Corsages are worn for weddings, proms, formal events, Mother’s Day, holidays, semi-formal occasions, memorials, graduations and any significant occasion. They identify people in a group, show a person’s convictions, honour someone and complement the attire as a fashion accessory. Corsages are made with any type of flowers, ribbons and ferns. They can be creative, elegant and fun. Whatever the event, the corsage adds a special touch.
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Table of Contents
- 1 History
- 2 The corsage can easily be made
- 3 Types
- 4 Significance
- 5 Function
- 6 Considerations
- 7 A corsage can be worn to many different formal occasions
- 8 Who buys the corsage and boutonniere for a wedding?
- 9 How do I choose a corsage?
- 10 What are the best corsage colours for prom?
- 11 Do the corsage and boutonniere have to match?
- 12 How do I pin a corsage?
- 13 When do I need to order my corsage?
- 14 Corsage Flowers & Meanings
- 15 A corsage can be an excellent way to honour someone
According to GardenGuides.com, the bodice of a woman’s dress used to be called a corsage. Some of the first corsages as we know them today were worn on this part of a women’s clothing, and the French referred to the blossoms as a “bouquet de corsage.” That’s where the modern term for these small bouquets of flowers came from.
People have been wearing flowers for many centuries. In fact, the source reports that the ancient Greeks used to wear flowers at wedding ceremonies because they believed that the scent would ward off evil spirits. The bride and the other women at the event would all carry bouquets or attach flowers to their clothing.
Corsages moved up from the bodice of a woman’s dress toward the shoulder. They were usually pinned on upside down, with the bow at the top, and were much larger than most corsages we see today.
The tradition of giving a girl a corsage at prom originated in the 20th century. Escorts would pick up their dates and present her parents with a gift, like flowers. Then he would take a blossom from the arrangement and pin it on her dress. Now that dress styles are changing and strapless, and spaghetti straps are more prominent, corsages are now usually worn on the wrist.
Centuries ago, the corsage referred to the bodice of a woman’s dress where a small bouquet of flowers adorned the centre. Today, a corsage is a small bouquet of flowers that can be worn anywhere on the body. As the style of the corsage changed, the significance of it became even more important. In ancient times, the Greeks believed that a corsage could ward off evil spirits. Today, a corsage is worn to signify importance and honour. Whether for honour, warding off evil spirits or simply dressing up an outfit, a corsage never seems to go out of style.
The style of the corsage has changed over the centuries. The first version of the corsage was worn in the centre of the bodice. Over time, women began wearing corsages on the left side of their chest, near the heart. During the early 1900s, corsages were worn higher up near the shoulder. Today, you can still find shoulder corsages, but they are smaller than those of the 1900s. As dress styles changed, so did the corsage. Corsages are now made to wear on the wrist, neck, ankle and even in the hair.
The corsage can easily be made
A corsage can easily be made. First, select the type of flowers you would like to use. Many people prefer to use real flowers over the fake ones because of the fresh scent. However, fake flowers will last longer than real flowers. Roses and carnations are the most popular flowers used, but you can choose whatever flower you think is appropriate for the occasion. Baby’s breath or leaves are a great addition to any corsage. Bundle together all of the items you want to include into the bouquet. Next, wrap floral wire around the stems to create a cluster. Wrap floral tape around the wire and stems to keep arrangement together.
A decorative ribbon, lace or even pearls can be added for a more elegant touch. Use a long, flat pin to attach the corsage to your outfit. Some pins come with a decorative bulb on end. For a wrist corsage, an elastic band or ribbon is added around the bottom to hold the bouquet tightly in place.
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Today, people wear corsages most anywhere on the body. There is the traditional corsage, usually worn on the left shoulder, and the wrist corsage, usually worn on the left arm. There is also the waist corsage, ankle corsage or the hairpiece corsage. Whatever type of corsage a woman wears, it usually matches her clothing just as shoes, jewellery or a pocketbook match the outfit.
In weddings, the corsage identifies members or family of the wedding party. The mothers’ and grandmothers’ corsages are usually different from corsages at the wedding party. The magnolia is a popular corsage for the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. At graduations, faculty members wear corsages to identify themselves. The corsages are usually symbolic of the class theme or motto. The Mother’s Day corsage is usually an orchid, which represents love, beauty and strength are given to the mother to express respect.
Corsages are worn to honour people, such as recipients of awards, or for other special occasions. At a baby shower, the mother-to-be is honoured with a corsage that is usually pink or blue for the baby’s gender or both if the gender is not known. Groups often wear corsages to symbolise patriotism, a memorial, awareness or their convictions to a cause. The flowers chosen are often symbolic to the cause as well as the ribbons used to decorate the corsage.
The corsage is a remembrance of the occasion. Some are made of silk, which keeps easily. Even fresh flower corsages are dried. The corsage is designed not only to match attire but also to match the personality of the wearer. Giving a corsage tells the recipient she is important. Take the time to find out what a person’s favourite flower is, what she is wearing, and how you want to honour her.
A corsage can be worn to many different formal occasions
A corsage can be worn to many different formal occasions. The earliest corsages were worn at Greek weddings. It was believed that the fragrance from the flowers could ward off evil spirits. Now, it is customary for the mother and grandmother of the bride and groom to wear a corsage for the wedding. This is typically done now as a means to identify an important person. The second most popular occasion for a corsage is a formal dance, such as a prom. For a formal dance, the escort usually buys the lady a corsage. When choosing a corsage, it is best to pick neutral colours to coordinate with her outfit or ask in advance what colour she is wearing. The escort may also want to ask if the lady would prefer a shoulder corsage or a wrist corsage. If your date is wearing a strapless dress, a wrist corsage would be more comfortable to wear.
Learn more from our post on Why does a bride carry a bouquet?
Who buys the corsage and boutonniere for a wedding?
Traditionally the groom’s family buys the bridal bouquet, corsages, and boutonnieres. Corsages usually go to mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom. Boutonnieres are won by the groom, groomsmen, fathers and grandfathers. Other members of the wedding like the ring bearer or ushers may also receive boutonnieres.
How do I choose a corsage?
Ideally, the corsage should match the colour of your prom attire or wedding colours, so it doesn’t clash.
For prom, you’ll want to find out in advance what your date is wearing, so you can match the bloom colour and ribbon to her dress. You should also ask if her dress is strapless since it will determine which type of corsage you buy. Corsages can be pinned to sleeves or straps, but a wrist corsage is a better option for a strapless dress.
If you forget to ask what she’s wearing or aren’t sure what colour will match, white is a good neutral colour choice.
What are the best corsage colours for prom?
Bright and bold colours mixed with a variety of textures and unique details make a statement, like this corsage made with orchids and ranunculuses or this charming pink rose corsage. You also can’t go wrong with a traditional look featuring a romantic red or classic white.
Do the corsage and boutonniere have to match?
Not necessarily, but flowers that are colour coordinated offer a more harmonious and put-together look that will pop in photos.
How do I pin a corsage?
If your date would like to wear her corsage on her dress, here’s how you can pin it with ease.
Hold the corsage in place and catch the fabric with the pin on the left side of the flower. Then guide the pin over the stem or through the ribbon wrapping on the stem at a slight upward angle. Finally, catch the fabric on the right side of the flower to hold the corsage in place and end with the point of the pin hidden under the flower. If necessary, use two pins in an X formation.
When do I need to order my corsage?
Since you want them to stay fresh, it’s a good idea to have your corsage and boutonniere delivered one or two days before your event. You can refrigerate them if it’s less than 24 hours. If you waited until the last minute, same-day delivery by an FTD florist is available in most areas.
Years ago, the word corsage referred to the bodice part of a dress. Back then, flowers were worn on this part of the dress as a kind of accessory. Even in Ancient Greece, flowers were worn at weddings as their way of keeping evil spirits away. It was in the 16th and 17th centuries that corsages and boutonnieres were considered a part of daily life and seen as a means of keeping disease and harmful spirits away.
In the early 19th century, corsages became a very important part of dating etiquette. They were presented as the gentleman arrived to take his date to a formal dance. In fact, he would arrive with a fresh bouquet to give to his date’s parents, and one of the flowers from this bunch was presented to his date. The flower was then pinned to her dress. In the 1950s, corsages took a different appearance in the form of fresh fruit. They were often used to decorate hats. Eventually, pin on corsages became impractical due to dress styles. This is how wrist corsages came to be.
Corsages of today are considerably smaller than those of years ago, and they are also more elegant. Some popular flowers used in corsages include roses, lilies, orchids, and even gardenias. They are often paired with some smaller flowers and a touch of greenery. They are worn at all happy formal events like dances and weddings.
At weddings, corsages are usually worn by the mother of the bride, the mother of the groom, and any other special guests if the bride and groom choose. Boutonnieres are worn by the groom, the father of the bride, father of the groom, and his groomsmen. The boutonnieres and corsages are supposed to match for occasions like weddings, and they should have something in common with the bride’s bouquet and her bridesmaids’ bouquets.
Corsage Flowers & Meanings
A gift of flowers will brighten someone’s day no matter what blossom you choose. Did you know, however, that certain flowers symbolise certain qualities or concepts? Of course, not everyone pays attention to the meaning of flower species, but it is enriching to know. For special occasions such as weddings or formal parties, women often wear wrist or pin-on corsages with a miniature floral arrangement. When ordering a corsage, consider the traditional meaning of the flower species, you choose to convey your intended meaning.
Orchids are similar in shape to daffodils, though more exotic-looking with several shades of colour on the same blossom and several sprays on the same stem. An orchid can stand for rare, delicate beauty and nobility or for bearing many children, due to the roots’ resemblance to a testicle.
These large blossoms have hundreds of small petals and grow singly, as roses do, rather than in a bunch like alstroemeria or baby’s breath. Carnations are one of the most widely recognised flower types and are often used for corsages. The meaning of carnations varies with colour: red is equated with love; white with talent, and pink with boldness. Yellow carnations are said to represent disdain, so be careful if including this in a corsage.
Generally long-stemmed, single flowers with overlapping petals in a bowl-shaped bloom, the rose is used as a gift for myriad occasions and to convey many different sentiments. Roses are the ultimate symbol of love, passion and perfection. Different meanings are assigned to roses depending on the number and colour of the flowers given. Red roses symbolise love. White means innocence and purity. The two colours blended together mean unity. Pink roses stand for happiness. Yellow conveys jealousy or a loss of love.
Freesia, another plant frequently found in corsages, has trumpet-shaped flowers in a row along a stem with sword-shaped leaves. It is named after a German physician, Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese. This flower represents innocence and trust.
The chrysanthemum is a long-stemmed single bloom with many long petals. These flowers are popular in many shades, which generally represent wealth, abundance and optimism. When a red chrysanthemum is used in a corsage, it symbolises love. White stands for truth. Yellow represents slighted love.
When choosing your corsage, it’s important to take into account the colour of your dress. Matching the fabric to the bloom would be perfect, but neutral colours like white, peach or cream can go with a variety of hues.
Roses are one of the most popular choices for corsages, but many other flowers work, too. Depending on your budget, you could go with orchids, calla lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations or lilies. It’s all up to you!
A corsage can be an excellent way to honour someone
A corsage can be a nice way to honour someone. During an award ceremony, the recipients of an award may have on corsages to identify themselves as the honoree. A mother-to-be may wear a corsage to her baby shower. This bouquet is usually pink, blue or yellow to match the occasion. Many women wear a corsage on Mother’s Day to honour their mother, either living or deceased. It is customary to wear a red corsage if your mom is living, and a white or yellow corsage if your mom has passed away. The carnations and roses are the most popular choices for this occasion.
Used by many women over the centuries, the corsage is one item that never seems to go away. Whether it is because of the way it has evolved over the centuries or the significance of it, the corsage is still popular today. Being inexpensive and easy to make, women no longer wait for their escort to bring them a corsage. They can easily make one on their own. However, a woman still feels important when an escort brings her a corsage.