One of the steps of planning a funeral is to choose what type of funeral flowers you would like to have at the service.
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If you are crafty and particular about the flowers that will be displayed at your loved one’s funeral, you may consider designing and creating a funeral wreath.
Let us help! We’ll give you a list of items to purchase before you start the process and a step-by-step guide on how to make a funeral wreath.
Before you begin the process, you may consider what will happen to the funeral wreath after the service. This may determine whether you use fresh or artificial flowers.
Some people create keepsakes with the petals of fresh flowers. If you create a beautiful display from artificial flowers, you may be able to keep it for other family funerals.
Tip: If you're planning a virtual funeral using a service like GatheringUs, you might want to make your wreath visible to online guests. You can decorate the room where you're streaming with flowers, including your DIY wreath. Turn on your video as a test to see how your arrangements look on-screen.
What You’ll Need Before You Start Making a Wreath
Gather your materials before you begin the process of making a wreath. It’s always better to have too many materials instead of not enough. You should be able to return unused material and it’s frustrating having to make a run to the store while in the middle of the process.
Here are the materials you might need:
Wreaths at funerals come in many different shapes and sizes. You may consider purchasing a foam piece in the form of a cross or a heart instead of a wreath.
If you wish to cut costs, you could buy a wire wreath and add your own styrofoam. There’s special floral foam for real flowers.
This foam should be soaked in water ahead of time to make your display stay fresh longer. If you are using artificial flowers, you can simply use a styrofoam wreath.
If you are using real flowers, you’ll need heavy-duty scissors to trim the stems. You may consider using pruners if you are using plants with thick, woody stems.
If you are working with roses or flowers with an abundance of leaves, you may consider purchasing a stem stripper. This will speed up the process, but this tool is not necessary to complete the project.
If you are using artificial flowers for your project, consider purchasing a pair of easy-to-use wire cutters. Cutting through wire-stemmed artificial flowers takes a lot of hand strength if you don’t use the best equipment available.
If you are working with real flowers, wrapping the stems with floral tape will strengthen them. This will enable you to stick the stems into the styrofoam without bending or breaking the stem of the bloom.
You may consider placing a ribbon across the wreath, as is traditional in funeral arrangements. Sometimes the ribbons say, “RIP.” Others may name the relationship you had with the deceased, such as “Beloved Mother.” Use this article to help you decide what to write on a funeral wreath.
You may also want to use the ribbon to create a bow for the wreath.
Determine how and where the wreath will be displayed before creating it. Some people place the wreath on top of a closed casket. Others may place the wreath on a tripod stand next to the casket, urn, or photograph.
Floral wire is easy to maneuver and cut (with the proper equipment.) You may also need floral wire to create a hook on the back of the wreath if you wish to hang it for display.
Some sources say to add flower food to the water before you soak the wreath form. Others say to put fresh-cut stems in flowers treated with flower food before placing them on the wreath. Regardless of the way you do it, flower food will keep fresh flowers looking beautiful longer.
Of course, you’ll need flowers (and greenery) for your funeral wreath. You can use artificial or real flowers. Flower choice can be based on personal tastes and preferences, but you may want to work with flowers with hardy blooms and sturdy stems if you are new to flower arranging.
Some flowers last longer than others in arrangements. Chrysanthemums and roses (other than white) tend to be exceptionally hardy. You might also consider what flowers are in season if you are concerned about the cost of your arrangement.
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7 Steps for Making a Funeral Wreath
Once you gather your materials and have a design in mind, you can build your wreath.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for this project if you are new to floral arranging. Completing this project could be one way to honor your loved one. You won’t be able to reflect on his or her life if you feel rushed to complete it in time for the funeral.
1. Choose a basic design
Look online for design ideas for a funeral wreath. As we mentioned earlier, wreaths come in many different shapes, so that should be your first consideration.
Once you have chosen the shape, decide whether you will use the same flowers throughout or a mixture of several different flowers. Also, consider what greenery would compliment the design.
On a side note, you may need more flowers than you think to complete a project like this. If you plan to cover an 18-inch wreath with real roses (that are slightly opened), you may need 50 roses or more to cover the surface sufficiently.
2. Organize and prepare the flowers
Whether you work with real or artificial flowers, organize and prepare the flowers. Cut the stems. Organize the flowers so you can grab them quickly as you create the design.
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3. Place the flowers in the wreath
There’s a lot to placing flowers in a wreath.
If you are using artificial flowers, you may need to trim the stem with wire cutters to an appropriate length. Be careful not to cut the stem too close to the bud.
If you are using real flowers, you may need to first pierce the wrapped, water-soaked wreath with a knife before placing the stem in place. This will keep the stem from breaking or bending.
If you are new to designing floral arrangements, you may consider working from a photograph. This will help you arrange the flowers in a pleasing way so they don’t look as if you just “stuck them in” the wreath.
4. Add greenery to the arrangement
Some designers place the greenery at the base of the arrangement while others add the greenery after all the flowers have been added. Either way, greenery adds contrasting colors to an arrangement. It also can add interesting textures.
5. Add bow or ribbons to the arrangement
You can purchase pre-made bows or use ribbon to complete one yourself. Some choose to complete their arrangements without this adornment.
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6. Determine how the wreath will be displayed
If you plan to display the wreath on a tripod, make sure one is available at the funeral home or church. Consider how the wreath will be attached to the tripod.
7. Think about what you want to happen to the display after the service
Hopefully, before you began the process of designing the funeral wreath, you already had an idea of what you would do with the flowers after the service.
If the wreath is made with artificial flowers, you may consider keeping it or donating it to a nursing home, church, or a nonprofit group to be used for decoration.
If the display is made of real flowers, you may still donate it, or you may feel comforted knowing that you are leaving the arrangement you designed at the graveside of your loved one.
Other Ways to Personalize a Funeral
You may have wanted to complete the floral design because you wanted to personalize your loved one’s funeral. You can do other things to give special touches to your family member’s service.
You could create a playlist to listen to during the visitation or reception following the service. Each song could be chosen with care and could be based on the music that your loved one enjoyed.
You could also create a photo display or slideshow with pictures of your loved one in many stages of his or her life.
Finally, consider passing out something unique to the funeral attendees. Perhaps you would like others to remember your loved one with a package of forget-me-not seeds.
Maybe you could pass out bookmarks with a favorite Bible verse or quote. You might also pass out a bracelet that reminds people of the type of cancer your loved one suffered from or give people a small sapling they can plant in their backyard.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, you have more than just the details of the funeral to think about. Handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.