Funeral Flowers: Your Questions Answered

Freeman Brothers has been carrying out funerals in Sussex and Surrey since 1855. As we have been so long established as Funeral Directors, we have a good sense of some of the most common questions people have around funerals. Taking feedback from colleagues in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint as to what we are asked […]

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Freeman Brothers has been carrying out funerals in Sussex and Surrey since 1855. As we have been so long established as Funeral Directors, we have a good sense of some of the most common questions people have around funerals. Taking feedback from colleagues in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint as to what we are asked frequently, we have produced a series of blog posts addressing some of these issues.

Today, we will be looking at some of the questions that we are very often asked around floristry– what is possible and available, whether we can recommend a florist and what we can suggest can be done with the flowers after the funeral service.

Should we have flowers or donations?

This is very much a personal choice. Once it would have been normal for most people to send flowers for every funeral. This practice has decreased with the rise in popularity of making charitable donations in lieu of flowers, and so it is now more usual to have fewer tributes or perhaps even one, to which everyone close to the deceased person contributes. Some people tell us they view flowers as a waste, others see them as a way to have something bright on the day or an opportunity for mourners to show they are thinking of the person who has died, and many people would feel that a coffin without flowers looks bare- although it can always be dressed with other things.

What happens to flowers after the funeral?

If the funeral is a burial, the flowers will typically stay in the grave once the plot has been ‘made good’. If a cremation, it can be harder to know what to do. As a default, the flowers remain at the crematorium until the staff there decide they are past their prime and then they will be disposed of. This may seem sad or wasteful and families often ask us about possible alternatives to this.

What can we do with flowers after a cremation?

Is there a place where they could be left which is meaningful? For example, where someone else in the family is buried, either a grave or ashes plot? We will be happy to deliver the flowers there for you, although you might prefer to lay the flowers yourselves, though, or it may not be feasible for us to assist in this way, but we can still help by bringing the flowers back to our offices so you don’t have to return to the crematorium, or by helping you place them in your vehicle.

People who attend the funeral can take a flower as a memento of the day. The design of the tribute can assist, here- a loose sheaf of long-stemmed, single-headed blooms will be easy to separate. Gerberas, which come in a variety of colours, would be a good suggestion for this, and a fine wire inserted into the stem preserves them indefinitely. Roses don’t last long, but are another choice, particularly because of their associations with love. Remember that thorns should be removed! Another approach to this idea is to commission a tribute made of small potted plants. This can be deconstructed at the end of the service.

If the person who has died had a connection to a home, hospice, or hospital, they may be willing to accept them. This should be checked, and might depend on what the arrangement looks like and the availability of someone to arrange them. Tributes where the flowers are secured using oasis may not be suitable as the stems tend to be trimmed and may then be too short for vases, so it might be practical to choose a spray of flowers.

What if the person who died didn’t like cut flowers?

This is something we are occasionally told. The idea of potted plants above is a good one for this situation. Perhaps a less formal tribute with more foliage might be appropriate. A woven coffin, decorated only with greenery, can look both natural and dressed, while avoiding flowers altogether. You can also be creative– we have seen beautiful arrangements featuring vegetables for a keen gardener. Anything goes and the only limit is your imagination, and the skill of the florist.

Can you recommend a florist?

We can, but the best recommendation is previous good experience. We suggest that you ask what any firm can offer and assess how well it meets your needs. Florists are well used to working to briefs in different ways and can suggest particular flowers to suit. They are usually very good at interpreting themes given to them by people with less knowledge than they have themselves- they will typically understand what is wanted when given words like ‘bright’, ‘soft’, or ‘Spring’.

Some florists are more traditional, others more modern, but the best firms will adapt their style accordingly.

How much do flowers cost?

This really does depend on preference. Specifying a particular type of flower, regardless of seasonality or growing location, will probably lead to increased costs, and the size of the tribute makes a difference too. A good florist will be able to both give costs for type of tribute but also work to your budget, using that as their main guide. Don’t be afraid to discuss how costs can be reduced– seasonal flowers are usually more economical, and sprays can often be enlarged with beautiful greenery which, while less costly, is still very attractive.

Can I provide the flowers myself?

Definitely. We have seen many beautiful and personal tributes created by families using garden flowers, or those bought direct from a nursery or supermarket. This does mean another task to be competed with the rest of the funeral arrangements- and there is the need to factor in their delivery on the day of the funeral. We would caution against placing too much pressure on yourself, but it is a lovely idea if you feel able. If you have a family friend with floristry experience, perhaps they might assist you- people are always looking for ways that they can be of meaningful help when someone has died.

Do we have to have flowers at all?

No- an increasing number of funerals are taking place with no floral tributes at all, particularly if there is no formal service. There is nothing wrong with this approach at all. As with any choices, we simply ask that your wishes are conveyed to us. Remember, a lack of flowers doesn’t have to mean a bare coffin-perhaps it could be draped with a flag or decorated with fabric, or perhaps the deceased person’s motorcycle helmet, military regalia, photo, or even teddy bear could be displayed on it for the funeral instead.

If there are any further questions about flowers, or any other aspect of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Written by Abi Pattenden

Manager

March 20, 2024

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