Everything you need to know to engineer an efficient and profitable prom season—and create a memorable experience for young customers.

By Nita Robertson, AIFD

Excitement mounts with many high-schoolers each year as prom season approaches. For these students, this enchanting evening is more than just another dance; it marks a significant milestone in their young lives—a rite of passage, if you will. As with all things, prom continues to evolve with changing social and cultural norms and individual expression, all the while maintaining certain timeless traditions. In some cases, classic formal dresses and gowns and traditional tuxedos have given way to more alternative personality-expressive garb, and the music might have changed a bit, as well, but flowers remain a constant for the memorable night—although the desired styling and placement on the body are, many times, unconventional and individualistic, too.

Proms are important seasonal events for florists not only as a revenue generator but also because they also provide opportunities to reach a new generation of consumers with the magic of flowers, who, with just the right offerings and service, could become regular flower buyers in the future. And we all know that, in order to survive and thrive, our industry must immediately get proactive in learning about, connecting with and becoming relevant to this exceptional segment of society.

Prom season demands what can be labor-intensive designs within a limited timeframe, underscoring the paramount importance of organization, efficiency and productivity. To optimize sales and profits, it’s crucial to be fully prepared and equipped to accept and fulfill a high volume of orders. Rejecting orders from potential new customers, especially those embarking what are often their first floral purchases (or their mothers!), undermines the goal of creating a positive and alluring experience among them, so do everything you must to make the most of this seasonal and significant event.

“‘No’ is a word that’s not in our vocabulary,” says Patti Fowler, AIFD, PFCI, owner of Flowerama Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania. “By not turning away customers and disappointing and, possibly, angering them, we make customers for life at prom. To accomplish this and to reduce the pressure during a busy weekend when we are creating more than 200 corsages, we rely on ready-made corsage bases, which save time and are easily customizable.”

Patti Fowler, AIFD, CFD, PFCI
Patti Fowler, AIFD, PFCI
corsage Design by Patti Fowler AIFD
Patti Fowler, AIFD, CFD, PFCI
corsage and boutonniere set by Patti Fowler, AIFD, CFD, PFCI
Patti Fowler, AIFD, CFD, PFCI

Hollie Guidry, owner of Hollie &Pine Floristry in Elizabeth, Colo., advises that preparation for prom begins early by obtaining the dates of proms of high schools in your area, ordering flowers and supplies, and doing extensive prep work. Detailed organization, including the use of reminder texts and post-order review links, ensures smooth and positive customer experiences. She also underscores the importance of keeping detailed information on prom orders from previous years prior because in her broad service area, each school—some of which are urban while others are more rural—has a unique clientele.

Hollie and Pine Floristry Elizabeth, Colorado modern corsage


Prom trends typically vary from year to year, but certain themes and styles often remain popular. Staying current with the latest prom trends can help your business create floral wearables that resonate with consumers. There is an almost-overwhelming galaxy of information on prom trends online that you can access with a simple internet search. Most critical are the styles and colors for this year’s prom dresses and accessories. If you’ve not already done so, schedule some time now for this all-important task.

According to one such source, PromHeadquarters.com, the latest prom fashion trends are pantsuits, jumpsuits and rompers. Also, “sexy” is in, as several trending dress styles illustrate—sleeveless and bustier bodices, some with corset boning and/or plunging sweetheart necklines; two-piece ensembles, often midriff bearing; cut-out sides at the midriff; sheer illusion bodices and/or skirts, often with strategically placed lace, mesh or 3D appliques; and slits, knee high to thigh high. Other prom dress trends for 2024 include:

• sleeves, attached and detached (sleeve extensions);

• long and short dresses with overlay skirts, including sheer;

• layered and ruffled skirts;

• high/low lengths;

• boho influences but with glitter and bling;

• and, last but not least, feathers.

In addition, prominent prom dress designers worldwide are emphasizing all-over sequins and incorporating beads and distinctive rhinestone embellishments, to create glamorous glittery and sparkly effects. As well, metallics, such as gold, rose gold, silver, platinum, copper and bronze, are perennial standards for prom attire and floral accessories—as are metallicized colors. These fashion trends afford florists opportunities to infuse coordinating floral creations with a wide array of glimmery “keepsake” elements such as gems, jewels, brooches, beads, metallic accents and more, that the wearers can retain as mementos of the evening—and this applies to wearables for both her and him (and beyond). Succulents and interesting foliage—natural and enhanced with color and/or glitter, depending on the attire—also create excitement among this crowd. And, of course, don’t forget feathers!

“Bold” is the motto for prom dress colors this year. Think bright red and royal purple hues as well as neon colors such as hot pink, neon green and neon yellow. Pantone’s” 2024 Color of the Year” (“Peach Fuzz,” a light, delicate hue that sits between pink and orange) will likely also make its way into this year’s prom palette. That said, color is such a strong individual preference that, as always, you will almost assuredly see every color in the spectrum. For florists, these bright, vivid dress-color choices are ideal backdrops for showcasing wearable flowers in monochromatic, analogous and even complementary and split-complementary color harmonies. Sophisticated monochromatic designs are also perfect choices for “busier” dresses, including those featuring heavy flourishes of sequins, jewels, gems, crystals and beads, as well as floral-patterned, -embroidered and -appliquéd dresses (don’t try to compete with or replicate multicolored or multiflowered floral motifs).


Flower style options abound for today’s venturesome prom-going teens from progressive and creative floral designers. These alternatives to classic corsages include:

• diminutive handheld bouquets and posies;

• flower jewelry (rings, necklaces and chokers, cuff bracelets, anklets, etc.);

• mini headdresses, flower crowns (“halos” and headbands), and fascinators;

• floral “tattoos” (made on bandages);

• botanical accessories (purses, belts and/or buckles, sashes, scarves and boas, shoes, eyeglasses and masquerade masks);

• and, for the truly daring with deep pockets, even entire botanical dresses (or just bodices or skirts), shrugs and capes, etc.

For the young men, alternative choices seem fewer, but they are no-less creative and exciting, and comprise:

• pocket bouquet “boutonnières”;

• whole lapel “boutonnières”;

• jacket sleeve and cuff “boutonnières”;

• arm bands;

• bow ties;

• eyeglasses and masquerade masks

• and for the bold and fearless, flower beards.

Also for the guys, don’t forget to suggest purchasing single roses or small bouquets for their dates’ mothers and even small vases of flowers for their tables at a restaurant. With a little effort thinking outside the box, you’ll come up with myriad other sales opportunities for this most special of events in these young peoples’ lives.

Many prom-goers know only of traditional corsages and boutonnières, and those are still the “standards.” Fowler concedes that although her shop offers many contemporary options, “Wrist corsages remain the most popular choices for prom in our area.” While Fowler’s statement probably rings true for many florists, most of today’s teens have little to no idea what other types of flower wearables you can create, so it’s up to you to educate them about what’s possible. Showcase your offerings on your website, social media and in your shop, and consider staging a prom flower fashion show in your store or, better yet, at the school(s). If you don’t show it, you won’t sell it.

Hollie and Pine Floristry Elizabeth, Colorado.
Hollie and Pine Floristry Elizabeth, Colorado
design by Nita Robertson AIFD, Presented by Reliant Ribbon
design by Nita Robertson AIFD, Presented by Reliant Ribbon

“I take great photos of our designs and update our website with our new offerings before each prom season,” Guidry notes. “This lets our customers know that we sell not only traditional corsages but also more contemporary, custom and personalized designs.”

Alternative floral options offer promsters great ways to personalize and individualize their looks, and because they often require higher price points, they can boost your revenues. Most important, though, they will establish your shop as the “go-to” florist for creative floral designs and generate excitement about flowers among the youngest generation of consumers.


It’s not only daring and dramatic floral designs that capture the attention of teen consumers; it’s also the selection of botanicals you use in your designs. We realize that many prom-goers will ask for the standards—roses, orchids and the like—but even the most traditional corsages and boutonnières can be modernized with textural items such as the many types, forms and colors of succulents; bunny-tail and other plume or lacy grasses; berries and tiny fruits; pods; fern curls; mosses; and feathers, to name just a few.

As well, unusual blooms intrigue prom customers. Check the availability and prices of hellebores; distinctive varieties of Eustoma/Lisianthus and Ranunculus; Campanula medium; bells-of-Ireland, mini and micro Chrysanthemum; unusual orchids, grape hyacinths; hyacinth, Agapanthus and Phlox florets; Scabiosa; Eryngium; Nigella; blue lace flower, pansies (you might have to buy plants); kangaroo paws; and all manner of interesting “filler”/accent botanicals—Disoma; Bupleurum; Boronia; delicate Limonium; Trachelium; waxflower; rice flower; lady’s mantle; Hypericum; Berzelia/Brunia; pepperberry; Sedum, lavender, rosemary, sage, mint and other herbs). Your options are as limitless as your imagination and creativity.

Finally, don’t forget textural, colorful and aromatic foliages: delicate and diminutive ferns; variegated leaves like Begonia, scented geranium, ivy and Italian Pittosporum; red smokebush, Photinia and Agonis; small-leaf and willow-leaf Eucalyptus (E. parvula/parvifolia, E. gunnii and E. nicholii); aromatic herbs; grasses and palms that can be braided—the list goes on and on


Promoting your creative and distinctive floral designs for proms and any special services you offer involves devising and implementing marketing strategies that will resonate with the target audience—teenage consumers (and, possibly, their mothers!).

Create a Prom Corsage and Boutonnière Bar

A corsage/boutonnière bar is a display of all of the decorative components and accessories available to create prom flowers from which customers can choose elements to personalize their corsages and boutonnières. Showcase corsage bracelets, gems and jewels, picks and pins, ribbons, and other accessories in a fun and interactive display (shoppers will love trying on bracelets, touching the jewels and feeling the ribbons!). By featuring all the cool stuff you have available and all the amazing wearable options you can create, a corsage/boutonnière bar and product display will create a fun experience for shoppers and, undoubtedly, increase your prom sales by enabling shoppers to select add-on elements that they might have been unaware of but, once they see, they must have! Nearby, feature a broad selection of ready-made designs fashioned from permanent botanicals so that prom-goers can see the scope of your offerings and abilities, envision what the finished products can look like, and even try them on (especially hairpieces—how fun for them!).

Be sure to have all individual elements and ready-made designs clearly priced, or create a “menu” board listing all the prices and price ranges. Include any package options you offer, and consider offering standard, deluxe and premium versions. Clear pricing will make sales easier and will generate higher per-ticket sales.

prom bar

Prom Packages

Create prom-themed combo packages that include, for example, a corsage and boutonnière at moderately discounted prices, to help ensure that both people in each prom couple order from your store. Other package deals could include a corsage and a small hairpiece, or two or three pieces of floral jewelry such as a ring, a necklace and/or a bracelet. Packages can not only simplify the decision-making process for customers but also generate higher per-ticket sales.

Host Prom-related Events

Organize events related to prom, such as an in-store “workshop” on “How to Choose the Perfect Corsage” or even a prom-flowers fashion show. Events such as these can generate immense excitement among teen girls and even early sales. Both of these events could involve partnering with a local prom dress shop and tuxedo rental store; possibly a popular restaurant, to provide refreshments; and even collaborating with local schools, which might provide a location and publicity. As an incentive for a school to participate, you could gift a percentage of your prom-flower sales generated at an event to an organization or club at the school (see the following tip for an additional suggestion). To make the attendees feel extra special and, thereby, increase attendance, consider tailoring your publicity to make your event “seem” as though it is an exclusive invitation-only party, perhaps with a limited attendance. Another option is to not actually host a live event but, instead, video a workshop presentation, fashion show or something else, and post it widely, where teens will see it, on popular social media platforms as well as your website. You could even distribute a link to the video via text messages and emails, provided that you have or can obtain those contacts for these buyers. Or you could do both—live event and video.

Collaborate with Local Schools

Reach out to local high schools and offer your services for their prom events. You could design flower crowns for prom royalty or provide floral decorations for the venue—at a cost, of course, or in exchange for their help hosting an event.

Cultivate Local Partnerships

Partner with local dress shops, tuxedo rental stores, restaurants, hair and nail salons, limousine and party-bus rental companies, and other prom-service providers, to cross-promote each other’s services. Consider creating a “network” of special perks or discounts among your partner business that each of you give to your customers to redeem at the other businesses. Also, ensure that all partner businesses mention and tag each other regularly in posts and comments on social media platforms.

Make Ordering, Pickup and Delivery Easy

Make it easy for teens to view, customize and order your creations online, which is often the preferred method of shopping for this group. In addition, offer delivery service—for an additional fee, of course. It you want to get customers back into your store to pick up their orders—and perhaps, event prompting last-minute add-on sales—create a special prom-flower pickup “express lane,” where you can attend to them quickly. By requiring payment at the time orders are placed rather than at the time of pickup, you’ll be able to service customers even more quickly and efficiently. Another thing to consider is giving each customer a receipt at the time of purchase with an assigned time for the day of pickup. Make pickup times early enough for corrections. Also at the time of purchase, ask each customer for his or her mobile number, and call or text anyone who misses his or her assigned pickup time. Attention to quick and hassle-free pickups is one more way to make them feel special and create an experience that can transform them into flower lovers and buyers for life.

Social Media

Leverage the extraordinary power of the most popular social media platforms among teens to showcase your prom offerings, including not only wearable flowers but also flowers for dates’ moms, restaurant tables and more. Share images of your exciting designs, talk up your extra services and partner business—and post and comment often!

Testimonials and Reviews

Showcase positive testimonials and reviews from previous prom customers on your website and social media. Positive feedback can build trust and attract new customers.

Professional Photography

Invest in professional photography for your prom creations. High-quality images can make your extraordinary designs even more visually appealing and shareable on social media.

Local Advertising

Advertise in local newspapers (to reach parents and grandparents), school publications (to reach the students and faculty) and community bulletins, as well as on community boards. Traditional advertising methods still have its place and are still effective, so don’t ignore them.

Remember to tailor your marketing efforts to the preferences, behaviors and demographics of your local community. By navigating the prom rush with careful planning, collaboration and strategic marketing, and by engaging with your customers and creating positive experiences, you will ensure a successful prom season and help establish your business as a relevant choice for the future gift-giving needs of consumers of all ages.


Daniel Fisher, PFCI, owner of Fitz Design in Port Charlotte, Fla., a leading supplier in the prom accessories industry, shares that in addition to bejeweled bracelets, cuff and “slap” bracelets remain popular for wrist, arm and ankle corsages and that, for boutonnières, there has been a notable surge in the popularity of “pocket squares.” To accommodate this trend, Fitz Design offers two products to make floral designers lives easier: Pocket Squares and Pockettes.

For florists looking to streamline design processes, enhance efficiency and reduce labor during this busy season, Fitz Delightzz—bracelets with ready-made with bows and with or without rhinestone sprays—are excellent options. They’re ready for fresh botanicals and other accessories; just glue and go. Fisher notes that Delightzz offer a practical solution for florists facing labor shortages and enable them to accept those all-too-prevalent last-minute orders.

princess corsage bracelet
Princess Corsage Bracelet by Fitz

Tips for Constructing Corsage and Boutonnieres


Liquid floral adhesive (a.k.a. cold glue) has changed the creation of corsages and other wearable flower designs, enabling you to make multiple units at the same time. For example, you can line up three to six corsage bases and do the gluing of flowers and foliages simultaneously. For most designers, it is faster and easier to use liquid floral adhesive to create wearable flowers, and you can end long hours of finger-tiring wiring and taping. If you make the basic forms in advance or use ready-made corsage bases, you can glue the flowers in place in mere minutes—a big help during a busy prom week.


NOTE: Some floral designers recommend securing flowers and foliage into wearable flower designs with adhesive dashes instead of liquid floral adhesive to save even more time by not having to wait for the liquid adhesive to become tacky first and then, eventually, completely dry.

Tips for Gluing

• Place a row of corsage bracelets and/or bases onto a PVC pipe, to create several corsages at one time.

• Group designs that require flowers of the same color, for assembly at the same time.

• Glue adheres to glue, creating a stronger bond, so secure flowers into wearable designs by adding drops of liquid floral adhesive to both the stem tips of the flowers and the backs of foliages and the surfaces where the blooms will sit, often the loops of a bow.

• Wait a few seconds for the adhesive to become tacky before placing the flowers and foliages. Then, place each flower and bit of foliage, and hold it in place for a few seconds until the adhesive becomes secure enough to keep it in place.

• Allow the adhesive to completely dry before packaging a design and placing it into the cooler.


Depending on the style of boutonnière, you can either wire and tape the flowers or glue them onto a flat base with liquid floral adhesive or adhesive dashes. Also, there are multiple options today for attaching boutonnières. For example, consider using floral magnets instead of pins; they make attaching boutonnières to garments so much easier and secure. There are many such magnets on the market, including those sold by Fitz Design, BoutStix, Reliant Ribbon and other companies

NOTE: One downside to be aware of when using magnets is that they are not recommended for anyone with a pacemaker or ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator). For proms, you most likely won’t encounter those issues, but it is a good idea to attach a note with each boutonnière containing a magnet that warns of the effects.

pocket square
Designed by Nita Robertson AIFD

Tips for Efficiently Navigating the Prom Rush

• Order the most popular flowers well in advance.

• Order all of your prom accessories (ribbons, bracelets, rhinestones, glue, etc.) well in advance.

• Make bows and prep corsage bases ahead of time.

• Create your own unique collection of designs, and showcase them on your website and social media platforms.

• Team up with your local high schools to promote your business and prom offerings to students.

• Partner with other local businesses, such as dress and formalwear shops, restaurants, hair and nail salons, etc., to offer prom packages.

• Develop a social media campaign to help drive sales.

• Require payment or, at the very least. a substantial deposit, at the time orders are placed.

• Give each customer a receipt with an assigned time for the day of pickup. Make pickup times early enough for corrections.

• Ask each customer for his or her mobile number. Then, call or text anyone who misses his or her assigned pickup time.