Flowers at a funeral bring joy and solace to the bereaved. I suggest that there should beeither on the altar or near to it on a large pedestal; also that there should be one large vase or pedestal arrangement near the coffin, and that this is probably enough. There is no reason why the colours should be sombre, but most families prefer white or pale flowers. Nowadays many families ask that instead of wreaths there should be cut flowers made up into sheaves. These, if they can all be placed together somewhere inside the church or in the porch, make a splash of colour which the mourners see as they enter the building. After the service they can be sent to old people’s homes and hospitals. It is wise to arrange beforehand for some member of the family to remove the cards from the flowers before they are taken away.
Many memorial services are held several weeks after a cremation and take the form of a thanksgiving for the life of the person concerned. The family often wish the service to be a joyous occasion, especially if it is for someone who has reached old age after a full and happy life. In such a case the family, particularly if they are flower lovers or keen gardeners, may like to have lots of flowers in the church, and often their friends are prepared to help to decorate it as a tribute to the departed.
Many people like to arrange flowers in a church in memory of a relation or friend. In the case of someone lost in war, the flowers may be placed in front of the War Memorial. In other cases there may be a suitable ledge under a plaque or a memorial window. In such a case the flowers are a personal tribute, not intended to be seen at a distance as part of the general decoration of the building. This being so, it is entirely a matter of personal choice what flowers are used. As was described earlier, there is a custom in some churches of asking members of the congregation at Christmas and at Easter to donate a lily in memory of some loved person; this is a charming way of building up a good pool of flowers for those festivals.