A quick search, on a leading name florist website, soon shows you just how expensive a floral tribute is. A basic wreath is £50 and a mixed casket spray is £230.
Families often ask me if I think they should have flowers, and what happens to them afterwards. My role is to support and advise and flowers aren't really under my remit, but I am happy to chat this through with the family, as I feel flowers are an important part of the service for many.
The "what happens to them afterwards" is an easier question to answer. Firstly you can leave them at the Crematorium. They are left outside, and will be removed depending on that crematorium's policy (usually a week). In the hot sun we have experienced this year they have barely lasted a day or two as they don't get watered. Secondly you can take them home or thirdly ask your funeral director to take them to a local hospice or home. (If this is your choice then I would suggest having a small spray, or posy, that doesn't look like it has adorned a coffin).
I do discuss with my families the expense they will incur if they have large tributes (and lots of them), partly because funerals these days are not cheap, and can stretch a family to financial breaking point.
I rarely see flowers in a basket, and yet in my view this would be an easy way to display them on the coffin, and then take them home and enjoy them afterwards.
Some families choose to add flowers at the end of the service, often single roses. I have known families who have picked flowers from their gardens, and have had these incorporated into the floral tribute.
Whilst flowers are seen as a visual expression of our love, sympathy and respect you could consider other items that would serve the purpose just as well. Why not have a jar full of written memories, a photo album, or a pot plant?
Whilst we thrive on tradition it is also good sometimes to think outside the box, and if that saves some money, which could be given to the charity your loved one supported instead, then maybe we should all start to explore different options.
My Dad was from Lancashire and insisted throughout his life that he would only have red roses on his coffin. My Mum chose a dozen from her (the only floral tribute). I, however, had always wound my Dad up and told him that I would place a white rose on his coffin.
Yes, I did do it. I gave the tribute and then ended by saying "Whenever we talked about your final wishes I always wound you up by promising you that I would add a white rose of Yorkshire, we always had a laugh about it. So here it is Dad, my final act of naughtiness as your favourite daughter." For us it felt fitting (and I was his only daughter so favourite by default)!
What is more important for me than anything else, is that all my clients do what is right for them, and for their loved one.