Call us at 1-800-355-8086

Feature Story




Prom is an important rite of passage for many teens and a time-honored tradition at high schools across the country. Within the past decade, these spring dances have gone from simple celebrations to elaborate events in which many teens go to great lengths—and dollars spent—to create their own version of a Hollywood red carpet moment. In 2005, the Conde Nast Bridal Group, publisher of Your Prom magazine, estimated total prom spending at $4 billion, with the average couple shelling out more than $1,200 for all the trimmings.


Whether couples take the high-dollar track or go for a more low-key approach to the event, flowers remain a must-have accessory for the big day. The key, say prom publication editors and fashion experts, is to give teens the individualized statements they crave. To help you fashion your department’s prom flower offerings, we spoke with these experts to find out the hottest styles and colors in both dress and floral fashion for prom 2008 and to discover how you can best serve the teen market.


bold and bright  

Taking a cue from the red carpet, prom fashions embrace vivid brights, reports designer DeBora Rachelle, who owns DeBora Rachelle Inc. and also consults with Prom Magazine on such trends. Teen stars particularly help set the trends. For instance, Ms. Rachelle reports that 17-year-old singer JoJo Levesque will wear some of her company’s designs during her concert tour. Karen Gros, fashion reporter for Teen Trend magazine, adds that vibrant pastels also are in vogue. Some top colors include:


    • Fuchsia


    • Lime green


    • Electric blue


    • Tangerine


    • Pastels in blue, pink and 








(Top left) The metallic trend can be brought into the florals as well, with glittered and dyed flowers and shimmering metallic and bullion wires. Estimated design time for this boutonniere is 12 minutes.

Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company, from Prom & Homecoming Flowers.

(Above left) Blue metallic wire is creatively coiled into a wrist corsage, through which a ribbon is threaded for affixing the flowers. The range of blues complements the season’s bold brights.

(Above right) Blues, whether in bold brights or more pastel hues, are among the top colors for prom 2008.

Photo courtesy of David’s Bridal.


neutrals with pizzazz

David’s Bridal, which offers a full line of teen styles in addition to its bridal gowns, predicts that metallics will shine this season, both in silvers and golds. In addition to these shimmering neutrals, the classic black and white combination remains strong, says Ms. Gros. And for some teens, the little black dress is still a top choice, reports Carl Dunn, CEO of PromTime and Pageantry magazines. Where black is used, though, Ms. Rachelle says she sees it being paired with brightly colored accessories to add punch.



(Left) Actress and singer Ashley Tisdale models a DeBora Rachelle gown that pairs hot pink with the classic black.


Photo courtesy of DeBora Rachelle Inc. and


(Right) Black and white remains a solid choice for teens in 2008, as this dress from David’s Bridal shows.


Photo courtesy of David’s Bridal






strapless is tops

Both voluminous ballroom gowns and simple sheaths were embraced in a poll of 11,000 promgoers by DeBora Rachelle Inc. Ms. Rachelle says teens’ top choice was a princesslike strapless ball gown studded with gems. A sheath dress ranked third in the poll, but all the favorite designs were strapless. For this reason, Ms. Gros says, wristlets continue to be young women’s favorite prom flower style. “You can’t go wrong with this choice, either. It will work with any style dress,” she observes.


(Right) This strapless, ball-gown-style frock from DeBora Rachelle was the favorite chosen in a poll of 11,000 teens.

Photo courtesy of DeBora Rachelle Inc. and


(Left) Wristlet designs remain the top-selling corsage style, particularly as more young women choose strapless dresses. Here, corsages are dressed with some extra “bling” in the form of fiber-optic lights.

Photo courtesy of The John Henry Company, from Prom & Homecoming Flowers





individuality rules

 Just as no young woman wants to be wearing the same dress as another teen, individualized accessories are just as important, advises Mr. Dunn. “Everything’s personalized, from their iPods, to their MySpace accounts, their Facebook, everything is them. Everything is personalized for them,” he describes. As much as possible, work with teens to create variations on your designs that fit their sense of style and help them to stand out.




A floral anklet makes a fashion-forward accessory. Here, the Gerbera is trimmed into a hip square shape and embellished by gluing the tops of a rhinestone and colored corsage pins at its center.

Photo courtesy of The John Henry Company, from Prom & Homecoming Flowers





making the sales

Mr. Dunn advises florists to start early in targeting teens for prom sales. He suggests contacting the prom committees at area high schools. They can provide theme and color information around which florals can be tailored. They also may be looking for décor ideas that florists can provide.


While more and more young women are taking part with their dates in selecting their personal flowers, Ms. Gros says tip sheets geared toward young men still are great marketing tools. Include your store’s contact information and floral offerings as well as the things teens need to know, such as their date’s dress color and style. Also, provide timelines for ordering personal flowers. Additional floral gifts, like a single long-stemmed rose to be presented to a date or her mother, also are possibilities to suggest to young men wanting to make an impression.


Asking schools to allow a “flower day” or prom vendor day—perhaps during lunch hours—is another way to reach teens ahead of the prom, suggests Ms. Rachelle. Young women then can bring dress swatches to school that day and work with a florist one-on-one or alongside their dates.



beyond prom

he same considerations that go into planning, designing and selling prom flowers also can be applied to other teen events, such as homecoming and other dances; the increasingly popular “Sweet 16” party; and the traditional Quinceañera, a Hispanic celebration of a young woman’s 15th birthday.

“The Quinceañera is like a mini wedding, so florists should promote these events more if they don’t already,” Ms. Rachelle says. There, the young woman traditionally carries a floral bouquet, much like a wedding bouquet. And popular dress colors are white, pastel pink and pastel blue. sfr


teen trend resources

These teen-focused magazines can help you identify even more prom trends. They are also great titles to carry in your store’s magazine aisle or can be cross-merchandised into the floral department. Many annual titles publish in January, so consider creating signage and perhaps even some ready-made wristlets to display near these titles, directing teens to your department.


        • CosmoGirl! Prom        • Justine


        • Pageantry                  • Prom Magazine


        • PromTime                  • Seventeen Prom


        • Teen Prom                 • Teen Trend


        • Teen Vogue                • Your Prom


order a copy  

The floral designs featured are from The John Henry Company’s Prom & Homecoming Flowers book. To order a copy, and the accompanying Prom & Homecoming Flowers Tips & Techniques book, visit the “Bookstore” at or call (800) 355-8086. 160 pages total. $59.95




Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2007
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.