As a Charleston wedding florist, I tend to spend a lot of time planning crops and designing vase arrangements with the celebration of marriage in mind, but I often get asked if I do funeral work. My gut reaction is “No….” and then I pause because I DO, in fact, create designs for funerals and as gifts to the families of people who have lost loved ones. So why is my gut reaction to say I don’t do this work?
Admit it: when you think funeral flowers, you envision something very specific. I see lilies, gladiolas, lots of inexpensive greenery, and my least favorite of all flowers, liatris. Funeral flowers have a very specific look, and it’s one that, aesthetically and professionally, I tend to avoid. But give me the challenge of of finding a way to personally represent someone’s beloved former English teacher in a unique way, and I’ll be rummaging through my bookshelves for a couple stacks of antique books. I’ve created something feminine, joyous, and decidedly un-funeral-like to celebrate the short, well-lived life of a woman stolen by breast cancer. I use feathers for hunters and wheat for growers. In short, I use what inspiration dictates, and the end result is not anything that looks typical.
I take the task of memorializing someone’s loved ones seriously. I feel a duty and connectedness to them that is unique to funeral work and find myself constantly hoping I’m doing them all justice. In the end, I want it clear that we are celebrating their life more than mourning their loss.