In late May, multiple sightings of teenagers dressed in tuxedos and gowns are a sure sign it’s prom season. I’ve seen them, have you? Along with their fancy outfits, many teens wear the traditional corsages and boutonnieres. These flowers are also a familiar sight on the lapels, wrists, and gowns of a wedding party. But, what if you’re allergic to flowers? The good news is you can still wear an attractive corsage or boutonniere for prom, a wedding, and other formal occasions.
A Little History on Corsages and Boutonnieres
In past centuries, the bodice of a woman’s gown was known as a corsage. A woman would wear flowers on her bodice to add color to her dress. As fashions changed, the word corsage came to mean any little gathering of flowers pinned to a woman’s dress. Today, many women prefer to wear a corsage on their wrist.
The boutonniere originated in France and is the counterpart to a woman’s corsage. In its early years, this small gathering of flowers or a single flower was worn on a man’s lapel to prevent evil spirits from ruining a happy occasion. It later became an everyday fashion trend worn by men known as dandies or snappy dressers. Think Cary Grant.
Ideas for Alternative Corsages
There are dozens of materials you can use to make an alternative corsage that’s colorful and complementary. One idea is a cute wrist corsage made with beads, silk flowers, silk leaves, and ribbon. Other attractive materials for your alternative corsage include hair bows, flamingo feathers, peacock feathers, rhinestones or a sparkly brooch. I like the idea of mixing sparkly jewels with flowy, colorful feathers. I think your corsage should say something about your personality. A long pearl necklace looped into bracelet form makes a great foundation for any alternative wrist corsage. Or, you can use a piece of thick ribbon as your base.
Another fun idea starts with a hot glue gun used to secure a large, silk hydrangea, silk rose or another favorite bloom to a long ribbon. Decorate the remainder of the ribbon with shiny buttons of all shapes and sizes. You can pin the loose ends of the ribbon together or tie it around your wrist. If you want to make a more playful prom corsage, glue pieces of candy, Legos or even pieces of popcorn to a thick strip of ribbon. If you prefer to wear it on the shoulder strap of your dress, you can run a small safety pin through the ribbon of the corsage.
Ideas for Alternative Boutonnieres
A paper rose boutonniere is an appealing alternative to real flowers for a prom goer or groomsman. You can use newspaper, pink butcher paper, wrapping paper or any other kind you like to make paper flowers. Non-allergenic succulents, such as jade plants or sedum mixed together with berries and leaves make for a memorable boutonniere.
Flowers That Won’t Make You Sneeze
If you decide that flowers are the only way to go for your corsage or boutonniere, then choose some that are non-allergenic. Some suggestions include begonias, non-allergenic sunflowers, daffodils, crocus, periwinkle, tulips, and roses. If you want to mix in some baby’s breath with your corsage or boutonniere flowers, choose double flower baby’s breath; it is known to have less pollen than the single flower variety.
Enjoy celebrating without sneezing with these corsage and boutonniere alternatives!