A Guide to Prom Flowers, Corsages, and Boutonnieres
Prom is that magical day high school girls have fantasized about since the beginning of freshman year. Much like a wedding day, prom is all about the girl and making her look perfect from her hair and makeup, down to her beautiful gown. It is no surprise that the boys dread the task of picking out the perfect corsage to add that special touch to the perfect day. Fear no more with this helpful guide on how to pick the perfect prom flowers!
What is a Prom Corsage and Boutonniere?
A corsage and boutonniere are small flower arrangements exchanged among dates for dances. A corsage is centuries old, and actually is derived from the French phrase, “bouquet de corsage,” which means, “bouquet of the bodice.” In the past, it was believed that flowers and herbs warded off evil spirits. Because of such an ancient superstition, corsages were worn to weddings as part of a tradition of fostering good luck. The modern corsage used today originated in the 20th century when young men would bring a bouquet of flowers for the family of the lady as a thank you for letting him take her on a date. The man would usually choose one flower from the bouquet and pin it on his date’s dress. A corsage is what the male presents the female, and is usually more detailed with added lace, beads, pins, or ribbons. Today it is most often worn on the left wrist as to not ruin the dress with pins, but it can be pinned on the left shoulder as well. The men wear a simple boutonniere on the left shoulder or lapel. The most common flower used in prom arrangements is the carnation because it comes naturally in a variety of colors and is easily dyed other colors. Sweetheart roses are also customary. Other typical flowers in prom bouquets are orchids, alstroemereia lilies, calla lilies, freesia, and baby’s breath.
How to Match the Prom Corsage to the Dress
In keeping with tradition, most couples try to match the corsage, and in turn, the boutonniere, to the female’s dress. There are several ways to go about matching the flower arrangement to the dress. In the most obvious way, you can match the actual color of the flower to the color of the dress. If the dress is a light violet, a soft purple corsage would be the perfect choice. For a red dress, a corsage made of red roses would be the ideal choice. Florists today do not let nature limit their color options. Most florists can dye flowers a whole range of colors by watering naturally white flowers with dyed water.
However, it is not always feasible to match the flowers perfectly to the dress. Another option would be to go for the classic white corsage. When in doubt, white goes with any dress and any style. Another option would be to match the embellishments of the corsage to the dress. Many corsages have extra details within them such as ribbon or detailed pins and beads. A third option for the guys looking for romantic bonus points: match the corsage to your date’s eyes and when you present it to her, tell her that you chose the color to complement her beautiful eyes.
A challenge for the men is when the dress is more than one color. One path to take would be to match the flower to one of the colors in the dress and then use the embellishments to match to the other colors. For instance, if the dress is mostly yellow with pink details, go with a yellow flower with pink colored ribbon or accessories. You can even reverse the colors and go with pink flowers with yellow details- either works! Another path is to use several different color flowers in the arrangement. You can either go for the same type of flower but different colors, or different types of flowers altogether. The more flowers used, the more interesting the arrangement will be. However, you want to be careful not to make the corsage too busy because it could approach tacky. On the other hand, if your date likes simple things, definitely going for a single flower arrangement with baby’s breath as a white accent would be the route to go.
Remember, you don’t always have to match your arrangement to the dress. This is the 21st century, and today’s couples are adding their unique twist on tradition. It is perfectly acceptable to have either a darker or lighter shade of the dress as the color for the flowers. Additionally, you can move away from matching altogether and chose the girl’s favorite color or a wild accent to the dress. For reds and pinks, yellow and purple are great accents. For blues and greens, pinks and purples are the perfect choice. One parting advice to the guys: if you still are nervous about picking out a corsage, check with your date! Trust me, girls will always enjoy having a say!
How to Match the Prom Boutonniere with the Corsage
Girls, matching the boutonniere is a little simpler. You can go about this one of three ways: match the flower to your date’s tie, cummerbund, or vest; match the arrangement to your dress; or pick out the boutonniere and corsage together with your date to get a complementing pair. Keep in mind that most men are not into flair, so stay away from the feminine embellishments that are in corsages. Simple is best when dealing with boutonnieres. Don’t go for too many colors, and generally one flower is standard. And remember, when in doubt- white is a classic color for both boutonnieres and corsages!
Parting Prom Flower Advice
Don’t wait to the last minute to order your prom corsage or boutonniere! And remember to pick up the flower the day of prom and keep it refrigerated until it is time to give to your date- that way the flower will fresh and beautiful! Have a wonderful time during this special day!