Funeral flowers sent from a group. Divide the expense by individuals or households?

This is a real life scenario, but I’m posting it here more as a hypothetical given that the cost differences between the two options will be so trivial. Still, I’m eager to hear people’s opinions and the reasons behind those opinions.

Here goes…

Mary has a circle of old and dear friends who all know each other. Some – but not all – of those friends are married, and their spouses have become part of Mary’s circle too.

Mary’s dad dies. One motivated member of the the circle communicates with the rest of the group and gets their unanimous consent to send a large flower arrangement to the funeral from “All of Mary’s old friends.”

When the time comes to reimburse the flower-buyer should the cost be divided by the individuals in the group or by the households (meaning 1 husband + 1 wife = 1 household) in the group?

What say you, Dopers?

When I’ve been involved in similar funeral flower scenarios the cost has always been divvied up by households, which seems reasonable to me.

Collect first, each household giving the amount they choose, then buy flowers with however much that is. Dictating a contribution amount can be tricky when not everyone has the same type of income.

Do what Queen Tonya said, because it’s not going to help things, when two people can’t afford what you choose. You’ll end up paying the difference. Purchase a separate arrangement by yourself, if you can’t stand some contributing less, and the family not knowing you contributed more. The way of the world is not everybody can financially contribute the the same. Telling everybody they owe so much often backfires in your face.

I agree, though with a funeral and timing, it can be tricky to pull off getting the commitment, follow through, etc. So whoever coordinates and purchases had better have a backup plan - one that doesn’t involve hard feelings when the cash doesn’t come through and has a use for extra cash.

Buying a nice but smaller arrangement and including a donation card to a charity that can be sent after the fact when the rest of the money comes in might be a good approach.

Never commit money for others or tell someone how much they “owe” on a gift or arrangement. Fair does not mean “everyone contributed the same amount.” Even when everyone has the same income, not everyone has the same priorities.

I’ll second what Queen Tonya said. Always collect a donation first, then buy an arrangement appropriate to the amount. That way no one gets suprised with an amount they can’t afford to contribute, and you aren’t left holding the bag.

I’d buy the arrangement myself, put a card with all our names (or “friends of Mary”) on it, and then tell our friends how much it cost, how many households were invested, and let them use that information to figure out how much they felt right giving me. But if I didn’t get a dime back, I’d not hold it over anyone’s head. I don’t “loan” money. If I can’t afford it outright, I wouldn’t make the purchase.

If someone else was doing the arrangement and told me the same thing, I’d pay 1/n of the amount, n being number of households, and maybe a little more if I hear a notorious “cheap” name on the list.
If it’s a pizza at a party, I pay y/x of the amount, y being the number of people in my family that I’m paying for and x being the number of people total. Not sure why I’m not consistent. I guess flowers feel like a family gesture, whereas food is individually consumed.

I think if you’re contacting everyone to see if they want tho contribute, that’s the time to ask how much they want to be in for. “Hi, Joan. Mary’s dad died and I wanted to see if the gang wants to go together on flowers. You want to contribute? Great! How much should I put down for you and Jim?”

Barring that, I think the small arrangement/donation is the way to go. I’d much rather have people donate to the local animal rescue that give flowers for my funeral. Or small arrangement and a platter of sandwich meats for the family. At that time, you always have people coming and going and you don’t have the time or desire to be cooking for people.



Although, for some reason, perhaps because of similar but non-funeral related collections of money in my past, the fewer the number of households which contain more than one person, the more likely I am to think that each member of a household should contribute the same as the individuals from households with only one member.

Yes, that’s why. The size/cost of a flower arrangement is not necessarily going to increase with the additional people, whereas with the pizza, more people automatically mean more consumption/expense. (Reminds me of the Sex in the City episode where Miranda’s mother dies. Charlotte is in charge of ordering the flowers for the altar. She sees the flower delivery guys carry in a HUGE arrangement and she chases them into the church yelling “I said TASTEFUL!” Bigger is not necessarily better in some cases.)

I would probably just get an idea from everyone what they wanted to chip in, throw in what I wanted to chip in, and order something within that budget (with maybe adding a little extra myself to upgrade if I wanted to…without mentioning it to anyone, of course).

I would lean towards the suggestion that everyone contributes whatever they feel comfortable with, and then buy the arrangement with the total amount of money.

Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if someone dictated to me that I (a younger, single, more cash-strapped person) contribute on a per-household basis. I’m more than willing to contribute, but why should I pay twice as much just because I’m single?