Funerals, memorial services, and celebration-of-life services are meant to honor the life and legacy of a loved one. Historically, funerals were somewhat plain affairs with little personalization. There is a growing trend, however, to make these events more personalized and reflect the individuality of the person who passed away.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Can You Put Things on a Casket Instead of Flowers?
- What to Put on a Casket Instead of Flowers
- How Else Can You Personalize Caskets?
- Casket Decoration Ideas for Flowers
One part of a funeral service that can be significantly personalized is the casket. While flowers are still the norm, there are many ways to decorate a casket that don’t include floral sprays. Here are some decoration ideas and inspiration to help you with funeral planning.
Can You Put Things on a Casket Instead of Flowers?
When it comes to decorating a casket, most people assume you’re talking about flowers. If you or your family is allergic to pollen, however, floral decorations could be problematic. You might also feel that flowers don’t adequately express your loved one’s personality.
It might come as a surprise to some, but we’re here to tell you that there are many ways to decorate a casket instead of flowers.
What to Put on a Casket Instead of Flowers
Switching up casket decorations and using something else instead of flowers is growing popular with people looking for personalized funeral ideas for their loved ones. Here are some of the best ideas available today.
1. Glam it up
This decoration concept will only apply to a very specific need, but if your loved one would have loved a casket that was glammed up, consider purchasing a casket that is wrapped in glitter or rhinestones. It may sound out there, but glitter caskets do exist, and there are crafters that can transform the outside of a casket with rhinestones.
2. Casket wraps
Wraps are becoming widely popular thanks to the ability to wrap a full casket in whatever design is desired. Popular wrap options feature an ocean or mountain scene, a collage of family pictures, professional sports teams, superheroes and cartoons, emergency response, and college sports teams.
3. Flag or banner
If you don’t feel like wrapping an entire casket, consider draping a flag or fabric banner over the casket during the service. While there are specific rules regarding the draping of American flags, you can drape other flags and fabric banners across your loved one’s casket to honor concepts, charities, organizations, and ideologies that were special to your loved one.
Don’t rule out adding decor to your loved one’s casket. This needs to be handled tastefully, but if your loved one had a particular hobby that lends itself, consider placing items on top of the casket to represent their hobby.
One example of this would be their knitting needles along with a partially finished blanket they were knitting.
Adorning a casket with photographs is a popular option for many and is often combined with floral sprays for a complete look. Consider placing several photos that represent major stages in their life such as graduation from college, marriage, meeting grandkids for the first time, and an important memory such as a trip abroad.
Was your loved one a quilter? If so, they are sure to be proud of the hundreds of hours they put into crafting their one-of-a-kind quilts. Consider displaying their beautiful handiwork in their honor by choosing a quilt and draping it over their casket.
7. Stuffed animals
Stuffed animals are fitting when decorating a child’s casket. Did they have a favorite stuffed animal or two? Perhaps they had a whole collection of animals they were proud of. Consider placing several of their favorites on top of their casket. Then, before the casket is closed for the final time, one of their stuffed animals can be tucked inside with them.
8. Sports jersey
If your loved one was a die-hard sports fan or played sports themselves, consider placing their jersey or a jersey from their favorite player on the casket. If they enjoyed more than one sport, place several jerseys on top to represent all the teams they played on or rooted for.
9. Special items
For some people, there are special items that especially represent them. Some examples of special items you might consider placing on top include:
- A cowboy’s hat, boots, and lariat
- A firefighter’s helmet and ax
- A policeman’s hat and empty gun belt
- An olympian’s medals
- A boat captain’s hat
- A chef’s toque and coat
- A doctor’s coat and stethoscope
10. Religious symbols
Most casket companies can accommodate special requests to place religious symbols on the top of caskets. This would include symbols like a wood cross or Star of David. Other religious items you can choose include a rosary or a funeral pall.
How Else Can You Personalize Caskets?
There are several other ways you can personalize a casket. In addition to choosing the type of casket, consider the following options.
Though not offered at standard casket companies, engraving is available through craft coffin makers or artisans who can take a casket you supply and engrave it. Engraving a casket can be as simple as having the words, “Dearly loved” placed into the side or as complex as having quotes, verses, or wishes from family members etched into the side, bottom, foot, or lid of the casket.
Inlays are made using materials such as wood and mother of pearl to create a beautiful design on the casket. This takes a considerable amount of time and labor and needs to be ordered ahead. If your loved one was an artist or enjoyed design and style, a casket with an inlaid design might be what you choose.
Casket manufacturers are starting to offer caskets in multiple colors instead of the standard wood tone or white. The colors available for caskets now include the full spectrum of the rainbow.
14. Material types
One way to personalize a casket is by choosing one based on the material you know your loved one would appreciate. There are extremely luxurious woods with deep hues, simple pinewood caskets, and biodegradable wicker and cardboard options for natural burials. You even have the option to choose no casket at all and simply wrap your loved one in a shroud for eco-burials.
Casket Decoration Ideas for Flowers
Flowers create a beautiful display on caskets, especially when floral designs are chosen based on a person’s favorite flowers or design preferences. Here are several decoration ideas if you choose to use flowers.
15. Standard spray
Casket sprays are one of the standard floral designs used for caskets. These designs use several bouquets worth of flowers and craft them into a design that covers a large section of the casket.
Since sprays have been used so often, there are many casket spray ideas available from florists of all kinds including internet-based florists to artisanal flower shops.
16. Extra-large spray
Most standard casket sprays don’t cover the entire casket. If you want to cover more of the casket, consider asking the florist to make the spray larger than normal. They will incorporate more flowers into the design and elongate it so it covers more of the length of the casket.
A casket saddle is shaped like a saddle, and the floral display covers the entire midsection of a casket. Multiple saddles can be combined and placed onto the casket to cover the entire length if desired.
When placed, the saddle or saddles are secured to the casket with a rubber-wrapped metal form so it won’t shift or move.
18. Floral blanket
A floral blanket is a newer design concept and is created by sewing flowers into a blanket design that covers the mid-section of the casket. This creates a very elegant look that pairs well with traditional wood casket styles.
19. Bouquet and fabric
Another newer design style is to incorporate a bouquet with a fabric sash. The bouquet is placed on top of a fabric sash that is draped over the front of the casket. Each bouquet and sash pairing is spaced out to create an elegant style. The bouquets can be customized according to your floral preferences, and the sash material can be any type of material, from burlap to gold organza.
A floral wreath is most commonly displayed on a tripod standing near the casket. If you prefer, however, the wreath can be placed on top of the casket. It’s typically placed near the head for a closed casket and on the middle section for an open casket ceremony.
A garland is a beautiful and whimsical floral design that uses greenery and flowers to form a floral chain around the casket. This design is commonly used with wicker caskets and is woven into the wicker handles.
A heart design is crafted by sewing or placing short-stemmed flowers into a heart design close together so the heart is a solid bouquet. Roses of any color work best for this design.
Floral crosses can be made with greenery and long-stemmed flowers such as calla lilies. They are placed on top of the casket and typically toward the middle section. The horizontal arms of the cross are as wide as the casket, and the length of the vertical cross piece is proportionate to the width.
Bidding Your Loved One Goodbye
Funerals don’t have to feel stiff and informal. Depending on your loved one’s style and personality, they can be elegant, glamorous, sentimental, and even upbeat. How you decorate the casket can be largely dependent on what you think your loved one would have enjoyed. Remember, the funeral and their casket should honor their life and legacy. If you accomplish those goals, you’ve done it right.