What is a corsage?

A corsage is a flower, or a small bouquet of flowers (known as a nosegay) that are worn around a female’s wrist or on the strap of her dress, depending on the style of dress and personal preference. Corsages are customary to wear to proms and formal events.

Where do corsages come from?

Back in the “old days” in England, it was customary for a man to court a woman by asking her parent’s permission to spend time with her under strict chaperoning. Normally, the male would

wrist corsagesCredit: StretchyBill

 bring flowers and gifts for the parents. When there was a formal event, or a “promenade”, the man would take one flower out of the bouquet and attach the flower to his date’s dress, marking the beginning of the prom corsage. The corsage became much more customary to wear to formal events in the mid 1900s. Florists and stores caught onto this trend and started selling prom corsages hereafter


How do I choose a corsage?

It is custom tradition for the male to buy the female a corsage to wear on her dress for prom. However, in this day and age, many females choose to purchase their own corsages to wear (after all, who knows how to better coordinate with their dress than the female herself?). Having the guy purchase and give the corsage can be romantic and fun though. Here is how you can best choose a corsage that fits your/your date’s dress:

Choose a dress first. How can you get a corsage if you don’t choose your dress first? It makes much more sense to purchase the corsage based on how your dress looks and the color of the dress rather than the other way around.


Brainstorm about your corsage. Don’t get into specifics or too much detail here, but think generally about what kind of corsage you think would look best. Corsages can come in the form of pin-ons or wrapped around the wrist. Of course, pin-on corsages don’t work well when the dress is strapless, in which it’s better to get a wrist corsage. However, if your dress is not strapless then it comes down to personal preference on this one. I have noticed overall that it is more popular for people to choose wrist corsages over pin-on corsages.

Also, think of what kind of flower you think looks nicest. The most popular type of flower are roses since they are generally seen as romantic and classic. This again is personal preference. Also, consider what color flower(s) would look best on the dress. It looks best when the flowers are matching with the dress color. Or, if you like, you can pick a white flower to go with the dress since it will generally go along with any color.

corsageCredit: Mary R. Vogt

As you may know, on the corsage are secondary, smaller flowers or other small decorations to complement the main flower such as ribbons, but you can worry about these other details later when you consult the florist.


Do your research. Before you start heading out to malls to look for flower shops, look around directories or online to check out flower shops nearby. See if they have a website where you can check what kind of styles and flowers they have in order to get a feel for whether or not you like the florist’s work. You can also ask family and friends who you know have purchased flowers recently for recommendations. Keep in mind the prices to make sure you go to a place that has the best value for what you are buying. If you don’t see the exact corsage you had in mind, don’t worry! You can consult the florist about your preferences when you get there.


When you speak with the florist, ask him or her about recommendations of what your corsage should look like and tell the florist what style is the dress. This information will help the florist to create a corsage that is the most suitable for your situation. Keep in mind that the more decorations and flowers that are put into the corsage, the higher the price. It’s a good idea to look at a few different designs first before deciding on one.Visit the florist to consult about the corsage. The next step is to talk to a floral specialist and tell him or her what you want. It is extremely important that you do this step at least one week before prom. Otherwise, the florist will likely be swamped with work and may not be able to help you or get your order finished on time since this is one of the busiest times of the year.

If you find a corsage that you like, the next step is to place an order with the florist with whom you arrange to pick up the corsage from on the day of your prom. Again, price varies depending on the corsage, generally between $25 and $50. 


Pick up the corsage. So there is actually a step between ordering and picking up: the waiting stage. I don’t have much advice for this painful process, but just to finish off the year with a strong ending academically and socially. Also, you can do a countdown! As arranged with your florist, pick up your corsage on the day of the event and place the corsage in the fridge to keep the flower(s) fresh until the time of the event.


Have fun! A corsage can make a really nice finishing touch to the rest of the outfit by emphasizing the color of the prom dress. Also, corsages are a great way to show off your individuality and add freshness to your look. Corsages, even if you find them a little pricey, are something that can add that special touch. The $20-$50 you spend on corsage, coupled with an amazing prom dress, can really help you look like a million dollars. After all, the corsage may only last the night, but the memories last forever.