How to Buy a Corsage or Boutonniere for the Prom


Prom goers traditionally buy their dates flowers, with the boy springing for a girl's corsage and the girl paying for the boy's boutonniere. This tradition is changing, though, as some girls prefer to pick out their own flowers to match their dresses. Couples may go together to place the orders. Many florists make the wearable flower arrangements by pre-order only. To ensure you get the flowers, ribbon and accessories you want, order your prom flowers at least two weeks prior to the event.

Choosing Flowers

  • There aren't hard and fast rules about which flowers you can add to your corsage and boutonniere, but some work better than others. Both types of wearable flowers tend to take a beating over the course of the prom evening as the teens dance and group together for photos. Small flowers, such as spray roses and mini carnations, usually hold up well under the abuse, while large, delicate flowers such as orchids and lilies often break or bruise quickly. Large flowers typically cost more too.

Picking Colors

  • Flowers don't come in as many colors as prom dresses do, which means it's unlikely you can match flowers to the dress exactly. Instead, pick out a neutral flower, such as off-white, or a color that coordinates with your dress, such as pink flowers with a teal dress. Ribbons offer more variety, however, and you should be able to find a matching color. To be certain, bring a dress swatch or the dress itself into the flower shop to choose the best ribbon color. This can be complicated when the boy is buying the corsage without consulting the girl; in this case, pick a neutral ribbon such as an iridescent version that picks up colors from the dress. Many teen couples want their flowers to match and visit florists together to choose flowers, ensuring they have the same flowers and same ribbon on the corsage and boutonniere.

Deciding on Accessories

  • All it takes is flower and ribbon to make the wearable flower arrangements, but those aren't your only options. Most florists offer plain, stretchy bands for wrist corsages, but you can upgrade to a beaded band or one decorated with rhinestones, for example. Some have decorative silk leaves in different color choices as well as stems of beads that can be added to corsages and boutonnieres. These typically increase the price of the finished pieces.

Placing the Order

  • Many florists are inundated with prom orders in the spring, so order early and ask for a detailed receipt. The receipt should show the type of flowers you want, the ribbon number or have an attached ribbon swatch, and a list of accessories to be included. Confirm the date and time for pickup, making sure the pickup information appears on the receipt. Most people schedule pickups the evening before the prom or the morning of the event. If you prefer to pick up the flowers the day before, ask the florist for specific care instructions; typically, keep the flowers in their container in the refrigerator or another cool, dark location, and spritz them with water the morning of the prom.


  • Photo Credit Brian Chase/iStock/Getty Images
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