Flowers are one of the most traditional symbols of sympathy and mourning when a loved one passes away. Floral arrangements are a way to honour the deceased’s life and send them on to the afterlife with a symbolic gesture. Friends and family members often send bouquets and arrangements as an expression of sympathy, while the closest family chooses unique funeral floral arrangements.
There is no hard and fast rule about the flowers that should go in funeral floral arrangements. Some people choose to include the deceased’s favourite flowers, while others prefer to keep things traditional with lilies, gladioli, roses, and carnations.
Other ideas to consider are:
- Take a cue from the deceased’s favourite colours
- Match the flowers to the colours of their sports team
- Choose the national flowers of their city, county, or country of birth
- Match flowers with their preferred songs
If you’re looking for unique funeral ideas for flowers, you’ll likely want something a bit unusual yet respectful and classic. Read ahead for a full selection of funeral flower arrangement ideas that will honour your loved one and send them off in style and grace.
Why do people have flower arrangements at funerals?
There are plenty of reasons why we send and display flowers at funerals in cultures all around the world. From the lei in Hawaii to chrysanthemums in Japan, people have flower arrangements at funerals for their beauty and meaning.
However, this wasn’t always the case – throughout history, flowers have been a vital part of funerals for their practical purpose. Before the age of embalming, flowers and incense were used to mask any smells. Funeral floral arrangements became such an essential part of the ritual that even after the advent of modern medicine and science, they were here to stay.
In addition to having funerals at the site of the funeral and memorial, it is now common practice to send them to the grieving family. In some cases, the family may ask for charitable donations in lieu of flowers.
Many families choose to dry their loved one’s funeral arrangements so that they can treasure them forever as a memory of their loved ones life and passing. Other common ways to remember loved ones include framed portraits, keeping a favourite piece of furniture, and commissioning ashes memorial jewellery. All of these ideas help keep your cherished loved one in your thoughts and close to your heart.
Funeral flower ideas and meanings
These are some of the most popular funeral flowers, each of which have their own meanings and traditions. Despite their popularity, they can be incorporated into unique and vibrant floral arrangements.
Peace lilies are associated with calm, peace, and tranquillity, which can provide comfort to grieving loved ones. They symbolise healing and recovery, which is very helpful when someone is suffering from grief. Peace lilies are a different shape than a traditional lily, and come as pot plants, so they will bring healing for a long time to come.
Lilies are very traditional funeral flowers, particularly in shades of white and cream. They symbolise renewal and hope and have a heady perfume that lingers in a room. Lilies come in a vast array of colours and sizes so that you can get really creative in your funeral floral arrangement.
Popular as funeral flowers for more than a century, carnations are long-lasting and fragrant. Choose pink for remembrance and white for purity. Carnations look lovely on their own, or as a welcome addition to any funeral bouquet or arrangement.
Often just called ‘mums,’ chrysanthemums are popular all over the world, but particularly in Asia and certain European countries, such as Korea, Japan, and France. They have big, stunning blooms that work well as the main flower in a larger arrangement. A large bouquet of chrysanthemums also looks stunning on their own and really has a big visual impact.
Gladioli symbolise uplifting resilience and strength of character, which make them a classic choice for a funeral bouquet. Their bold and vibrant colours are eye-catching, and their tall boughs add visual drama to any arrangement.
Often associated with joy and love, roses also express respect and love. Yellow roses are ideal for a friend’s funeral, while pink roses symbolise grace and appreciation. Deep red roses can also symbolise great love and admiration, making them perfect for mourning.
Orchids are special and unique flowers that can be used for a wide variety of occasions, including mourning. Pink, purple, and white orchids all express compassion and sympathy. Orchids usually come as pot plants, so they will continue to soothe the grieving for months (or even years) to come.
While some people prefer funeral arrangements in subdued colours, others want a bolder palette. Hyacinths come in a wide range of electric hues, perfect for adding a pop of colour to a funeral arrangement.
Funeral flower arrangement ideas
Now that you know more about the most popular classic funeral flower choices, you can start to envision how they would look in a remarkable floral arrangement.
A wreath to surround the urn
Not every funeral includes a casket – some people prefer to display an urn instead, placing it on an altar or ceremonial table. A wreath can be the perfect option to surround the urn and add an extra touch. Choose one made with evergreen leaves, hardy flowers, and pops of colour. In addition to its special place of honour on the day of the funeral, the wreath will dry wonderfully and make a special keepsake.
Rare Blue Gems
Blue flowers are the rarest in nature and are therefore very prized and sought-after. This rarity and bold hue make them perfect for a unique gesture of remembrance, especially if blue was the deceased’s favourite colour. Mix the blue blooms with pops of white (lilies are ideal) and verdant green ferns for an eye-catching funeral arrangement.
Creating a cross or other religious icons with flowers
If the deceased had a strong sense of faith, use contrasting flowers to create a cross, Star of David, Crescent, Wheel, or another religious icon. This type of unique floral arrangement is ideal as the main point of focus for a religious service, and can be adapted to accompany an urn.
Standing tall and proud, a spray of flowers will celebrate the life of the deceased with sophistication and dignity. Include roses and gladioli for a traditional touch, and add brightly coloured blooms for a more contemporary and celebratory effect.
A Tribute Wreath
A tribute wreath brings comfort to the family in the short term, and when dried and preserved, makes a lasting memento. Memorial wreaths can be as traditional or unique as you wish, and can be used to lay atop the casket or showcase the urn.
A Basket of Lavender
Lavender has been known throughout history for its meditative and relaxing effects, and is commonly found in aromatherapy, bath oils, and body products. Its soothing properties make it the perfect gift for anyone suffering the loss of a loved one. Consider a basket of dried or fresh lavender. It not only smells wonderful, but its pale purple flowers are visually calming and delicately beautiful.
Though it is a dark and sad time, a unique funeral flower arrangement can help bring a sense of calm, beauty, and tranquillity to your loved one’s family and friends. A cherished historical tradition, flowers can bring a dash of life and love into an otherwise traumatic time.
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