While a florist’s main responsibility is to provide floral arrangements for their clients, there is more to it when it comes to flowers for a funeral as the arrangement needs to help comfort grieving friends and families, and reflect the individual’s personality.
According to Sydney-based florist, Sarah Mifsud, founder of Maggie Bloom, the most important part of her role when working on a funeral was to get a sense of what the deceased person was like and to bring that to life.
“I feel very privileged to have the honour of getting a sense of a person’s life and then creating something that celebrates their life and their stories,” Sarah said.
“It feels special to be a part of that important farewell. It’s a powerful moment to see their friends and families’ reactions to the ideas that come to life in the floral arrangements.
“My previous profession was in social work, so being able to help people in my current profession is really rewarding. I love my job. I am so passionate about what I do, and I honestly enjoy it every day.”
Personalising the floral tribute is the key to reflecting the individual’s personality, and according to Sarah the best way to do that is by getting as much information as possible from the friends and families.
“They give insight into their loved one’s character, interests, and sense of humour,” she said.
“Through different colours and types of flowers, we can bring their traits to life.
“With our business based in the Sutherland Shire, we’ve had a number of occasions, where the arrangements have been based on their love for sport – for example red and white for the Dragons and blue, black and white for the Sharkies.”
These personalised floral arrangements are very special and powerful elements to a funeral service, as they help comfort grieving families as they help soften the day, and it gives family and friends something to focus on during a difficult time.
They can also take some of the flowers from the arrangement home and dry out as a keepsake to remind them of their loved one.
Flowers that are of cultural significance
Florists can use creative elements to highlight the individual’s cultural background by using colours that are meaningful and are traditionally used in their funeral customs.
“We’ve placed flags into floral arrangements to represent their cultural background. We’ve also recreated certain flags such as the American flag and the English flag through a floral tribute,” she said.
“Chinese families often choose white flowers as this is of cultural significance to them. Red and white roses are still popular in Maltese and Italian cultures.”
Sarah says the use of Australian native flora in funerals was becoming increasingly popular.
Australian native flora such as eucalyptus leaves, banksia heads, waratahs, and wattle flowers are of cultural significance in the way they bring back memories and remind us of home.
Latest floral trends in 2021
Sarah says the use of traditional flowers including lilies, roses, and carnations are still popular amongst a variety of communities, particularly amongst the elderly community who are more traditional in their floral style.
“Though in addition to the inclusion of natives, another trend we have seen is friends and families bringing flowers from their own garden, or flowers from the deceased person’s garden to the funeral service, to supplement the arrangements,” she said.
The impact of COVID in the floral industry
While floral businesses that rely solely on their shops have been severely affected by COVID restrictions and lockdowns, Sarah’s business has not experienced a significant impact.
Though she has had to adapt her service delivery to assist those looking for flowers for funerals, especially in challenging times where friends and family are not able to express condolences in person.
“We’ve noticed a significant increase in people wanting to send flowers to their friends and family who can’t send them in person,” she said.
“We’ve helped send floral bouquets, wreaths and boxed arrangements for people in our local area.”
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