Before we had embalming and advanced preservation techniques, we had funeral flowers. Flowers were used primarily for the purpose of masking the smell of decomposition at a funeral. As embalming became more popular, flowers remained a large part of the funeral service. Today, they serve as a token for the bereaved as friends and family express their condolences on the passing of a loved one.
A casket mound is a traditional piece for a full burial. As the name implies, this arrangement is displayed on top of the casket: at the foot end when the casket is open or centered when the casket is closed. Traditionally, this piece is provided by the immediate family in honor of their loved one.
A funeral spray is displayed on a standing rack and can come in all shapes and sizes. These are again often sent by close family and friends, but not exclusively. Common styles of sprays include crosses, hearts, and wreaths.
A rosary arrangement is customarily found at a Catholic calling and Mass. This arrangement mimics a bead rosary and is made of small flowers, usually roses. It is draped in the head panel of the casket. These beautiful arrangements can be sent out after the service to be replaced with silk flowers and kept as wonderful keepsake for the family to cherish.
Pillows, like sprays, come in a variety of styles. The most customary is a piece made entirely of full-bodied flowers, such as carnations or chrysanthemums, that looks quite literally like a pillow. This arrangement would be placed at the head end of the casket as close as possible, so it looks as though the deceased’s head is resting on the pillow. The modern version of this arrangement are small, shaped fabric pillows decorated with flowers that are arranged in the casket. They are often hearts or crosses and usually from extended close family, such as grandchildren or great grandchildren.
Vase arrangements, just like all arrangements come in an array of shapes and sizes. They can be customized in the flowers included, the colors chosen and/or the ribbon included. Sometimes family will order vases to match the casket mound or other arrangements or friends and loved ones will send vase arrangements to express their condolences.
As mentioned above, wreath arrangements can be displayed as a standing spray, but there are also other options. When cremation has taken place and an urn in chosen, a wreath can be displayed around the urn. Like the casket mound, this is often chosen by the immediate family to honor their loved one.
The possibilities for flower arrangements are endless and often, families and friends will use these to express their loved one’s personality. Whether through the type of flower chosen, the color scheme or even a custom guitar spray, there is sure the be something for everyone. Flowers are a wonderful way to express your care to a grieving family and something that can bring them joy when they see them. Tune in next week for a special follow up piece to learn about the meanings of different flowers and what you can choose for a funeral arrangement.
All photos were provided by Townley & Wheeler Funeral Home.