In this blog, we talk to the absolutely fantastic, Bristol-based, florist Fiona Lafon of Emerald and Jade. Fiona has been producing beautiful floral displays for all ceremonies from weddings to celebrations of life. She discusses the options when choosing your flowers for funerals.
Over to you Fiona!
As a florist, I mostly encounter two types of people: those who love flowers, and those who don’t get flowers.
Those who love flowers, don’t need to be convinced to include flowers in their home, their wedding, their funeral. They love flowers for their appearance, their scent, their colours. On the other hand, those who don’t get flowers see them as a waste of money as they’ll die in any event so what’s the point in spending money on something that won’t last. Or as a mother of a bride once told me during a consultation, she believes in flowers belonging in a garden, not being cut (luckily her daughter disagreed and nevertheless booked me for her wedding).
In any event, not everyone “gets” flowers, and I can appreciate that. Flowers are after all expensive due to their short-term longevity and fragility.
To me, however, there is a much bigger picture to flowers. You see, I am very much a glass half full person, and so perhaps this has a direct influence on my views. But when someone tells me “what’s the point, they’ll die anyway”, I can’t help but find this ironic. Indeed, everything dies, including ourselves as mere mortals. But knowing that we are going to die, doesn’t stop us from making the most of life. I have based my whole business around living a beautiful life, because otherwise, well, what is the point?
One of the many things I love about flowers, is how they are so naturally beautiful. Nature is known to have a calming, positive effect, and even when cut, flowers do the same. When buying flowers, people will take time to choose the ones that convey the right message and bring a smile. Just walking around town with a beautiful, bright bouquet of flowers, you will always notice people looking at you and smiling. Flowers just naturally bring happiness.
However, when it comes to funerals, more often than not, this positive side of flowers gets forgotten. Instead, more often than not, flower arrangements get picked from a catalogue. Nothing personal is included, nothing relating to the loved one we’re saying goodbye to, nothing there to make people smile. These flowers look sad, and everything about them says “funeral” and they are very unlikely to bring happiness or joy.
Now I know the words “smile”, “happiness” and “joy” may seem odd when talking about funerals. I also fully appreciate that planning a funeral is incredibly difficult, with a whole lot of things needing to be taken care of, and arranging the flowers just becomes a tick on a very long to-do list. But going back to what I mentioned previously, I believe in living a beautiful life, and with that, celebrating life. Through the good times, but also the sad times.
It’s not to say that I haven’t cried at every single funeral I’ve been to. But I’ve also smiled, hugged loved ones (a lot!) and laughed. When providing sympathy flowers, I love it when people admire them, when they make them smile and being told that they would have been so loved by their loved one.
Flowers have such a strong power on us. Their colour, their texture, their scent… I absolutely believe that we can use this power positively for funerals.
Flowers also have a strong associative power. So the flowers you choose for a loved one’s funeral will have an impact on you thereafter. Another reason why I believe you should choose a flower you like, which is more likely to make you smile, and that you would be happy having in your home on the anniversary of their death for example.
In terms of arrangements, there is so much you can do…
As much as weddings and funerals are different, in so many ways, they are ultimately, all about celebrating life. Through the good times, and the sad times. For this reason, when I get a new enquiry I like to meet with clients, and ask them about the event and the person in question. This helps me get to know them better, to then be able to help them when choosing flowers. Did they like their garden? Did they always have flowers in the home? Did they like spending time outdoors? Perhaps they just loved bright colours and life in general, and as a florist I can create an arrangement for you which reflect all of this.
As a result, the sympathy flowers I produce are usually beautiful, and bright. And will include a personal link to the life being celebrated.
A grandfather who adored his grand-children, and was also a keen gardener… We included six little terracotta pots planted with primroses and decorated with a ribbon matching the RAF ribbons he had received, one for each of the grand-children. The church was filled will bright, beautifully scented arrangements with lots of daffodils and bright flowers, as a garden bursting with life in Spring.
A daughter remembered listening to vinyl with her father when she was younger. We found a small record box similar to the one her father used to have, and had a meadow arrangement bursting out from it.
A beloved aunt who loved her garden, received an arrangement created in a wicker basket to reflect the one she would use for her cut flowers.
Whether it be on in the choice of container, the style of arrangement and of course the choice of flowers themselves, there are so many ways that they can be personalised to truly reflect your loved one. Traditionally, sympathy flowers don’t have much creativity or personalisation to them. But there are no set rules, feel free to consider different flowers, brighter colours… anything you feel would create a better, more positive association with your loved one.
Don’t hesitate to also leave instructions or make plans for your own funeral and choose your own flowers, your florist should be able to talk you through your options.
I am Fiona Lafon, owner and florist at Emerald & Jade Flowers. We specialise in beautiful, bright flowers, and mostly provide flowers for events. Primarily weddings but also workshops and of course funerals.Vist Fiona's Website
15th September 2018
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