For centuries flowers have been used as a means of communication. In the Victorian Era there was a whole language of flowers. People often gave each other "talking bouquets", so they could gift coded messages without saying things that often weren't allowed in Victorian Society. In addition to that, flowers were often set to surround the recently deceased, as they lay in their death bed for wakes.
When I first started RUE, I decided I wanted to do funeral flowers. Not only funeral flowers, but flowers for any kind of ceremony in recognition for one's recent passing, be it a wake, memorial, or sympathy arrangement for the home. All over social media, my industry pays so much attention to wedding, event, and editorial flowers, but not that much on funeral flowers. I often don't see the service offered on florist websites or shops here in Portland, Oregon. Why is that? Does it have to do with how uncomfortable it is to talk about passing? Death is one of the most important events in life next to birth. Both, I believe, should be recognized with ceremony. Every year one has a birthday celebration, and only once does one have a passing ceremony. And, as Claude Monet wrote, "I must have flowers, always, and always".
So, I thought it was important to provide the service of sympathy and mourning flowers. Because even with weddings and gifting flowers, they should be full of intention. Perusing around online, when I googled, "funeral flowers", often they're 1-800 type arrangements. Just mono-cropped stems, jammed into vases. I built RUE on the idea that everything must be intentional. It is with intention that we bring significance into the mundane, recognize things to their full potential, and fully explore ourselves and what surrounds us. Intention is sustainable, complex, and rich. Arrangements should not only be a pretty face, but tell a story. As I wrote on my sympathy and mourning page, What kind of person was your loved one? What was one of their favorite places in nature to visit? What kind of flowers or foliage did they enjoy? And, What colors or scents remind you of them? All things one can consider when making arrangements for a funeral or wake.
Flowers can be used to tell a story, as well as celebrate, a life lived.