How to choose flowers for a funeral

Three minute read

Choosing the right floral arrangement for a funeral can feel overwhelming, especially if you barely know your daffodils from your dahlias. We have a whole bunch of fresh ideas to inspire you, from choosing eco-friendly living flowers to raiding your very own vegetable patch.

1. Go seasonal

Seasonal funeral flowers

Whether you’re looking for a traditional funeral spray or something completely different, seasonal plants can be a lovely touch. In spring that might mean narcissus or, in winter, pine.

At Poppy's, we work with local florist and grower Lilian Highmoor to source beautiful, seasonal flowers all year round. Read our interview with Lilian here.

2. Natural architecture

Funeral arrangement including leaves and twigs

If you’re not looking for a traditional funeral spray, you might consider a more architectural design. In this case, think about flowers, like arum lily or bird of paradise, whose shapes add complexity and interest to a bouquet. Flowers with a long simple shape also pair well with twigs and leaves.

3. Living flowers

Pots of funeral flowers | Poppy's Funerals | London funeral director

One important thing to keep in mind is what you’d like to do with flowers after a funeral. While traditional sprays are beautiful, they’re often too large to be easily preserved.

Living flowers can be an appealing eco-friendly alternative. Small pots can also be distributed among guests and kept as mementos. Find more eco-friendly funeral ideas here.

4. Personalised design

Wonder woman flowers | funeral flowers

You can always ask your florist to shape flowers into a specific design, like a word or meaningful object. This can be a wonderful opportunity to really personalise a floral arrangement and you can be completely creative. We’ve seen dozens of thoughtful examples, from Wonder Woman to aeroplanes. Discover more ways to personalise a funeral here.

5. Beautiful vegetables

Vegetables on a coffin

Vegetables can be a beautiful and touching alternative to flowers. This is an especially meaningful way to say goodbye to an avid gardener or allotment enthusiast. In one of our favourite memories of a vegetable-covered coffin, the friends and family used the produce to make soup after the funeral.

6. Coffin garland

Coffin garland

Wicker coffins are a lovely alternative to wood and, as an added benefit, allow the option of a coffin garland. This means that a florist will weave flowers through the wicker to create a beautiful flowering design. Alternatively, you can ask guests to create a garland themselves by tucking individual flowers into the coffin. Read more here about how our wicker coffins are made.

7. Flowers from your own garden

Garden flowers used at a funeral | Poppy's funerals | London funeral director

Flowers from your own backyard or the garden of the person who has died can add a personal touch to a funeral. It’s also a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Another powerful shared ritual is to request that each guest brings their own flower to decorate the coffin.

8. Herbs of remembrance

Herbs and flowers used at a funeral | Poppy's funerals | funerals in south west london

Scent can play an important role in a floral display, making herbs a lovely addition. Rosemary can be an especially powerful choice as it’s also a symbol of remembrance. At natural burial grounds, mourners often take turns dropping sprigs of rosemary and lavender into the grave.

9. Creative alternatives

Coffin with flowers and chef's whites

While flowers are certainly beautiful, keep in mind that you don’t need to include them if you’d rather not, or you can use them alongside other decorations.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to decorating a coffin in a way that feels meaningful to you. This could involve anything from a much-loved football shirt to knitting needles and a quilt — or even a chef's hat.

From more ideas to help you plan the funeral that's right for you, have a look at how to plan an eco-friendly funeral or find alternatives to traditional black hearses.

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