What is a Corsage?

Deborah Ng

A corsage is a single flower or several small flowers worn pinned onto clothing or on an elastic band around the wrist. The flowers are usually worn to indicate a special person on a special day, such as a groom on his wedding day or a girl going to her prom. The type and style of flowers can vary, depending on who's wearing it and what event he or she is attending.

At a wedding, the corsages often match the bride's bouquet.
At a wedding, the corsages often match the bride's bouquet.

Corsages that are worn pinned to the clothing are generally worn on the left side, just under the shoulder. The flower should be pinned with the stem down, the same way it would be planted in the ground. It should also be pinned at an angle away from the face so it doesn't rub against the cheek or the chin. If a woman is wearing a strapless dress or doesn't wish to wear a corsage up that high, it can also be pinned to the left side of the waist.

A high school girl may receive a wrist corsage on her prom night.
A high school girl may receive a wrist corsage on her prom night.

With a wrist corsage, the wearer doesn't have to worry about damaging the fabric of her dress with a heavy pin. By keeping the flowers on the wrist, it also ensures that they won't be the evening's focal point, since those worn too close to the face can be distracting for both the wearer and anyone who strikes up a conversation with her. A wrist corsage should be worn on the left wrist, so the woman who will be wearing one might want to limit the amount of jewelry that she wears on that hand.

Grooms may wear a boutonniere, or a male version of a corsage, on their wedding day.
Grooms may wear a boutonniere, or a male version of a corsage, on their wedding day.

Both men and women may wear a corsage to a prom, although they are more common for women. Only women wear wrist corsages, in most cases. The flower or flowers are traditionally purchased by a young woman's date, who is informed of her dress color ahead of time. It's important to know what she is wearing in order to get an arrangement of flowers that matches. Most prom-goers today prefer to wear a flower or two around the wrist, though there are still some who wear them pinned just underneath the left shoulder. Although less common, a young woman may also buy her male prom date a corsage, which is usually just a single flower, perhaps with baby's breath or a few leaves to set off the bloom.

At a wedding, women who have a special relationship to the bride and groom also wear a corsage. In most cases, the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom wear one, though sometimes a special aunt, sibling, or cousin can also receive one. The groom and groomsmen often also wear flowers on their lapels, often matching a flower in the bride's bouquet. The flowers than men wear are often called boutonnieres.

Guests of honor at parties or showers can also wear a corsage, as can those who are making their First Holy Communion or Bat Mitzvah. Wearing flowers on a special occasion is a time-honored tradition that can help a person special and make the occasion even more significant.

A corsage may be worn for a religious ceremony like a first communion.
A corsage may be worn for a religious ceremony like a first communion.

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Discussion Comments


Maybe I am old fashioned, but I still love wearing a corsage on my dress. There have been many times when my kids have given me a corsage for a special occasion and I love wearing it as long as I can.

Many of the corsages I have received have been made with roses. Not only do I feel special but I love getting a whiff of the fresh flowers.

When I am not wearing it, I will store it in the refrigerator so I can get as much life out of it as possible.


It always scares me to try and pin a corsage on someone. Once I got stuck when someone was trying to pin a corsage on me, and it bleed through on my dress.

Ever since then I have gone with a wrist corsage. You still have the benefit of a beautiful corsage without the hassle of pinning it on something.


I was in a wedding where all the attendants were given a floral corsage to wear that matched their dress.

While this is common practice, one of the attendants ended up being allergic to something in the corsage. She kept sneezing during the ceremony. Her eyes were watering and her nose kept running.

I felt so bad for her standing up there and not being able to do anything about it. If she had a wrist corsage, she might not have had any trouble like she did with the flowers being so close to her face.


It has been many years since I went to prom, and back then not many florists had the option of a wrist corsage.

While I love fresh flowers, I never liked wearing a corsage pinned to my dress. It always felt like it was too heavy, and if it wasn't pinned right, it would flop over.

They never last very long either, and sometimes by the end of the night, the corsage looked pretty wilted. I guess this is something that is just supposed to last for a few hours for one occasion, but I can definitely see how a wrist corsage would be more practical.


My friend made her own silk wrist corsage, and she wears it often as a bracelet. You don't see many people just walking around wearing corsages on a daily basis, but my friend is a bit eccentric.

She got a silk carnation and cut the stem about an inch beneath the flower. She wrapped dark green ribbon around the stem to make it softer against her skin. Then, she hot-glued it to a regular bracelet.

She made a bowtie out of more ribbon and hot-glued it on top of the wrapped stem. It looks really professional, and I think it's cool that she wears it whenever she feels like it. Who says that corsages have to be reserved for special occasions?


I had my maid of honor at my wedding wear a rose wrist corsage. She was dressed the same as the other bridesmaids, but I wanted her to have something to set her apart as special.

My wedding colors were yellow and green, so I had the corsage made of yellow roses. The florist included a few green leaves and scattered a few clusters of tiny pale cream flowers in, too.

I wore the same flowers in my hair. So, my maid of honor and I shared floral decorations.


@tugboats – I totally agree with you. I was lucky enough to have a choice between a prom wrist corsage and a shoulder corsage, because my considerate date had bought both because he didn't know which I would like more.

I decided to try on both of them. The shoulder corsage was really uncomfortable. The back of the pin rubbed against my skin, and part of the stem came in contact with my chest because of the design of my dress.

I loved the wrist corsage, though. The elastic in the wristband kept the flower upright all night, and I didn't have to worry about it slipping around.


My friend had a cool baby shower corsage. It fit in with the theme of the shower, and it wasn't just a giant flower with a stem.

Her college roommate had made the corsage out of baby's breath and giant safety pins. The safety pins were pastel blue and plastic, and they were to hold the cluster of small flowers together instead of to pin the corsage to her shirt.

A pin that gigantic would have left a sizable hole in her shirt. Her roommate had put some peel-away adhesive on the back to hold it in place.


Flower corsages can also be worn at many other special events, and they are far more diverse than your stereotypical orchid corsage worn at a prom. Corsages were worn at many of my college's special events, such as concerts, graduation ceremonies, and other special events for graduating seniors. They were also worn at times by students of honor at events dealing with academic recognition, for students of all classes.


Wrist corsages are definitely better, because who wants an ugly pin hole in their beautiful dress? Also, that cuts down on the chance that the man will accidentally stab his date in the chest! A wrist corsage also looks very elegant.

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