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Corsages and Boutonnieres – Who Wears What

Corsages and boutonnieres make great statement pieces for a wedding or for a dance. They add a personal touch. Traditionally the corsage is worn by a woman and a boutonniere is worn by a man.

What are boutonnieres and corsages

They are a form of floral jewelry that is worn to a wedding or some special occasions. Boutonnieres and corsage have been worn since the 1700s but especially in the Victorian era. The sweet smell of the flowers was said to ward off evil spirits and illness.

Both corsage and boutonniere are French words. Corsage originally referred to the bodice of a dress and this is where traditionally the flowers were pinned to. Nowadays a wrist corsage is more common than one pinned to the dress. A boutonniere is a French word for buttonhole and that’s where it’s commonly pinned.

Corsages and boutonnieres are still popular at weddings and formal occasions today. They are also commonly worn at dances like prom night. The focal flowers in the flower corsages and boutonnieres often match the woman’s dress.

White and green wrist corsage on a hand

Who can wear a wedding corsage?

It is not just for the bride(s). A wedding corsage can be worn by any other wedding party members who identify as female. Traditionally the corsages are worn by the bridal party, the mother of the bride, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers of the bride.

It can is a piece that recognizes the most impactful people in the bride’s life, so the can also be worn by some guests or other VIP members at the wedding. If a cousin or friend is doing a reading, for example, she could be given a corsage too.

What wrist should a wedding corsage be on?

Usually, a corsage is worn on the left wrist. This is because most people are right-handed and it is not a set rule and you don’t have to pick the left side.

bridesmaid is putting flowers on another bridesmaid's wrist

Wedding wrist corsage

Though many wedding corsages are created to be pinned onto the dress, it’s most commonly worn on the wrist. A pin-on corsage has the potential to snag threads on clothing and change how a garment hangs when worn.

Wedding corsage ideas

If wearing and giving others a wedding corsage sounds great for your upcoming nuptials, here are 6 beautiful ideas you may wish to consider so you can find your perfect corsage. Some are fashion statements and some are more minimal.

  1. Oversize corsage – if wearing a corsage is acceptable, consider an oversize corsage that reaches from your shoulder to around bust level. This is a great floral statement piece! Smaller wrist corsages can be made for the other wedding members to match this oversize corsage.
  2. Corsage rings – If you don’t want to wear your corsage on your wrist, your florist can create a mini-ring corsage instead with a small flower arrangement.
  3. Textured corsage – use a variety of flora and fauna textures to add depth to your corsage. You can mix and match fresh and dried flowers, ribbon, lace, and even paper.
  4. Hanging corsage – a bit like a pomander, a hanging corsage has a ribbon or similar around your wrist, and a mini bouquet hanging from it featuring your favorite flowers. This is a great option for younger members of the wedding party like flower girls. The ribbon acts as a handle reducing the likelihood of dropped or lost flowers.
  5. Bracelet corsage – why not incorporate your bridesmaid gifts and corsage together? A bracelet makes the ideal ‘frame’ for a corsage to be built upon and the bracelet can be kept as a special memento, especially if it’s made over a cuff or bracelet.
  6. Headband corsage – A hand-crafted corsage headband makes a beautiful statement piece. 
headband corsage on beach bride

The flowers in a wedding corsage

The types of flowers used in your wedding corsage can match the colors of your wedding theme, or utilize the favorite wedding flowers of the bride or groom.

You could also embrace the natural flora of your venue and choose florals that are local to your wedding spot. The flower type can be a personal choice and a nice way to share something special with those at your wedding.

If you’re on a tight budget, the wedding corsages can be made with artificial flowers. This will also ensure that they last forever.

wrist corsage
Buy these wrist corsages

DIY corsage

Wedding corsages are more simple to make yourself than other wedding floral pieces. Making the corsages can be a fun activity for the bridal parties to make with the bride.

After the wedding, the corsages can be dried and kept as a memento of the special day.  

Who wears boutonnieres at a wedding?

Traditionally boutonnieres are given to every male in the wedding party. This includes the groom, the groomsmen, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers. It includes the ring bearers too, ushers, MCs, and any other VIP members in the wedding.

Though traditionally boutonnieres are worn by those who identify as male, they can be worn by anyone wearing a suit. The boutonnieres should be pinned onto the jackets before the ceremony so they can be worn with pride throughout the whole wedding day.

The groom(s) boutonniere is often a little bit different from the others. It could be a bit bigger or have a different statement flower. This isn’t a set rule though, it can also be the same as every other boutonniere at the wedding.

Boutonniere placement

Traditionally the boutonniere is pinned o the left lapel of the suit. Almost all suit lapels will have a buttonhole.

The boutonniere will be placed directly over this. See how to attach a boutonniere in this boutonniere tutorial.

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