Mother’s Day Corsage Etiquette


Let’s talk Mother’s Day, which is Sunday, May 8, 2016.  This may be a regional tradition, but do you remember going to church on Mother’s Day and the moms all wearing corsages?  I don’t see that these days.  As a child and young adult, I do recall seeing the ladies all with corsages.

My mom taught me that the ladies wearing the white corsages were those whose mothers had passed away. Those with pink or red corsages had moms that were living.

Although I am not a mom (hopefully I am a pretty cool aunt and stepmom), and my mother is deceased, I still get nostalgic thinking of this tradition. Since these flowers were gifts from the children, it was great way to show the world you had a mother or special lady that was loved.


I wish I would have noticed when this tradition stopped at my church.  It only came to mind tonight when my husband was looking at Mother’s Day gift baskets and he showed me a beautiful basket topped with a pink lily corsage (which would not be appropriate for my mother-in-law).  It reminded me of the tradition and made me wonder if the retailer did not know to offer a color choice.

Digging online, I ran across a post in Yahoo asking about Southern men wearing a red rose on their lapel on Mother’s Day for a living mom and a white rose for a deceased mom.  Although I live in the south, I have not seen men wearing roses on Mother’s Day.  So many of our traditions are regional, which I think is great.  I just wish we would keep our traditions alive.


9 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Corsage Etiquette

  1. I thought I remembered that you wore the corsage on one side if your mother was living and the other if she’d passed…but I couldnt remember which was which…

    1. Thanks for your comment, Patricia. I am not familiar with the custom, so that must be something they did in your region of the country. In my area, mom’s wore their corsages in the standard fashion – on their left shoulder. I did a quick internet search to see if I could find anything more on the topic. The only thing I saw was on and it said that is the mother’s day corsage was to be worn on the wrist, wear it on the side that is not dominant. Sorry that I can’t be more help!

    2. The flower should always be worn on your left side high on your shoulder. (Your heart ❤️ is located on your left side.). The color of the flower represents weather your Mother is living or has gone home to her Heavenly Father.

  2. I do remember going to the florist and getting our corsages every year as a child. And the colors significant of living or deceased.

  3. We still hold the tradition in my small southern town, white is for deceased red is for living, also a Mother who has lost a child wears a white bud sweetly placed beside the bloom to honor her mother

  4. This is an old thread, but I thought it was appropriate to comment. I live in Arkansas and attend a small, old fashioned church. All of the moms wear a corsage for Mother’s Day every year! I think it’s more of a tradition with old-line churches, but especially in the South. Almost none of the florists in my area make Mother’s Day corsages, and the ones that do aren’t very good, so about 3 years ago I decided to start making them myself for my mom! I have even used my own David Austin English roses that I have grown myself! This makes it doubly special! I don’t want to see this tradition thrown by the wayside! Thanks for your article!

    1. Trey, thank you for your comment! I would think your mom’s corsage means more to her knowing you made it. That is a lovely (and loving) idea. I am in total agreement. We don’t need to lose any sweet traditions such as this. It is such a wonderful way to honor moms. I would love to see a photo of this year’s creation! Kayla

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