Top local florist Rebecca Walker from Wild Flower Studios shares her approach to sympathy flower arrangements, with beautiful ideas and inspiration.
Preparation for a funeral feels like a never-ending list of decisions when family and friends are in the midst of grief and sadness. Unless you have clear instructions on what the person wanted it can be a daunting experience, and more often than not a case of picking funeral flowers out of a catalogue. At Wild Flower Studios we believe each arrangement should be different and catalogues are a no-go for us! We want to know about the person, if they loved gardening, or sport, or animals, whether they had favourite flowers, or if there was a particular colour they wore all the time.
Arrangements can be in a traditional style but should shout from the rooftops what that person was like.
Sustainability and environmentally friendly products have recently been making appearances in the floristry world which is fantastic news, especially for sympathy arrangements or tributes that need to stand the test of time whilst still being transportable, low maintenance and financially achievable. Floristry is an ever-changing industry that is pushing the envelope of creativity and sustainability!
Gone are the days of oasis and floral foam and we welcome with open arms moss, water trumpets, reusable pots, containers and everything in between.
To support the growing English flower industry, and drastically lowering your carbon footprint try to find a florist who sources their funeral flowers from the UK. Here at Wild Flower Studios, we source a vast amount of flowers from Rebekah at Headley Flower Garden. Rebekah is based nearby in Berkshire, where she produces exquisite flowers, lovingly seeded, grown and cut, and working together we support and strengthen local businesses.
When thinking of traditional floral tributes or arrangements we conjure up visions of carnation casket sprays, lily casket toppers, and formal flower letters. Breaking the floral mould and interpreting an absent personality is such an important aspect when creating a piece, but also inspiring as the creativity takes hold, resulting in each piece being bespoke and unique.
A long arrangement that sits on top of the casket during transportation and funeral service. It is then laid on top of the grave once the service has ended.
Wreaths can be placed on top of the casket during transportation and service or can be taken by family and friends and left as a tribute to the individual once the service has ended.
These are often free-standing pieces that adorn the entrance or are placed at the front of the church. They can be left by the family for Sunday service and the church’s congregation, or they can be taken to the gathering after the service.
The lettering is used to spell out names, words or we can produce decorated teddy bears, crosses, etc, which will accompany the casket during transportation, and then placed on the grave at the end of the service.
These are used for decorating the venue where the wake is being held. They are sometimes given to family or friends to take away afterwards.
To be carried and placed on the casket by family and friends
To be handed out to family and friends on arrival and worn during the service. These can be taken home or laid on top of the casket.
These can be used to decorate the casket and placed on the grave after the service, or taken to decorate the wake.
Moss covered wreaths with seeds/bulbs inside (often a late winter, spring or late spring option), which will then grow once the wreath has been placed on the grave after the service.
Symbolic of the innocence of the soul of the departed. White lilies are often chosen for a faith-based and religious service.
Red: Respect, courage, and love
White: Innocence and youthfulness
Convey eternal love and sympathy.
White: Innocence and untainted love
Pink: Remembrance of the deceased.
If you are looking for a more traditional funeral flower arrangement and want to convey a message through the symbolism of flowers then carnations, lilies, and orchids are fabulous choices, they offer comfort at a difficult time and give reassurance to the person presenting them.
However, if you are looking for a less formal and more relaxed approach to sympathy arrangements, the floral world is your oyster, you can clash colours, make weird and wonderful floral choices, there really are no limits.
There is no end to the choices for sympathy flowers, they can be big, small, detailed or uncompromisingly over the top and wild. They do not have to follow a traditional style, whether it’s a casket spray or an eco wreath, there are no rules or restrictions. As a florist, I am here to give guidance on flower choices, provide creative flair for the chosen blooms, and ultimately provide a lasting memory of a loved one through the medium of flowers!
To really make the most of seasonal flowers always ask your chosen florist what is available in the UK at that time the year, maybe provide a colour palette and arrangement options, then let them work their floral magic!
About the author:
Rebecca Walker runs Wild Flower Studios
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.