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Florist Tips to Save Money on Your Prom or Homecoming Corsage

Kylyssa Shay worked as a florist for eighteen years and has created and taught an assortment of crafts to adults and children of all ages.

You can buy corsages on a budget without buying corsages that look cheap.

You can buy corsages on a budget without buying corsages that look cheap.

Save Money Without Looking Like a Cheapskate

Prom is an expensive affair—the tuxedo rental, the dinner, the dress, the shoes, the matching bag, not to mention the hair stylist, the photographer and the prom tickets themselves! Prom corsages only add to these expenses. But you can easily save money on your prom corsage without looking like a cheapskate.

In eighteen years as a professional florist I learned a thing or two about prom corsages. To someone outside the floral business, some of the factors that make them so expensive might not be obvious. So take a look below and you'll learn why they are so expensive and how you can avoid some of that expense and still get a beautiful prom corsage for you, your child, or your date.

Large orchid cluster corsage

Large orchid cluster corsage

Labor Is What Makes Them so Expensive

People have asked me if it is the roses, the ribbon, the elastic band or some kind of secret product florists spray the flowers with that make prom corsages so expensive. The answer is: none of the above.

The answer is the one thing people almost never consider when buying flowers—labor. Corsages are very labor intensive. Prom corsages, especially, the type worn on the wrist, can take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour to make.

The number one thing you can do to reduce the cost is to reduce the amount of florist labor involved. For the exceptionally brave or crafty, this can go as far as buying cut flowers and making the prom corsage themselves.

For those who are a little less bold, there are still things you can do to reduce the amount of labor the florist puts into it to reduce its cost.

Freesia prom corsage, photo by Kylyssa Shay

Freesia prom corsage, photo by Kylyssa Shay

Wrist Corsages Are More Labor-Intensive

Wrist corsages take longer to make than the pin-on type and usually have a much higher starting price. By choosing a pin-on prom corsage you can reduce your costs. However, that doesn't mean that the it can't be worn on the wrist, it just means you aren't paying for a wristlet and the extra labor involved in attaching the flowers to it.

So don't order one, tie one on instead!

A pin on corsage can be attached to the wrist in several ways. Choose a ribbon that coordinates with the prom dress and tie it through the corsage leaving enough ribbon on either side to tie it securely around a wrist. Leave short or long tails when you tie it on or you can tie a bow just as you tie your shoes. Don't tie the ribbon too tightly.

This is definitely a two person job. This technique for attaching a prom corsage also has the advantage of making it look less tacky than the ones made with the mass produced elastic bands most florists use.

A prom corsage can also be attached to the wrist with a bracelet. Any relatively close-fitting bracelet that has a clasp will work. Slide the bracelet through the center of the corsage, using the bracelet to hold it against the wrist. Then fasten the clasp.

The third option for attaching a pin-on prom corsage to the wrist is to buy the elastic wristlet from the florist separately. To attach it to the wristlet, bend the four prongs around the back of the corsage and pinch them tightly.

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Tie a pin-on corsage to the bracelet below for a cheaper option.

A clutch bouquet of gerbera daisies, photo by Justyna Furmanczyk

A clutch bouquet of gerbera daisies, photo by Justyna Furmanczyk

Clutch Bouquets or Tussy-Mussies Can Be Less Expensive

Little clutch bouquets have also become quite popular for proms and other formal dances and may have a lower starting price than prom corsages.

To save even more, you can make a clutch bouquet yourself. Select several nice blooms and hold them so their heads are clustered together, then tie them under the blooms with a ribbon. Tie the bundle of stems again about six to eight inches down and cut the stems off just below it.

Wait until the last minute to make that final cut, keeping the flowers in water until then.

Single red rose, photo by Josee Holland, SXC

Single red rose, photo by Josee Holland, SXC

Want to Save Money on Your Prom Corsage? Skip It

It is just as elegant to carry a single open flower as it is to wear a prom corsage. Believe it or not, many grocery store flowers are up to florist quality these days. They often use the same suppliers, so there's no reason you can't find a lovely single flower at the grocery store.

Prom corsage, photo by Pam Roth

Prom corsage, photo by Pam Roth

A Parting Tip: Try Designer's Choice

If none of this sounds like something you'd feel comfortable doing, there's one more tip I have to at least help you get the biggest bang for your buck from your prom corsage.

Order what is called a "designer's choice" prom corsage. Tell the florist what color the prom dress is and how much you can spend and leave the exact details up to the professionals. This gives the florist the leeway to choose what she thinks are the nicest flowers in your price range and to arrange them to the best of her judgment.

In my experience, designers give special care to this kind of order. Ordering a designer's choice corsage not only expresses your respect for them as professionals (motivating them to give their best effort) it also gives the designer a chance to really show off.

Floral designers sometimes even use these opportunities to compete to see who can create the best corsage.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Kylyssa Shay

Share Your Frugal Prom Corsage Tips!

AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on April 29, 2014:

Great tips and lovely photos.

Nikki4321 on May 27, 2013:

Thanks for these tips, this is skill for me to add to my portfolio of services.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on April 24, 2012:

These really are great tips for saving money on your prom corsage. Prom costs can get very expensive even if you are just doing the basics so cutting back in the little areas can really help keep money costs down.

readabooki on May 04, 2011:

Great tip. I didn't wrist corsages were so much more expensive than pin on.

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on April 27, 2011:

Back in the bygone days when I went to Prom, it wasn't big business like it is now.I wore a borrowed dress and shoes, and Mom made my corsage from flowers growing in our yard. She couldn't afford to spend a lot of money on anything in those days.Love the lens and the helpful, frugal information.

DeboraR on March 18, 2010:

This lens is very good. Full of information and very well put together with color. Gave it 5* and favored.