Boutonnieres and corsages are staples at proms, weddings, and graduations. But outside of those events, they aren’t frequent florals in today’s society, at least not compared to traditional bouquets. For this reason, there can be a lot of questions surrounding them. Questions like, where should I buy? How should I put it on? Why do we wear them at all?
We’ll walk you through the answers to all of these questions (and more!) From which side of the jacket to pin a boutonniere to how to buy a corsage and where to store it, we’ve got you covered.
When it comes to school dances, girls usually spend a lot of time getting together the perfect outfit together. Her dress, jewelry, shoes, makeup, and hairdo were probably picked out well in advance of the big night. Imagine showing up to see your date looks stunning only to hand her a limp, half-dead corsage that doesn’t match her dress or style. If you want to impress your date, and her family, knowing how to pick a corsage is an easy way to do it.
Maybe you’re thinking, a corsage is just a flower, it’s so unimportant. I really want to impress my date. I want to wow her with something big because I really like her. If that’s the case, you should start by thinking about the small details. Romance is in the details, after all! Think about the things your date likes, think about her personality and try to pick a corsage to march. It’s an inexpensive and special way to tell her you care. So where to start? Start with the easy part–picking out the corsage colors.
Corsages: What, Where, When, and Why
A corsage is a miniature bouquet of flowers worn around the wrist for a formal occasion. Traditionally, a corsage is given to a woman by a date and should coordinate with her attire.
The word “corsage” is French and originally referred to the bodice of a dress, where the flowers were once pinned. In ancient times, flowers were worn to special events to ward off evil spirits.
Eventually, as fewer people worried about evil spirits ruining their prom night, the tradition slowly evolved to a gentleman showing respect to his date’s parents by offering a bouquet of flowers and then pinning a flower from the bouquet to the date’s dress. In this sense, corsages symbolize respect and attachment. While corsages were originally attached to the bodice of a dress – or a shoulder strap – since spaghetti straps and strapless dresses have come into fashion, they have transitioned to the wrist.
While traditionally the male buys the corsage and the woman buys the boutonniere, it doesn’t really matter: you could buy yourself ten boutonnieres to pin all over your dress if you were so inclined.
How to Buy a Corsage
Most people think of corsages as carnation– or rose-based, with some type of “filler” like baby’s breath or greenery. However, nowadays there are lots of options. A unique newer take on the corsage is a succulent-based wrist piece, or a sheet music corsage that integrates your hobby into your floral arrangement. For weddings, you could even swap out sheet music with love letters between the bride and groom.
You should plan to have your corsage delivered one or two days before the event, as you can refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before the event. If you’ve waited until last minute (and who hasn’t), many florists offer same- day delivery.
How to Put on a Corsage
It’s customary to wear the corsage on the left side of the dress or the left wrist, as it is also customary to place the boutonniere on the left jacket lapel.
Breaking it Down: Boutonnieres
Worn frequently in the past, boutonnieres (like corsages) are now mostly reserved for special occasions, so knowing how to buy a boutonniere isn’t exactly common sense. Still, they are a common addition to formal attire, and standard fare at proms, homecomings, and weddings.
The word “boutonniere” itself is a French word that means “little buttonhole,” and refers to the placement of a single flower on a suit jacket. On the battlefields of England, each side wore a particular type and color of flower to distinguish friends from enemies. In the 19th century, fashions began to include coats folded over at the top, revealing the inside of the buttonhole, perfect to slip a little flower inside.
How to Buy a Boutonniere
A boutonniere should be delivered 1-2 days before the event and can be refrigerated up to 24 hours prior. You can find one at any florist shop, online, or you can custom make them with your own favorite blooms! An important thing to remember is to ask your florist to keep the stem for the bloom on the longish side to make it easy to pin on. A floral pin should be included, but if not, any hobby or craft supplies store (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s Fabrics) will carry them. They are thicker and more ornate than regular pins, so don’t settle for a safety pin!
How to Wear a Boutonniere
The boutonniere, like the corsage, is worn on the left jacket lapel. It is typically no larger than a golf ball and tends to be formal white if it does not match a date’s attire. At weddings, the groom typically has a different boutonniere than his groomsmen, one that matches or complements his bride’s bouquet.
When you’re busy trying to figure out how you’re even getting to prom, or what your gluten-free options will be at your wedding reception, you don’t need to be stressing over how to buy a corsage or boutonniere. That’s why Bouqs makes wedding flowers that much simpler!
Colors for Corsages and Boutonnieres
Ultra Violet Queen
It was Pantone’s 2018 color of the year, after all! Maybe your date is always trendy. Maybe her Instagram is flawless. Or maybe you think she’ll look divine and regal in violet. If you want to give your corsage meaning, an ultraviolet corsage is sure to send a really good sentiment. Purple flowers are symbolic of royalty, dignity, and success. If you want to treat your date like the queen she is, ultraviolet is a good corsage color to go with.
Coral and Mint Green Dreams
With these complementary colors, your date will look like she’s stepped straight out of your dreams! If your date is your fantasy lady, she’ll look great in this corsage color. All that’s missing from a coral and mint green color scheme are some seashells, and your date will be serving straight-up mermaid vibes. If your date is passionate and full of life, these corsage colors will complement her perfectly.
Neutral Light Nature Lover
Maybe you are thinking more traditionally. Knowing how to pick a corsage usually means just matching her dress, right? If she gets her outfit together and then the corsage doesn’t match, then what’s the point? If you want your date’s dress to match the corsage colors you choose, then neutral lights paired with beautiful green leaves, like magnolia leaves, are a great choice. These leaves will stand out while your flowers will complement whatever look your date is going for. Your date’s corsage will perfectly match her dress, and she’ll look like a Greek goddess all the while.
Succulents are natural and trendy. Maybe your date is a plant lover or a tree-hugger. Maybe you want your date’s corsage to stand out. Surely everyone at the school dance will be wearing flowers around their wrists. If your date shows up with succulents, her corsage will be the most uniquely beautiful thing there, other than your date of course. Bonus points if your date loves mother nature and wants to keep the corsage for longer than just a night, the succulents can be replanted after the dance and enjoyed for years to come!
Pink-it’s a classic color for a rose. Pink flowers symbolize love and happiness and are great if you’re trying to romance the princess (or prince) in your life. If your date is a classic Audrey Hepburn type, she’s sure to love wearing pink roses around her wrist. Bright pinks and pastel pinks complement each other when bunched together and will have your date looking beautiful for the big dance.
When you’re busy trying to figure out how you’re getting to prom in the first place, you don’t need to be stressing over how to buy a corsage or boutonniere. We hope this guide helps, and for bonus points with her parents, why not pick up a gorgeous Bouq for her mom? Everybody loves flowers, and her parents might just be so impressed they’ll move her curfew back an hour. It’s worth a shot, right?Shop All