How To Make A Corsage

One of the benefits of being a wedding photographer and managing editor of APW is that I get to use a lot of the practical knowledge gained in each profession and bring it to the other. Which means that sometimes I’m coming home from a wedding and telling Meg things like, “There’s a lot of glitter at weddings right now,” while the rest of the time, I’m taking the stuff I learn at APW and seeing how it applies to the real world. (Gotta make sure this information is relevant, right?) A few weeks back, we taught you guys how to make a boutonnière. Believe it or not, that tutorial has been, hands down, one of the most practically useful tutorials we’ve put together yet, and I’ve been putting the tips I learned while making it to use all season. (The pin goes horizontal! Who knew?) So today we’re following up with the boutonnière’s fancier cousin, the corsage. The truth is, if you can make a boutonniere, you can make a corsage (a corsage is really just a boutonnière in its Sunday best). But first things first.

A few of you had asked about flower selection in the comments of the boutonnière how-to, so for today’s post, we wanted to highlight the fact that both the boutonnières and corsages that we made for these tutorials were formulated specifically to survive being made a few days in advance. For the corsage our flower ingredients are:

  • Poppy Pod
  • Pepper Berry
  • Baby’s Breath
In addition to being able to survive being made in advance, these flowers are also very sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally squishing them in transportation or accidentally ruining them while pinning them on. As for non-floral materials, you’ll need:
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Floral Wire
  • Floral Tape

The basic structure of your corsage is going to be exactly like a boutonnière, and since we already went over that in detail, we’re going to send you over here to get started, and then have you come back when your corsage is wrapped in floral tape. Now it’s time to make a bow:

To start the corsage bow, take a generous amount of ribbon (about three feet) and cut. You can use any kind of ribbon, but we recommend something lightly wired, which is going to hold its shape a little better. Next, pinch the ribbon between your thumb and forefinger, leaving a few inches hanging down on the end. Then pull the ribbon around your thumb, as pictured above in step three. Once the ribbon is around your thumb, create a loop with the ribbon and pinch it underneath your thumb (for the visual learners in the house who want a video explanation of this step, check out this YouTube tutorial by Expert Village and start at forty-five seconds in). To create the rest of your ribbon, make three loops like this on either side of your thumb, each a little smaller than the one preceding it, pinching the ribbon underneath your thumb each time you make a loop. Once your three loops are made, take some floral wire, and wrap it through the loop that was made around your thumb and twist. If you’ve pinched the ribbon with each loop you’ve made, the floral wire will wrap around the pinched part and secure everything in place. Then take a boutonnière pin and stick it through your bow and up into the poppy pod to hide it.

A few more expert tips:

  • If you’re making a corsage for your mom or aunt and they are wearing one of those flowy mother-of-the-bride dresses, keep in mind that their outfits will be a little flimsier than if you’re making a boutonnière for someone wearing a suit. So don’t go overboard. Keep your arrangement light to avoid the corsage pulling on the dress.
  • Once again, the secret to getting your corsage to stay put is to thread the corsage pin horizontally when affixing to your clothes, not vertically. And for especially delicate outfits, try pinning it through the fabric and your bra strap. And if you’re worried about getting stuck by a pin, just put a rubber earring back on the sticky part near your skin.
  • You don’t have to use a bow! We wanted to see what a more modern corsage would look like for someone who wants flowers, but perhaps isn’t quite as frilly as a sheer pink bow. So we took the same floral arrangement and wrapped a bit of bright ribbon around it instead. It’s still pretty, but there’s a bit more edge to it this way.

Photos: Allison Andres / Flowers: Belle-Flower

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