Boutonniere and corsage differences, guides & ideas

Boutonniere and corsage differences, guides & ideas

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If you have a formal event coming up, or a special occasion such as a wedding, prom or graduation, chances are you’re wondering about corsages and boutonnieres. Namely, what are they, where do you find them, is there a difference, and do you really need one?

Fear not. This easy guide will answer any questions you might have about corsages and boutonnieres – like, ‘do guys need to wear boutonnieres to prom?’ – and even give you some inspiration for the perfect prom flowers for girls and sublime wedding ideas for both groom and bridal parties. Let’s get stuck in.

What is a corsage?

First things first, what even is a boutonniere or corsage?

A corsage – coming from ‘cors’, the Old French word for ‘body’ – is a small flower accessory traditionally worn by women for formal occasions. Corsages can be worn on multiple parts of the body, typically pinned to the dress or worn on the wrist as a wristlet. It is always worn on the left-hand side of the body.

A corsage is mainly composed of a single flower but occasionally several flowers are added alongside greenery and other decorations.

Are corsages real flowers?

Traditionally corsages were made from real flowers however there are also fake or artificial alternatives. Some of these alternative corsages can even cost more than real flower options!

The benefit of fake arrangements is that they will last not only the day, evening, and night, they can last for years to come. Some of these corsages – particularly silk options – can be truly extravagant and a treat for anyone feeling indulgent.

What is a boutonniere?

A boutonniere on the other hand, is essentially the male equivalent of a corsage. Also stemming from French – ‘boutonniere’ means ‘little buttonhole’ – this accessory is a single flower decoration worn on the lapel of a suit jacket.

Similar to corsages, boutonnieres are traditionally worn to special occasions such as weddings and proms and are always worn directly above the heart on the left-hand lapel.

Boutonnieres consist of a single flower, a bud, or several small flowers arranged with some greenery. More adventurous boutonnieres now discard flowers altogether, favoring arrangements made from twigs, herbs or other plants.

Boutonnieres are also known as buttonholes.

What’s the difference between a boutonniere and corsage?

So, is there a boutonniere and corsage difference? The only difference between the two is that one is traditionally worn by women on their wrist or left chest (the corsage) and one is worn by men on their suit’s left lapel (the boutonniere).

There is one other subtle, stylistic difference. While women’s corsages can often contain a myriad of flowers and additional accessories, a man’s boutonniere is often far simpler, featuring only a single bud or flower.

Interestingly, both corsages and boutonnieres were used to ward off evil spirits, bad smells, and diseases in the 1700s.

When do you wear boutonnieres and corsages?

Now that we know what these different floral accessories are – when can we wear them? There are several different occasions when it is appropriate – and sometimes almost mandatory! – to wear a corsage or boutonniere.

The most common occasions when you will find boutonnieres and decorative posies though are weddings. Prom boutonnieres and corsages are also popular accessories for graduating occasions.

Are corsages and boutonnieres supposed to match?

It isn’t necessary to have matching corsages and boutonnieres however, they should complement each other. Similar styles, color schemes, and flower usage are simple ways to create a unified and coordinated look that equally distinguishes each accessory in its own way.

In terms of whether a boutonniere or posy should match an outfit, aim for color-coordination where possible. Color-coordinating flowers to match a prom or bridesmaid’s dress color can often achieve a harmonious and elegant look so be sure to find out in advance what a date or bridal party is wearing before choosing your boutonniere and flower arrangements.

If you don’t know what color to choose, a simple white is always best – 1800Flowers has some beautiful options to select from.

Who buys the boutonniere and corsage?

For prom or homecoming dates, it is tradition for the male to bring his female date a corsage when he comes to collect her. She, on the other hand, will reciprocate by giving him his boutonniere.

In more modern times, however, it’s common for women to buy their own corsages or for groups of friends to purchase them for each other if attending in a group.

Corsage and boutonniere ideas

When choosing what kind of corsage or boutonniere to gift a date or wear yourself to an important occasion, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, the kind of flower you use in your arrangement is critical, as you need something that is not only eye-catching but that will be able to withstand the day – and night!

For this reason, roses, carnations, orchids, daisies, roses, ranunculuses and poms are common flowers used in these arrangements. As more resilient blooms, these flowers are proven to stand the test of any event.

It’s also important to consider the color of your chosen flowers, not only so they complement your dress or your date’s outfit but also so their message is aligned with the occasion. Let’s not forget, every flower color has a symbolic meaning!

Remember that red-colored flowers typically mean romantic love or passion, while pinks or yellows are good options for platonic friendship and loyalty. White is often synonymous with purity, and eternal love.

Finally, get creative with your arrangement and boutonniere remember that the devil is in the detail. Add ribbon, berries, leaves, twigs, flowers of different shapes, or rhinestones for a showstopping corsage or boutonniere that is unique to you. They sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity!

Or just leave it to the experts. Save yourself the hassle and energy of searching endlessly for the perfect corsage or boutonniere and head straight to these amazing flower delivery services that have an arrangement for every taste and occasion. Just check out SendFlowers, FromYouFlowers or 1800Flowers for beautiful corsages that will please every date!


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