abandon, pride, and love!

Blessings and hugs,

Maralee McKee

About Maralee McKee

Maralee McKee is the founder of Manners Mentor. With her best-friend style, sense of humor, and knack for updating etiquette to meet our modern sensibilities, she has been referred to as "Sandra Bullock meets Emily Post!" Maralee shows you how to become the best version of yourself. No fluff. No pretense. Just you at your authentic best! The person you were always meant to be! To learn more about Maralee click on the "Meet Maralee" or "New? Start Here" links at the top of this page.

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