Here at the Country garden we spend most of our time growing and arranging flowers for weddings.
We get asked for all the usual things; bouquets, buttonholes, table arrangements and the less usual; arches, crowns and fairy wands but recently the most troubling item that we discuss with our brides are corsages!
Originally the word corsage referred to the bodice of a womans' dress and the French used the term 'bouquet de corsage' for flowers on the bodice and now the word 'corsage' has evolved to mean a small bunch of flowers worn on a womans' clothing, hair or body.
Many wedding couples like the idea of honouring the female members of the wedding party with a corsage just as the male party are given a buttonhole or boutonierre, and that is where the problems begin!!
Most of the male wedding party will, at least initially, be wearing a suit or kilt jacket meaning they normally have a single coloured, firm lapel to pin the buttonhole to. They also tend to be wearing the same colour jackets but even if not they are generally plain coloured. The ladies of the group will, on the contrary, have gone to some effort to ensure that they are all wearing different colours and styles. Many do not wear a jacket at all or it may be of a light material such as chiffon or silk. Pinning a corsage to that is the last thing they want. They have also probably bought outfits with differing colours so each corsage would have to be matched individually unlike the buttonholes which are generally of the ' same but slightly differing' variety.
So apart from the jacket where else is it possible to wear a corsage? The hair used to be popular but the fashion for striking hats and fascinators makes that a poor and generally unpopular choice. How about the handbag? - fine for a simple clutch with a strap but modern bags come in all shapes, textures and sizes - most not suitable for a corsage. The corsage also needs to be attached with a magnet meaning even more weight to the corsage and a very strong magnetic force on your bag - not a good idea. Handbags get left on the floor during meals and the corsage usually ends up damaged. Finally how about the wrist? Made popular in the USA for proms etc this is probably the worst of all options! Fresh flowers are fragile and the hands are active - flowers get knocked, bruised and torn. The corsage is irritating to wear particularly when eating and most get damaged and discarded. This is the only time I turn to silk flowers - no less annoying but much more durable!
So what is the answer - I don't really know - many couples present mothers and grandmas with a bouquet during the speeches while others spend a lot of time arranging for individual corsages for all who want/need them - finding out who is wearing what and who wants what takes effort when there are a lot of other things to do.
The call of the corsage does however remain strong so what do you think? What can we use instead of the corsage or are there some other clever ways to use it?