Contrary to popular belief, brides aren’t the only ones required to wear something floral during their wedding day. In Western culture, grooms also typically wear a floral lapel called a ‘boutonniere’ or a ‘buttonhole’ on the big day. In this article, we’ll take a look at what boutonnieres are and how to pin one on the ‘right’ way.
History of the Boutonniere
The practice of wearing boutonnieres, which serves a similar purpose to a bride’s bouquet, began during the 16th century in Europe. They were said to have originated in France, where the word ‘boutonniere’ literally means ‘buttonhole flower’ in French. Boutonnieres were believed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck, while also supposedly keeping the couple healthy.
In the 18th century, wearing buttonholes became more of a fashion statement than a wedding tradition. Europeans started pinning boutonnieres on their frock coats which completed the look of a stylish gentleman during the age. A century later, the boutonniere once again became a trending fashion piece for the Romantics, along with jeweled pins and well-polished shoes.
Regardless of the cultural shifts in fashion trends, boutonnieres continue to be an important part of weddings, proms and other special events. However, not everyone knows how to wear one. Therefore, it’s practical to learn how to pin buttonholes the right way, just like how to properly wear a necktie.
Flowers for the Perfect Boutonniere
It’s important to discuss with your partner and your wedding planner about what kind of flower you should be using for the perfect boutonniere. Usually the groom, his groomsmen, and other male relatives pick a flower from the bride’s bouquet to match. The idea is to create a cohesive look where the bride and groom match in these subtle details.
But what kind of flower should you actually use for your perfect boutonniere? Here are some of our top picks:
White carnation boutonniere by Angel Isabella. See it here.
Carnations are one of the most popular choices for boutonnieres because of how easy they are to find and how simple but elegant they look. They provide the groom with a certain amount of class and style fitting for the event, without outshining the radiance of the bride.
White carnations are a crowd favorite for weddings mainly since they’re so easy to blend in with other fillers and details you want to put into your boutonniere. It’s said that carnations were made out of the Virgin Mary’s tears after seeing her Son on the Cross which is why these flowers are associated with pure love, making them an excellent choice for weddings.
Beach calla lily boutonniere by Victoria Green Flowers. See them here.
Calla lilies are often used in boutonnieres or other types of decorations, especially for summer and spring weddings. They symbolize purity, innocence and good luck for the couple as they start their life’s journey together, as husband and wife.
Blue tulip boutonniere by JJ CustomFloral Design. See it here.
Tulips are also another great option for boutonnieres during spring and early summer. They’re usually in pastel color, which is perfect if that’s the theme you are going for on your wedding day. Tulips also symbolize passion and affection, which makes them an ideal choice for weddings.
Dusty rose boutonnieres by Blooms N Brooches. See them here.
Roses are one of our top picks because almost every lover receives or gives roses to express their undying affection for their partner. Standard roses come in a variety of colors that look good with any kind of suit or shirt. They can be a bit pricey, however, so if you find it difficult to afford standard roses, you can still use spray roses that are much smaller but provide the same beauty and vibrancy as that of a regular rose.
Just like roses, the orchid is another universal symbol of love. It also symbolizes fertility and abundance which makes it the perfect flower to use for your boutonniere. Available in over 100,000 varieties, you’re sure to find the most suitable style and color of orchids that would suit your wedding day.
The ‘Right’ Way to Pin a Boutonniere
Now that you know all about boutonnieres, why they’re still important and what kinds of flowers to use in them, it’s time to look at the right way of pinning the boutonniere.
Listed below are the three proper ways you can wear boutonnieres for your wedding or any other formal event.
The ‘Traditional’ Style
The traditional style of wearing a boutonniere is literally inserting it through the buttonhole of your left lapel right over your heart. You can use a boutonniere even if you already have a pocket square.
Pinning a Boutonniere on a Lapel
Nowadays, not every tuxedo or suit lapel has a buttonhole which is why men resort to pinning a boutonniere to the lapel. The tradition of pinning the boutonniere to the left lapel is still practiced, but the process of attaching it to the suit is different.
To do this, first position the boutonniere upright on the left lapel. The design should be centered and facing out.
Next, insert the pin from the back of the lapel while making sure that the boutonniere remains in place. You must be able to pierce through the thickest stem of the boutonniere to ensure that the flowers are firmly attached to the lapel. You can also position the pin diagonally, especially if the boutonniere is a little thin.
Once the pin has pierced through the thicker stem, insert it back to the lapel. Double-check to see if everything holds up and to ensure that the pin won’t prick the skin. At this point, move around a bit to make sure the boutonniere won’t dangle or fall during the event.
Boutonnieres on Shirts
If you’re not wearing a suit, you can still pin the boutonnieres directly onto your shirt. Remember to position the buttonhole directly above the heart. You can choose to place it at the very top of the left shirt pocket (if it has one) or just directly on the shirt.
If you’re choosing the latter, pin the boutonniere by weaving the pin in and out of the fabric at least four times horizontally to secure it. Once that’s done, you can simply slide the buttonhole through the pin.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your entire life and you should be able to have it exactly the way you want. This means you will have the final say on how your boutonniere will look. However, make sure to check with your partner in advance to avoid any unnecessary surprises on your big day.