Friday, August 28, 2009

Funeral Flowers and Funeral Tributes

Common Questions & Advice

As florists, we work closely with families making funeral plans, friends and associates sending sympathy expressions, and funeral homes holding services. Flowers are an integral part of the funeral process. In fact, sympathy flowers have been part of funeral and memorial traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. Fo those less familiar with the funeral flowers and sympathy etiquette, questions often arise. Here are some of the most common, along with sound advice from the Society of American Florists and expert designers.

Is there a 'right' or 'wrong' type of arrangement to send as a sympathy gift? There are a variety of appropriate options in sympathy flowers. Traditional sympathy arrangements, including triangular or fan-shaped designs, easel sprays, and baskets, are still among the most popular in many areas. These often include carnations, chrysanthemums, glads, and lilies or roses, but may also include any other favorite flowers. Most florists are also happy to create floral tributes with more stylish designs and themes. Mixed flower arrangements which look "just-picked-from-the-garden," elegant vased bouquets of European flowers, and dramatic groupings of a single flower type are just some of the ore contemporary choices. Baskets of green and flowering plants are also popular as a gift that's convenient for the family to take home or give to a local hospital or charity. There is no right or wrong approach. The choice is you. The best advice is to select something you think the family will appreciate.

Do some flower arrangements look to 'cheery' for a funeral?
Absolutely not. A funeral service is a way to honor someones life, and bright, colorful flowers are a meaningful part of that tribute. In addition to adding beauty to an otherwise somber occasion, flowers provide comforting diversion -- something to talk about or look at -- during the visitation. Of course, other color schemes are popular, too. Soft pinks, purples, and other pastels are appropriate for a feminine touch, while autumn tones have a more masculine theme. White, for peace, and red, for undying love, are also very popular at funerals and contrast well when combined.

Sometimes I see a charity mentioned 'in lieu of flowers' in the death notice. Is it still appropriate to send flowers? Because flowers help you say what is often difficult to express, they are always appropriate and in good taste. many people want to express sympathy ans show respect for the deceased in a variety of ways, including charitable contributions, food donations, a helping hand, or cards and flowers. Flowers also play a functional role, adding warmth to the service and providing the visible, emotional support that the bereaved need during a difficult time. Funeral directors agree that most people do not want a service completely devoid of flowers.

What can I do to make my arrangement special from the rest? To make your floral tribute particularly special, ask your florist to create an arrangement that fits the deceased's personality, for example, a rustic basket of wildflowers to honor someone who loved the outdoors. You could also include his or her favorite flowers of colors, or a flower that had a significance in your relationship with that person. Whatever you do, the family is sure to notice and appreciate it.

I am part of a group. What are some suggestions? When groups, including grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors, business associates, and clubs go in together on flowers, the arrangements can be very special and make a larger showing. Such pieces can include standing sprays and wreaths. When sending flowers as a group, include a contact name and address on the card so the family knows whom to thank.

What is appropriate to send for a cremation? A tastefully done floral tribute adds beauty to any type of service, whether it's a traditional burial or a cremation. Because cremation is increasingly common in some areas, many florists will have specific suggestions. Families may choose a piece designed for display with the urn, or and arrangement that can be enjoyed in the home after the service.

I found out about a death after the funeral was over. What can I do? A floral arrangement received at the home after the activity surrounding the funeral can be a comforting, welcome reminder that friends haven't forgotten. In fact, research shows that bereaved family and friends appreciate being thought of in the weeks or months after the funeral. A personal not or 'we are thinking of you' message with the flowers would be especially nice. Any support you can offer will let the family know you care.

How do I know what to ask for with my florist?
Your florist is the expert, so you don't have to be. He or she will be happy to guide you. Still, here are some terms commonly used by florists, which may be helpful in your discussion.

Wreath - A floral presentation often used because the circle symbolizes eternal life.

Spray - Flowers designed for viewing from one side only. Sprays are often placed on an easel stand.

Floral Arrangement
- An assortment of fresh flowers in a vase, basket or other container.

Casket Spray - Flowers designed for the top of the casket, usually ordered by the family.

Inside Piece - A general term to describe small floral designs placed inside the casket such as satin hearts, nosegays, or small sprays.

Sympathy & Floral Tributes

History and Importance of Sympathy Flowers

The arrangement and placement of flowers around the dead is humankind's oldest tribute, the oldest for of moralization, the oldest act of mourning. This ancient activity was well documented by Dr. Ralph Solecki in his famous excavation of the Shandiar Cave in Northern Iraq.

Solecki discovered, in 1951, several burial sites in the Shandiar Cave. Eventually his discovery would place the subject of human burial into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest form of religious activity.

During his dig, Solecki submitted soil samples from the graves for pollen analysis to Ariette Lerio-Gourhan, a paleobotanist from Paris. Leori-Gourhan found pollen and flower fragments from at least eight different species of wild flowers. She declared the burials had occurred around 62,000 B.C. and that neither birds nor animals could have been responsible for the placement of the flowers. Therefor, she concluded that someone 62,000 years ago, had roamed the mountainside in the mournful task of collecting flowers for the funeral tribute.

Floral Symbols

Throughout history, flowers have been used to symbolize every aspect of the life cycle, from birth through death. For example, the fragility of life is symbolized by the flowers. To grow and expand, flowers require the proper conditions. The same is true for human beings. In death, flowers are used to symbolize how beauty of creation is temporary; as surely as the flower must be cut from the stem, so it is with human life.

Flowers also have a particular aesthetic value in the face of death, for the beauty of the flower helps balance our emotional responses to the perceived ugliness of death. Flowers help soften the raw imagery death leaves with survivors.

Finally, the colors of the flowers have a specific symbolism, particularly in the religious thought. For example, purple is the symbol of patience and royalty, whit is the symbol of joyous celebration and shining light, and green symbolizes nature and the freshness of growth.

Contemporary Role of Flowers

Today, flowers are sent to funerals for a number of reasons. First, they are a means of expression. It is often difficult for those mourning the death to put feelings into words. Flowers area a visual expression of love, sympathy and respect. They are a means of sharing the burden of grief, and they represent the community supported for the bereaved.

Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty, which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. Following the service, the bereaved are left with an indelible impression, or "memory picture" of the funeral. The more comforting the memory picture, the more easily it is recalled by the bereaved and the more vivid is the reinforcement of the reality of loss. Flowers do not wither and die in the mind of the bereaved; they are recalled time and again as indelible memories. Conversely, those who have attended services where there were no flowers, have expressed the feeling that something was missing, that the funeral was depressing.

Flowers also have a spiritual significance. They are symbolic not only of love and sympathy, but also eternity and immortality. The fleeting life of flowers attests to the transitory life of man. There is profound symbolism in the very fact that flowers do not last forever.

Finally, flowers are not only for the living. They are also for the dead. Americans traditionally have expressed their respect for the deceased by sending flowers, which honors the dead and console the living.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Voted Best Florist Tampa

We are very honored to announce that we were just given the word today that we were voted Best Florist 2009 South/Central Tampa. I want to say I am very flattered and honored to have been voted Best Florist this year. It's been quite a year and a half since we opened our store at 3627 W. Kennedy Blvd. I just want to thank everyone who voted for us. It's quite an honor and I look forward to continuing to be your favorite florist in Tampa.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!

Scott Darhower
Apple Blossoms Floral Designs & Gifts
3627 W. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33609

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Finding a Tampa Wedding Florist

>>To pinpoint a potential florist, gathering referrals from trusted sources, like wedding vendors and recently married friends.

>>Make initial appointments with the florists six to nine months in advance, depending on the size of your wedding and the complexity of your desired decor. ( Plan on interviewing your top three referrals. )

>>Before your meeting, know your budget and the ceremony and the reception locations, and have a basic idea of what you want ( colors, types of flowers, number of arrangements ). If possible, bring photos of flowers you like - and be able to talk about flowers you don't.

>>Once you pick a florist, ask for a proposal that describes each arrangement's cost, size, and container.

>>Consider the deal sealed when you pput daow a deposit and you both sign a contract that covers everything from the delivery details to the cancellation and refund policies.