At funerals that choose to display the casket, the presentation can make a big statement. While there’s a lot of variation between the different types of caskets, there are also a lot of options when it comes to different types of funeral flowers and how they’re displayed.
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A common way to display funeral flowers is with what’s known as a casket saddle. It gets its name not only because it’s usually placed on top of caskets, but it’s also shaped like a saddle.
Because funeral flowers are already expensive on their own, many families choose to DIY the casket saddle with a few inexpensive things they might already have. These simple creations go a long way towards helping decorate the casket with flowers for the funeral service.
What is a Casket Saddle Used For?
A casket saddle helps display flowers at a funeral. Like a saddle, it rests on top of a casket and grips the top to create a secure space for the flowers to rest. While some choose to place a wreath or other flower arrangements on top of a casket at a funeral, a casket saddle ensures the flowers are secure and that they stay healthy for longer.
Casket saddles are placed directly on top of the casket. They have adjustable bases that fit snugly on top of the casket, similar to a saddle on the horse. They include a foam base that flower stems are inserted into, helping keep them watered and stable before, during, and after the service.
Where does one find a casket saddle?
There are a few different places to find casket saddles. The most obvious choice is from a florist. Any professional florist that frequently makes flower arrangements will have access to casket saddles. These florists usually arrange the flowers on your behalf, ensuring they look their absolute best. Purchasing a casket saddle through a florist is likely the most expensive choice, but it’s also one of the easiest.
Next, many flower retailers and craft stores sell their own casket saddles. These can be used in DIY projects if you’re open to arranging the flowers yourself. With casket prices being high on their own, many families look for ways to keep costs low.
You can also buy simple casket saddles online, like this one. More elaborate casket saddles, featuring foam blocks for holding the flowers in place within the saddle, are also available. We like this casket saddle kit, which comes in a large size for closed-casket funerals and a smaller size for open-casket funerals.
Finally, you can also create your own casket saddle. It’s as simple as arranging foam on some type of secure base. However, you’ll want to make sure everything is locked tightly to the casket to prevent any accidents during the service.
What types of funerals use casket saddles?
Casket saddles aren’t present at all funerals. For example, closed-casket vs. open-casket funerals often require different things. Because these typically rest on top of a closed casket, they’re sometimes not seen at open-casket funerals.
That being said, the casket saddle can be used on almost any flat surface. They might be placed on a table, cemetery plot, or other decoration.
Are casket saddles only used for funerals?
You’ve likely encountered casket saddles before outside of funerals. Though they’re best known for their role on top of the casket, they are also common at weddings and other events.
Casket saddles can also help prolong the life and freshness of the flowers, so they’re a natural choice for many different types of events.
Sometimes, people refer to them as a headstone saddle since they’re also used in cemeteries. For thicker, larger headstones, this type of saddle arrangement can be placed on top for special events and remembrance.
What happens to the casket saddle after the funeral?
Some people may make the mistake of assuming the casket saddle is buried with the casket. In reality, this isn’t the case. After the funeral, the family has a lot of options when it comes to what to do with this arrangement of funeral flowers.
The family can use it again at the graveside service, take it home, or donate it to the cemetery. Since it uses a special floral foam, it keeps the flowers fresh for a longer period of time than a typical arrangement. This makes a touching tribute and sympathy gift in the days after the loss.
6 Tips for Making a DIY Casket Saddle
If you choose to create your own DIY casket saddle, follow these tips below. Paying close attention to the structure and arrangement ensures it looks professional and lasts a long time.
You don’t have to use real flowers
Another common misconception about casket saddles is that they can only be made with real flowers. While you’ll want to use floral foam if you choose to use real flowers, you can use a more inexpensive type of foam if you opt for fake flowers.
Soak your foam base
If you’re using fresh flowers, soak the floral foam in water before you add the flowers. This helps supply the flowers with moisture for a period of time, ensuring they stay fresh and last much longer. If you’re using fake flowers, keep the foam dry.
If possible, soak the foam for several minutes. You can spray the flowers and the base with water on an ongoing basis to keep them fresh after you’ve added the flowers.
Create a dome or pyramid shape
The most striking casket saddles resemble a dome in appearance. That means the flowers are inserted at almost a complete horizontal angle on the sides. As you move up the base, add them at an increasing vertical angle.
To fill in any remaining spaces, use greenery and other additions. You can also add a ribbon, bow, twine, or other materials to make sure it looks full and gorgeous.
Add rubber to the base
Because the last thing you want is to risk the casket saddle moving, add rubber to the base of the foam. Not only will this hold the moisture in and keep it from leaking onto the casket, but it makes the structure more stable.
If possible, create your base with the casket’s dimensions and shape in mind. This is another way to add extra stability.
Store your flowers at room temperature
When you’re storing your casket saddle either before or after the funeral, make sure they’re kept at room temperature. They should be away from heat, excessive light, and humidity.
One option is to keep them covered or secure in a large box. This ensures there is nothing crushing the petals or damaging them. Any excessive heat or pressure will affect the structure.
Use the floral foam quickly
If you’re thinking of getting the floral foam significantly in advance, this might not be a good idea. Floral foam is intended to be used within one to two weeks. While it can last up to 12 months if you store it in a dry place, once it’s been soaked with water, it needs to be used pretty quickly.
If you wait too long, it could damage the foam or the flowers. For the best results, always check with the instructions on your specific type of foam.
Alternatives to a Casket Saddle
If you don't want to purchase or create a casket saddle, you have other options to achieve the same or a similar effect. And if you just want to incorporate flowers into a funeral or memorial, there are even more alternatives available. Here are some options to consider:
- Traditional casket spray. You can purchase a pre-arranged casket spray from a florist, or order one from a service like 1-800-FLOWERS. A casket spray sits on the casket similar to a casket saddle, but it's fully arranged for you and can feature other touches, like ribbons.
- Casket pillow. Another option for sprucing up a casket is a casket pillow with floral touches.
- Casket cover. If you opt for a less elaborate casket, you could cover the casket with a casket cover. These are traditionally used for transporting caskets, but they can also be used as a decorative touch if you don't like the look of a casket and don't want an open-casket funeral.
- Floral urns. If you're not sure whether you want to choose cremation or burial in a casket, you may be interested in urn options. If you hold a memorial or funeral, you can display a unique floral urn amongst floral arrangements.
- Planting flowers. For another way to integrate flowers into a memorial or funeral service, you could plant flowers. If you're scattering the person's ashes or burying them, consider using flower seed paper to help return their remains to the earth in a beautiful way.
Understanding Funeral Flowers
There’s a lot to learn about funeral flowers that might not come to mind at first. Whether you’re planning a funeral or another event, a casket saddle is an effective way to keep fresh flowers looking their best without worrying about them falling over. For sprucing up a casket, flowers are always a welcome symbol of life.
If you’re making your own DIY casket saddle, pay close attention to these tips above. You want to make sure you’re creating something that lasts if it’s going to serve such an important purpose. Otherwise, use your casket saddle with confidence to share a beautiful flower arrangement without worry.