“How have these trends/changes affected or changed sales of flowers?”

We have moved to personalized, user-friendly arrangements often with keepsakes. Battery-operated
candles are a big hit. I use golf tees to secure them in place, and I surround them with beautiful flowers. I also often include a ceramic bird that conveys the message that life goes on.
Mary Mannes, Mannes Floral; Freeman, S.D.

The biggest change we’ve seen, is a large increase in cremation services. Customers want beautiful floral tributes to surround the urns, so we’ve created a wide range of options. The biggest challenge we face is a decreasing numbers of orders, largely because funeral homes have direct links for ordering flowers on their websites.
Theresa Colucci, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, Meadowscent; Gardiner, N.Y.

Our sympathy business is down 30 percent for the year, and we have partnered with seven funeral homes who sell for us or refer us. Consumers have pared down what they buy: We get orders for casket pieces but few for matching easels or urns, and instead of three $300 pieces, people will order one $400 piece. We encourage incorporating personal items into casket sprays so that each is individually designed for the deceased. And although people still send flowers, plants have become the most popular items to send.
Debbie Purdue, English Gardens West;  Bloomfield, Mich.

The funeral home in our area is a large corporation that, over the years, has eaten up many small independent businesses. They bundle flowers into their funeral service contracts and put the work out for bid. Because of that, we’ve seen a huge drop in funeral work over the past decade. The biggest trends are celebrations of life, the flowers for which look more like event work, with centerpieces and décor; fewer and less formal church ceremonies; and personalization of floral designs.
Oriana Hammerstrom, Woodinville Florist; Woodinville, Wash.

The biggest changes are the increased numbers of cremations and simple celebrations of life at homes, churches, clubhouses, etc. More and more, we are introducing keepsake pieces like angels, wind chimes and crystal crosses. We are also getting more requests for personal items to be added into the sympathy designs. Social media is a must to promote your sympathy offerings today, as are reviews and testimonials.
Andie Muller, AIFD, FSMD The Flower Studio; Altamonte Springs, Fla.

The most significant change is funeral homes providing their own flower options via links on their websites that take customers to their “stores,” which are really florists with whom they contract. These links make it easy to order flowers for anyone browsing for obituaries or info on services, and that has greatly reduced the number of extended family members and friends seeking other florists for pieces to send to services or immediate family.
Reonna Martinez, The Flower Patch; Indio, Calif.

We are seeing more celebrations of life, which enable families to get together at times and locations convenient for all to honor and remember their loved ones. Celebrations of life are happier and more joyful events than funerals, with thoughtfully chosen locations, photos and videos, and such, and some people are more willing to spend on beautiful flowers and plants for these types of events.
Laura Smith, Garden Greenhouse & Nursery Flower Shop; Clermont, N.J.

The biggest change is more cremations, and with that, more requests for “garden-style” trays and urn displays, live plant groupings that can be kept with the urn if it’s going to a home, and personal statements that reflect the deceased’s interests and personality. My clients like the idea of designs that will give them joy after the ceremony.
Suzanne M. Smith, Suzanne M.Smith Designs; Temecula, Calif.

There are more cremations and celebrations of life, so we are doing a lot more urn saddles and wreaths. We are also doing more garland displays with flowers and personalized floral designs. We’re happy to accommodate clients’ wishes, to create something special and unique for each. We recently did a casket spray with cooking utensils, fruit and vegetables for the casket piece of a gentleman was a chef, and the family was so happy that we could create something that conveyed that. Offering this kind of personalized service is what we must
do in order to continue attracting more sympathy flower business.
Darlene Nelson, DLN, Floral Creations; Naperville, Ill.

We are getting more requests for personalized tributes that highlight the passions and hobbies of the deceased. We have also seen more requests for “nonfuneral-looking” designs, as celebrations of life have overtaken traditional funeral services.
Cassie Osterloth, Wonderland Floral Art & Gift Loft; St. Petersburg, Fla.