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Floral tributes and alternatives to flowers

Flowers have long been a tradition at funerals, with funeral flower arrangements often placed on top of the casket during transportation and during the funeral. Charitable donations are becoming a common replacement for sympathy flowers, but many people like to have something adorning the top of the coffin.

While flowers are still the most popular choice, our funeral directors have been asked for a range of alternatives which reflect the life and hobbies of the person who has died.

Bespoke floral tributes

The florists we work with are chosen for their ability to create the most beautiful floral tributes and coffin sprays. However, for those looking for something less traditional, they’re also able to create some amazing personalised floral arrangements - from golf caddies and tennis racquets for sports lovers, to musical instruments, pints of lager and bottles of vodka, right through to favourite animals, beloved pets or favourite places.

“I’ve been asked for a few different things over the years, from creating floral tributes that look like golf caddies, musical instruments and even an arrangement made entirely of sweets. The bottom line is, if it was something they loved, something that will provoke memories and help personalise the funeral, then we’ll do our best to include it.”

Rachael, Funeral Director

There are several ways to personalise floral tributes or beautiful alternatives. Here you can find a few examples of:

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Vegetable coffin sprays

These colourful sprays, made from seasonal vegetables, are an ideal tribute to a keen gardener, or someone who loved to spend time in their allotment. As a quirky alternative to a traditional funeral spray, using vegetables can be just as colourful and attractive, making a lovely centrepiece that tells a story to the people attending the funeral.

Toys and lego models

While many people choose to include a favourite teddy or toy as part of a decorative arrangement on top of the coffin, we’ve seen some very creative approaches to creating personalised arrangements.

From Lego creations and model making kits, through to using favourite collections of toys, this type of coffin arrangement can be very personal to the person who has died, giving them a funeral that reflects their own interests and hobbies.

“I was involved in planning a funeral for a young boy who died in very tragic circumstances. He had a favourite stuffed toy which he took great comfort from and kept with him all of the time. The florist created an absolutely fantastic 3D replica of the toy - like nothing I have ever seen. The family was blown away by it and it meant a lot to them that so much effort had gone into getting it perfect.”

Philip, Funeral Director

Portraits, photos and personal items

Some people like to put pictures on top of the coffin rather than flowers. Whether you chose to use a series of informal, funny or light hearted photos or collages to promote the sharing of memories, or chose a favourite photo and have it framed or printed on canvas, using photos is a touching way of personalising the funeral.

“I’ve been asked to place various items on top of the coffin or casket over the years - including favourite items of clothing such as hats and scarves. One that stood out to me was when we were asked to put muddy boots and a fishing rod on top of a coffin - he had been a keen fisherman so the family wanted to do something that reflected his life and interests, rather than using flowers.”

Andrea, Funeral Director

Picture coffin

Top tips for creating bespoke tributes

Don't be afraid to ask
When creating a personalised funeral, almost anything goes. The key is to reflect the interests of the person who has died - which could include anything from sports to literature, travel to music, or anything in between.

Be creative
You’d be amazed at what can be created out of flowers! From skip lorries and garden trowels, to gin bottles, cigarette packets right through to butterflies, pets or a favourite teddy bear. Our florists are happy to work with you to create a memorable and fitting tribute.

It doesn’t have to be flowers
While flowers are the go-to choice for the top of a coffin, they are not compulsory! We’ve seen everything from lego models and other toys to personal items and clothing - if they loved it, and you want it to be used as a tribute, please ask our funeral directors and they’ll find a way to include it in the funeral arrangements.

“Several years ago, we looked after a family who had lost their son in a motorbike accident. He was a big character! The family organised a Domino’s pizza to be delivered to the crematorium, which was placed on top of the coffin for the duration of the service.”

Ben, Funeral Director

Other ways to personalise a funeral

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