Arranging funeral flowers
As the saying goes “There are only two certainties in life - death and taxes” and at some point in our lives we will need to either send sympathy flowers or arrange funeral or memorial flowers. Some of my most poignant and rewarding moments as a florist have involved funeral or memorial flowers. It was not an area of the business that I really thought about before entering the profession but to convey the final message from a loved one or family is a very special privilege. When you lose a relative, there are thousands of decisions to be made and mostly, thankfully, you have no experience arranging a funeral. It can be completely overwhelming at a time when you are dealing with your own grief.
Your Funeral Director may offer you some advice and if you are working with an independent Funeral Director this is likely to be very helpful. However many Funeral Directors in the UK are part of Dignity, an American company, or the British company The Co-operative. It is not always apparent as these companies buy up independent funeral directors but keep the original name. If you wish to use an independent funeral director in the UK you need to look at two organisations SAIF or NAFD. If you are using one of the larger companies be aware of their packages which often include commission on flowers as well as other services. For flowers I would always recommend it is best to consult a floral designer so that you can really send an appropriate and bespoke gift that sums up your feeling or reflects the deceased.
If you are arranging a funeral you may think about commissioning a flower arrangement for the service or crematorium. It is also customary to have a bouquet of flowers on the coffin or casket. The most common is a spray of flowers that drape over the coffin. Often people choose colours or flowers that meant something to the deceased or to the family left behind. The American style casket is rounded on the top and so there are less room for flowers than with a traditional coffin. Lots of people are choosing to use baskets or biodegradeable coffins and these are often very light structures which take limited weight or require flower garlands. Funeral flowers are usually sent direct to the Funeral Director who transports the flowers with the coffin. For any enquiries or for some advice please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0207 837 7373. Nationwide deliveries would be advised to be delivered the day before the funeral.
Sending a funeral tribute
For a good friend or close relative, I think it is often lovely to send a trug or a basket as it is easy to pick up and take to the wake after the funeral and the gift can be enjoyed for longer. For a colleague, I think a wreath is an appropriate tribute. Hearts and Crosses are also popular if appropriate. Traditionally in the UK, it has been very popular to send very personal tributes and so there are all kinds of other alternatives only limited by your imagination. Names, football teams, hobbies, musical instruments, pets and even habits are among the most popular options.
There is no convention about which varieties of flowers should be used for funerals but Lilies and Chrysanthemums have been commonly used in the past. More elaborate sculptural tributes require basing with flower heads and so dense heads such as double chrysanthemums, carnations or roses are often used. Please call us for advice on these.
Only family flowers
It has also become more common for the family to request no funeral flowers and instead a donation to a a favourite charity. If you still wish to send sympathy flowers with a note to the family it is best to choose some simple flowers that can be easily arranged, a basket or trug of flowers to the home. White flowers are traditional and something scented is ideal.