Five Tips For Selecting the Perfect Prom Corsage & Boutonniere

Prom season is upon us. Mark your calendar. Grab your tickets. Gas up the limo. Schedule the hair stylist. Find the perfect shoes. Call in dinner reservations. Make sure you have a date.

And don’t forget the corsage and boutonniere.

Prom has become a massive part of American culture — a rite of passage, almost. There are so many things to consider and plan for: shopping for that one-of-a-kind dress, tux fitting, saving up for the limo, making dinner reservations, telling all of your friends where to meet. It’s so exciting, and yet hectic, it’s easy to forget about one of the most traditional and classic parts: your corsage and boutonniere.

Make no mistake; those two little flower arrangements you wear to prom have been around a whole lot longer than prom itself. The Ancient Greeks used to wear them to ward off evil spirits. As it relates to prom, the tradition began when men picked up their dates for the evening. Each man would have a bouquet they would present their date with, then take a blossom from the bouquet and pin it to her dress around the bodice or on the shoulder. As dress styles have shifted in the past years, moving toward strapless and spaghetti straps, the corsages are now more commonly worn on the wrist.

For those who are first-time prom attendees, corsages might be a little confusing. What color do you go with? How much should you pay? Who pays for it? And when should you get it?

Here are some tips from the florist experts themselves:

What do corsages cost? And who pays?

Generally, corsages can run more than $25. The price increases if the corsage requires customization and add-ons. The rule of thumb for purchasing a corsage is to expect to pay 10 percent of the dress’s cost. It is traditional for the male date to purchase the corsage and the female date to purchase the boutonniere. That being said, the female typically still picks out the corsage and boutonniere designs to ensure they match each other and your outfits.

What color or type of corsage should I get?

Nowadays, modern corsages come in an amazing variety of styles. The color of your corsage should match the color of the dress or contrast the outfit. Rather it should enhance the outfit. That being said, choosing the color is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your corsage. The first thing to do is select how you will wear the corsage (read further down for traditional styles for corsage-wear), is to pick out the pin or ribbon. At Tipton & Hurst, we have a whole wall dedicated to ribbons and bracelets in dozens of different styles, from silver chains that wrap around your wrist to gold bracelets encrusted with jewels. The variety is almost limitless. Once you have the flower and pin/bracelet/ribbon chosen, you can also add on accessories, such as small sprays, jewels, feathers, bows and so much more. While corsages may have been simplistic in the past, it’s definitely now in style to go flashy and big. No matter what your style, whether you’re into Great Gatsby classic or big purple everything, Tipton & Hurst can help you find the design perfect for you.

When should I start shopping? When should I pick up the corsage?

As mentioned before it’s important to have your dressed picked out before you decide on your corsage, since the flower arrangement will be complimenting the dress. It’s good to start shopping early, but don’t worry about going months early. It’s best to order your corsage at least a week before your prom night. Especially if you have a customized corsage, you’ll want to give the florist plenty of time to make it. As for picking up the corsage, this will occur the day of prom since it a live flower arrangement and you want it to be fresh.

Do I have to wear it on my wrist?

With today’s fashions, it’s most common to see corsages worn on the wrist. However, it’s not your only option. They can be worn in a variety of ways; it depends on what looks best with your dress. The most traditional way to wear a corsage is actually on the bodice of your dress close to your shoulder, but you’ll only want this if your dress has sleeves. There are also corsages that you can pin to your hair. However, this depends on the style of your hair. If you do wear a hair corsage, be sure to let your hairstylist know before he or she starts to style your hair. Another option is a clutch corsage. This is for those who don’t want to wear flowers, but still want to be in on the tradition. There are corsages you can pin to your clutch or purse. It’s definitely different, but still adds a touch of panache. If you do decide to not go with a wrist corsage, you can still add accessories and extra flair regardless of where you place it. Tipton & Hurst has several gorgeous pins that are noticeable and make a great statement.

What about the boutonniere?

Boutonnieres are similar to the corsage in color and style and are worn by the male date. While the color and flower of the boutonniere matches the corsage, the boutonniere is much more simple and usually only has one flower. They are pinned to his jacket’s left lapel just above the heart with the stem facing down and flower facing up. They should be ordered and picked up at the same time as the corsage.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your florist about your corsage. Be sure to come by Tipton & Hurst this prom season to visit our corsage bar, where you can hands-on design your own unique corsage and boutonniere.

Check out Chris Norwood’s TV appearances to learn more about the latest trends for Prom this year.