Funeral Planning: A Guide to Funeral Flowers

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Funeral flowers aren’t always necessary at a funeral, or even appropriate. In the Jewish faith, flowers are not incorporated into funeral services or into the period of mourning after the funeral known as shiva. Similarly, flowers aren’t used in Muslim funerals. That said, flowers are common among many other faiths, and even while well-wishers might send wreaths to the service or arrangements to the home in sympathy, it’s customary for the deceased person’s family members to buy the flowers specifically used for the funeral service. 

Funeral flowers are used to decorate the space and the coffin and to pay tribute to the deceased. They may also be displayed at the graveside service. Given the way they’re displayed, these arrangements are often large and formal.

Casket spray

A casket spray is a larger arrangement containing a variety of flowers and, in some cases, decorative elements such as ribbons. Traditionally, choosing a casket spray will fall to the decedent’s immediate family members.

  • Placement: This spray will be draped over the casket at a viewing or visitation, as well as potentially at the funeral service itself.
  • Size: If the ceremony includes a closed casket, you’ll choose a full couch spray (couch is another term for casket). If the funeral or viewing features a half-open casket, in which the face and upper body are visible, a half spray will dress the casket.
  • Price: Costs will vary somewhat, depending on size and types of blooms, but $200 is a reasonable budget for a casket spray.

Casket interior flowers

While a casket spray adorns the outside of the casket, many people choose to add flowers to the inside as well.

  • Hinge spray: A garland of flowers that rests along the top, inside hinge of the casket. These flowers are visible to visitors, even at a slight distance, and can be used in place of or in addition to an embroidered head panel. Hinge sprays typically cost between $50 and $100.
  • Flower pillows: Though less common, some people select smaller floral arrangements to be placed alongside the decedent’s body. These are sometimes known as flower pillows or rosary garlands, and usually run less than $100.

Standing arrangements

In addition to the casket, many funerals include a standing floral arrangement. These flowers will be near the front of the funeral hall during the service.

  • Shapes: The most common arrangements are a floral wreath or a flower spray.
  • Size: These types of arrangements are fairly uniform in size. They’re typically secured to a free-standing easel and large enough to be seen by visitors sitting at a distance.
  • Price: Depending on the types of flowers and where they’re purchased, prices range from $150 to $350.

If you prefer that your preselected flowers are the only ones appear at the funeral, make note of that in the funeral announcement or obituary. If other friends and family do send flowers, the funeral home will arrange them ahead of the visitation and funeral service. The funeral director will also track arrangements, providing a list of who sent what to the family afterward. It’s considered good form to send a thank-you note to anyone who sent flowers to the funeral home.

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