Corsage Etiquette For Proms and Weddings

Corsage Etiquette for Prom and Wedding

Many formal occasions such as proms, formal dances, graduations and weddings, call for the wearing of a corsage or boutonniere. Like most traditions, there are certain customs that go along with wearing a corsage. This can seem intimidating if it’s your first time purchasing a corsage, but don’t worry! We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions on corsage etiquette to help you choose the perfect corsage and present it to your date with confidence.

What wrist does the corsage go on?

It is customary to place the corsage on the left side of your date’s dress or on her left wrist. However, the placement of corsages and boutonnieres have changed along with fashion. Originally, corsages were pinned to the bodice of a dress, but later moved from a centered position to a shoulder strap. When spaghetti straps and strapless dresses gained popularity, corsages were moved to the wrist.

corsage etiquette

What is a corsage?

A corsage is a single flower or small flower arrangement that is worn as part of a woman’s outfit. Most commonly, it is secured to an elastic band and worn on the wrist. It can also be pinned to the strap of a dress or gown.

Corsages can be made with any flower or any color, but often feature carnations, roses and orchids.

Why is it called a corsage?

The term corsage is French in origin, from the 15th century Old French word cors meaning “body”. Later, it came to mean a woman’s bust or bodice, the part of her dress that covers the bust.

Flowers pinned to the bodice of a dress were referred to as the bouquet de corsage. Boutonniere is another French word that translates to “little buttonhole,” referring to the placement of a single flower on a suit jacket.

Corsage and boutonnierre

What is the difference between a corsage and a boutonniere?

Girls wear a corsage pinned to their dress or on their wrist; guys wear a boutonniere pinned to their jacket lapel.


Who buys the corsage and boutonniere for prom?

Traditionally, the male brings his date a corsage when he picks her up for prom or a homecoming dance, and the female brings the boutonniere. Of course, females can buy their own corsages, too. Or friends can purchase corsages or boutonnieres for each other if they’re going in a group. Style savvy couples can even coordinate their corsage and boutonniere selections together online.


putting on a corsage

Who buys the corsage and boutonniere for a wedding?

Traditionally the groom’s family buys the bridal bouquet, corsages, and boutonnieres. Corsages usually go to mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. Boutonnieres are won by the groom, groomsmen, fathers and grandfathers. Other members of the wedding like the ring bearer or ushers may also receive boutonnieres.


How do I choose a corsage?

Ideally, the corsage should match the color of your prom attire or wedding colors so it doesn’t clash.

For prom, you’ll want to find out in advance what your date is wearing, so you can match the bloom color and ribbon to her dress. You should also ask if her dress is strapless since it will determine which type of corsage you buy. Corsages can be pinned to sleeves or straps, but a wrist corsage is a better option for a strapless dress.

If you forget to ask what she’s wearing or aren’t sure what color will match, white is a good neutral color choice.

History of the corsage

What are the best corsage colors for prom?

Bright and bold colors mixed with a variety of textures and unique details make a statement, like a corsage made with orchids and ranunculuses or a charming pink rose corsage. You also can’t go wrong with a traditional look featuring a romantic red or classic white.

Do the corsage and boutonniere have to match?

Not necessarily, but flowers that are color-coordinated offer a more harmonious and put-together look that will pop in photos.

corsage and boutonniere etiquette

How do I pin a corsage?

If your date would like to wear her corsage on her dress, here’s how you can pin it with ease.

Hold the corsage in place and catch the fabric with the pin on the left side of the flower. Then guide the pin over the stem or through the ribbon wrapping on the stem at a slight upward angle. Finally, catch the fabric on the right side of the flower to hold the corsage in place and end with the point of the pin hidden under the flower. If necessary, use two pins in an X formation.

When do I need to order my corsage?

Since you want them to stay fresh, it’s a good idea to have your corsage and boutonniere delivered one or two days before your event. You can refrigerate them if it’s less than 24 hours. If you waited until the last minute, same-day delivery by an FTD florist is available in most areas.


Ordering a corsage

History of the corsage

During the Victorian era, both men and women wore herbs and flowers to formal events in order to ward off evil spirits. Women would wear a small arrangement of sweet-scented flowers on their bodice and men would wear flowers in their buttonholes.

Gentlemen admirers would also send women small bouquets of flowers to wear to a formal event. This is a tradition that has endured through the years and is the reason why prom-goers today present their dates with a corsage.

From sophisticated to playful, you can find the perfect corsage to compliment your style or attire. Details like breathtaking blooms will make you stand out from the crowd and add to the magic of your special night.

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