Funerals are not generally at the top of the list of conversation topics, yet we all have to experience them sooner or later. While this is the season of giving thanks and celebrating family, death does not acknowledge any particular season. It is a difficult time, when we are often at a loss as to what to say or do. Whether planning a funeral for a loved one, or expressing condolences to a family member, friend, or business associate, flowers are a traditional expression of sympathy.
The use of flowers in funeral rites goes way back; I mean WAY back. Excavations of ancient burial sites in Iraq have unearthed evidence of plants and florals surrounding the human remains. Without getting too morbid or graphic, before modern day embalming methods were available, flowers were used to mask the odors of the deceased until burial took place. Although that is not an issue today, the tradition of surrounding the casket with flowers endures.
In the early 1900s, C. Austin Miles wrote the hymn, “In the Garden,” which became one of the most frequently-sung hymns at funerals all over the United States. The visual was so strong that funeral homes designed their facilities so that caskets would sit among flowers and plants to create the illusion of resting in a garden. The tradition endures more than 100 years later. A background of flowers lends warmth and beauty to the funeral service, creating a comforting environment for the bereaved.
Flowers are often given to express sentiments we have difficulty putting into words. If fact, when Lilium customers order sympathy flowers, writing the card message is often more difficult than selecting flowers. Flowers are a visual expression of love, sympathy and respect. They indicate a shared burden of grief. While some flowers have symbolic meanings, most select flowers that best reflect the personality or preferences of the deceased, or convey particular sentiments to the family. White, particularly a white lily, is most often associated with sympathy flowers. White is also a versatile choice for either a man or woman. Alternatively, color palettes can be selected for a more feminine or masculine look. However, it is not necessary to use somber colors. Many choose to view the funeral as a celebration of the life of their loved one, and select bright colors for the service.
Typically, casket flowers are purchased by the family of the deceased, and they are placed on top of the casket at the viewing/visitation and during the service. A full casket cover will cover the entire top of the casket. This works best if the casket will remain closed. If the casket will be open, a half casket cover is recommended. It can be easily moved to one end when the casket is open, then moved back to the center once the casket is closed.
Easel sprays are used at formal funerals, memorial services and graveside services. Following an indoor service, they generally accompany the casket from the funeral to the grave site, and remain there after the burial.
There are several options for easel sprays, including traditional (or blanket) sprays, wreaths, crosses, and more modern, asymmetrical sprays. Flowers can range from traditional roses to vibrant tropicals. They can be designed to be feminine, or with masculine colors and textures.
If you want to send something longer-lasting, plants are a good option. You should take into account whether or not the family is local, with the ability to easily transport the plants home. If so, you might choose a single, large plant in a nice container, or perhaps a European garden. The European garden is an assortment of flowering and non-flowering plants arranged in a basket, and finished with moss and, sometimes, curly willow. You get the best of both worlds, with a colorful blooms in a long-lasting arrangement. Flower and plant options will vary by season, so check with your florist to find out what is available.
A potted orchid is another beautiful choice. A fresh orchid’s blooms may last two to three months with proper care. Lilium dresses up their orchids in a decorative container with moss and curly willow. An orchid can also be included in a European garden to create a stunning and long-lasting arrangement.
A fresh arrangement is always an appropriate expression of sympathy. Have an arrangement delivered to a residence, workplace, or to the funeral service. Like plants, vased arrangements can be taken home after the service and enjoyed for several days. Designs range from low and lush bouquets to tall and stately arrangements. Whites and greens are often requested for sympathy arrangements, but there is no right or wrong color scheme. You can specify a favorite flower, or color palette, that best expresses your sentiments.