How to decorate a willow coffin with flowers
We often get asked how to decorate one of our natural coffins.
Wicker, willow, bamboo, and any woven coffins lend themselves well towards lovely flower decorations.
More so than traditional wooden coffins. This is because greenery and flowers can be attached to the sides through the weave of the coffin.
There is usually an arrangement chosen for the top of the coffin. This might be a single or double-ended spray (these will be made in florists oasis and plastic trays). If you want a more environmentally friendly arrangement you might want a loosely tied spray as they use less materials (no oasis or plastic tray). Also a tied spray can be taken home afterwards and put in. vase.
For a woven coffin there are a couple of additional options:
- A garland of greenery all the way around the coffin.
- Small posies around the coffin
Some people prefer one or the other. Some like both a garland and posies. A florist can make these up for you and attach them or they are quite easy to do yourself. Flowers and foliage can be bought from the florist or picked from your garden. They can also be foraged on walks but please check how to forage responsibly.
This about which angles the coffin is likely to be seen from. For instance if the service is in a crematorium it will usually mainly be viewed from the head end. The top photo on this page shows a great example of a flower arrangement for the head end of a coffin. For a burial with a graveside service the coffin will be seen from different angles and what is on top is particularly important.
For a garland you’ll need 16-22ft (depending on the length of the coffin). This can be made in shorter sections. Make the garland by tying together lengths of greenery like ivy, laurel, eucalyptus, magnolia, lambs ear and pussy willow.
Tie the lengths together with garden twine or florists wire. I think it looks best in a straight line mid way up the coffin (see picture). But some people prefer a swag style (undulating). The lengths can be attached to the coffin by making question mark shaped bits of florists wire.
Hook them through the weave of the coffin and then attach your garland. Just twist the wire once until you’ve done the whole coffin in case you change your mind about where you want it.
When it’s all on give the wire a few more twists and trim. Bear in mind where the handles are and how they’ll be used.
If you would like posies you’ll need 10-16 depending on how big the coffin is. I usually put them mid way up the coffin in a straight line. In terms of size I make them so that there is still willow above and below the posie to ‘frame’ it. When making the posies choose something fairly resilient. For instance freesias or bluebells will wilt quickly.
Roses and greenery work well. Posies should be made up before hand. When wrapping florist’s wire around the middle of the posy leave long lengths of wire that can be threaded through the weave of the wicker coffin.
If you attached the posies and they look like they might move (or spin) secure them with a second bit of wire. It’s nice to have a posy either end of the willow coffin as it will often be viewed from that angle.
Wooden or cardboard hearts can also be a lovely addition to a coffin. Messages can be written on them.
Bows can be nice on a coffin too. Made with either calico or ribbon (seen below)
Whether you hire a florist or decorate the wicker coffin yourself I’m sure you’ll find that it will look lovely. If you have any questions you’re very welcome to e-mail me at the address below.
Have a look at creative and natural flowers for funerals that we like on