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.

white and green easel spray
White and Green Easel Spray

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.

Casket Flowers

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.

White and Green Casket Cover
Vibrant Casket Cover
Rose Casket Cover

Easel Sprays

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.

Feminine Cross Spray
Sympathy Easel Spray
Tropical Easel Spray

Plants

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.

Sympathy European Garden
Spring European Garden

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.

Double Stemmed potted orchid

Fresh Arrangements

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.

Please visit our website to see options for sympathy flowers. Lilium is a custom shop, and we will work with you to select a meaningful arrangement to express your condolences.

It’s nice to work in an industry in which the products and services we provide bring happiness to others. We see firsthand the smiles on recipients’ faces when we deliver a Lilium flower arrangement. Now we have studies to support what we’ve known all along. Rutgers University recently conducted a 10-month behavioral study that explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. Their findings show that flowers are a natural moderator of moods and have strong positive effects on emotional health.

A diagram included in Rutger's study shows the effects of flowers on emotions.
A diagram included in Rutger’s study shows the effects of flowers on emotions.

According to the Rutgers researchers, the presence of flowers provides the following benefits:

  • Flowers have immediate impact on happiness. All study participants, in every age group, expressed excitement when receiving flowers. Reactions included surprise, genuine happiness and gratitude.
  • Flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods.  Study participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and agitated after receiving flowers. They also demonstrated greater sense of life satisfaction.
  • Flowers create intimate connections. Giving and receiving flowers creates positive contact between family and friends.

In the Rutgers’ study, the subjects received deliveries of flowers and other gifts, such as fruit and candles. While most deliveries received a positive response, the highest response rate occurred to flowers. Their studies showed that the positive feelings lasted two to three days.

One experiment involved measuring reactions of both men and women receiving a flower in a public elevator. The most common social behavior in an elevator is to get as much distance from the other occupants as possible. However, when the experimenter offered a single flower to each of the occupants, their demeanor changed. They moved closer to the presenter and to one another. The experiment was repeated using promotional pens as stimuli, but the pens did not receive the same response. It may be concluded that there is something about receiving flowers that draws people closer together.

Color Characteristics

In addition, color plays a big part in the emotion conveyed when sending flowers. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Our response to color is intensely emotional, and flowers can be a catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our senses of sight and smell.”

Tradition dictates that certain flowers and colors are associated with specific occasions. However, in terms of emotional health, color choices take on different meanings.  Red, traditionally associated with love and romance, has a positive effect on the immune system. Consider sending red flowers to someone who has recently had surgery, or experienced and illness. Red is also an energizing color for those who suffer from fatigue or exhaustion.

Corazon silver bowl

Red and white florals make this circus themed event complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violet has a calming effect on the mind and nerves. It is uplifting, and encourages creativity.DSC_0506 IMG_0001

 

Yellow, psychologically, is the happiest color in the spectrum. It symbolizes the sun, and invokes happy and radiant feelings. It is a friendly color that encourages communication. Yellow also stimulates the memory and the nervous system.

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Orange conveys optimism and encourages socialization. It is also associated with determination and success.

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Blue is most often named as a favorite color. Just as the blue sky and the blue ocean are considered constants in our world, blue is perceived as dependable and trustworthy. Blue invokes feelings that are calm, cool and sedate.

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As the most common color present in the natural world, green creates a feeling of tranquility. It conveys a sense of freshness and renewal. Green also signifies prosperity and progress.

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Pink is associated with joy. Brighter pinks, similar to reds, stimulate energy, increasing the blood pressure, heartbeat and respiration. Softer pink hues convey a sense of sweetness and romance.

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White symbolizes openness. White blooms are most often associated with purity, honesty and perfection.

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Do you know someone who could use a lift today? Or maybe you could use an emotional boost yourself. Draw upon the power of flowers to improve your emotional health, or that of someone you love. Call or stop by Lilium, or visit our website, to select the perfect arrangement.