A guide to arranging funeral flowers

Arranging funeral flowers can be a way to adorn the coffin or bring a touch of nature to the funeral chapel. However, flowers do add to the overall funeral costs.

If you would prefer to arrange a simple funeral without any obligation to spend on extras, get in touch with us on 01543 212000 to see how we can support you.

Arranging funeral flowers is a decision which can be influenced by your family's expectations and preferences, the costs involved, your own taste and what you think your loved one would have wanted.

Knowing the different types of flowers available, how much you can expect to spend and the symbolism behind different flowers can help.

If choosing funeral flowers is adding to the pressure of making funeral arrangements, you may prefer to choose simpler floral arrangements or decide against having funeral flowers altogether.

Types of funeral flowers

Traditional funeral flowers are available in several different popular arrangement styles.

Funeral wreath

White Funeral Wreath On Wooden Table

This “O” shaped circle of flowers is an arrangement commonly placed on top of the coffin.

Spray

Dark Coffin With Flowers On Top

This larger teardrop or diamond-shaped floral arrangement is designed to lie flat on top of the coffin.

Sheaf

Purple And White Funeral Sheaf On Wooden Surface

A hand-tied bouquet with visible stems offers a smaller and more rustic arrangement for the top of the coffin.

Posy

White Funeral Posy With Roses

This small round floral arrangement can be placed on top of the coffin or on a table or windowsill at the funeral.

Letters

Dad Letter Funeral Flower Arrangement

Letters spelling out the deceased’s name or family relationship are commonly displayed in funeral cars.

Hearts

Pink And Purple Heart Shaped Funeral Wreath

A heart-shaped wreath is another popular design for funeral flowers due to its association with love.

Uniquely shaped floral tributes can be arranged to be displayed on or next to the coffin or in the funeral chapel.

Popular shapes include:

  • Teddy bears
  • Wings
  • Hats
  • Crosses
  • Pillows

The coffin can also be adorned with a garland which is a long floral arrangement designed to encircle the outside edges.

White Flowers In Funeral Chapel

How to choose funeral flowers

There is no right or wrong when it comes to arranging funeral flowers. Keeping your loved one in mind whilst you make your selection may help to make the funeral choices easier.

How can you reflect their personality?

Colourful Poppies In Field

There are many ways to reflect your loved one's personality in your choice of flowers.

  • Incorporate their favourite flower if they had one.
  • Wildflowers could be a fitting choice for a free-spirited individual.
  • Consider floral arrangements in the shape of a hobby or pet.
  • Incorporate alternative greenery like fragrant herbs for a keen cook or holly if they loved Christmas.

What colour should funeral flowers be?

Red Orange And Purple Funeral Posy

White is the most traditional colour for funeral flowers, but the flowers can be any colour that suits your loved one.

  • You may like to include your loved one's favourite colour or the colours of the sports team they supported.
  • If they were born elsewhere or had ties to a specific country, you could incorporate the colours of the national flag.
  • There may be another colour you associate strongly with them like the colour of their front door or their favourite mug.

Giles Palmer

Head of Grounds, Westerleigh Group

"The traditional funeral flowers on the coffin or decorating the chapel are not the only flowers found at our crematoriums. We want families attending a funeral or paying their respects at a loved one’s grave to experience the peacefulness and beauty of nature from the moment they enter our grounds.

“Colourful floral beds, blooming rose gardens, spring primroses and wildflower meadows at our crematoriums provide a haven for bees and other wildlife. I’m always really impressed with the horticultural improvements our grounds teams carry out and their dedication to creating a welcoming natural environment."

What is the best flower for a funeral?

As well as choosing flowers for their appearance, you may also like to consider flowers with different symbolic meanings in your floral displays.

Type of funeral flowers Symbolism
Forget me nots As the name suggests, the forget me not is commonly associated with memory and can symbolise always keeping memories of your loved one with you.
Roses The rose is the flower most widely associated with love and is beautiful in many colours from red and pink to yellow and white.
Poppies The poppy is a flower with strong associations of remembrance and could be especially fitting for someone who served in the armed forces.
Lillies Common in funeral flower arrangements, the lily is a symbol of death and grief but also purity, rebirth and hope.
Tulips The tulip and other spring flowers can be associated with renewal and new beginnings. Tulips are also symbolic of unconditional and enduring love.
Sunflowers The cheery yellow of a sunflower and the way sunflowers turn towards the sun associates them with brightness, positivity and warmth.
Carnations Like roses, carnations are also said to symbolise all kinds of deep love from the love felt between romantic partners to loving familial bonds.

When arranging funeral flowers, checking whether your loved one shared their funeral wishes before they died, for example in their will, can help you plan a funeral service with their choices in mind.

Cost of funeral flowers

People spent on average £220 on funeral flowers in 2023 and 1 in 4 people said funeral costs including the costs of flowers surprised them.*

Some factors that influence the price of funeral flowers are:

  • The amount of flowers you'd like
    One simple posy or wreath will be cheaper than a large spray and floral arrangements all around the chapel.
  • The time of year that the funeral is taking place
    If you'd like a particular flower, sourcing it outside of the season it grows natively may be more difficult and cost more too.

* The average spend on funeral flowers in 2023 was £220. 27% of people said certain funeral costs including flowers surprised them. (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

White Roses And Lilies On Coffin

Funeral flower etiquette

Condolence bouquets or sympathy flowers are traditionally given to the immediate family of the person who has died to express sympathy, support and well wishes.

The person making arrangements may request funeral donations to charity in the deceased's name instead of flowers so it's best to check beforehand.

How to send sympathy flowers

Arranging sympathy flowers to be sent directly to a bereaved person's home is more convenient for them than bringing flowers to the funeral. You can order the flowers online or give the address to your local florist.

What to write on funeral flowers

Kind words from the heart or simple expressions of support like "thinking of you", "truly sorry for your loss" or "our deepest and most heartfelt condolences" can bring comfort.

Do you write the person's name on funeral flowers?

You can address the flowers to the bereaved recipient or directly to your lost loved one. You can also include both names by expressing your sympathies and including a message directly to your loved one as well.

Should funeral flowers be in a vase?

Some condolence bouquets will come in a vase, but others may come in a basket or a box. A longer-lasting alternative to funeral flowers you could consider is a living flowering plant in a pot.

Should you throw flowers on a coffin?

Throwing flowers or dirt onto a coffin has the symbolic significance of returning a loved one to the earth. This is traditionally done at a burial funeral. You can follow the lead of the chief mourners and throw a flower or handful of earth onto the coffin if you are invited to.

Overwhelmed by traditional funeral etiquette?

You can arrange a completely unattended direct cremation instead. Having an unattended funeral gives you time to arrange a separate end-of-life event free from tradition wherever and whenever you want.

Choosing an alternative way to remember your loved one lets you celebrate their life more personally.

View our direct cremation services

FAQs about choosing flowers for a funeral

Still have questions about arranging funeral flowers? These frequently asked questions may help you answer them.

Who pays for the flowers at the funeral service?

Wallet With Coins On Table

It's usually the person organising the funeral service who pays for the funeral flowers. If you are concerned about affording flowers, you can ask friends or family for support or simplify arrangements with a low cost funeral.

What happens to the flowers after a funeral?

Wooden Coffin With Flowers In A Sunny Wood

What you do with the flowers after the funeral is your own choice. You can leave the floral arrangements at the burial ground or crematorium. Or if you prefer, you can take the flowers home or gift them to family or friends.

Do flowers go at the head or foot of the coffin?

Dark Coffin With Flowers On Top

Funeral flowers are conventionally placed on top of the coffin at the head rather than at the feet or where the coffin is widest. Some larger floral arrangements and sprays may cover the majority of the coffin's lid.

Can you prepare the funeral flowers yourself?

Vase Of Orange Flowers

Arranging funeral flowers yourself could save you money but may add to the stress of planning. You will need to check how long the flowers you want will last and prepare them last minute to make sure they’re fresh.

Other useful resources

For support arranging a dignified and inexpensive cremation funeral, call our customer service specialists on 01543 212000 or see our guidance about other aspects of the funeral service.

Arrange a funeral

Arrange a Funeral

We provide all of our own cremation services, supporting you with the necessary paperwork, facilitating a respectful cremation and personally returning your loved one's ashes.

Arrange a funeral

Funeral plans

Sue bench with funeral plan guide

Whilst planning a funeral service you may make some choices about your own wishes. A cremation plan with Distinct Cremations lets you choose your own funeral in advance.

View funeral plans

Funeral urns

Man Passing Funeral Urn With Ashes To Woman

If you've chosen a cremation for your loved one's funeral, depending on your plans for their ashes you may need an urn or other ashes container designed for burial or scattering.

Funeral urns guide

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.

"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."

“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"

"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."

"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"

"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."

“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."

"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."

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