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How to Put on a Boutonniere

by Staff

If you went to high school prom, you probably remember getting a boutonniere or corsage for your date. Then, these accessories were probably made with carnations and baby’s breath from a local town florist. But, for today’s weddings, there’s a whole new world of boutonnieres for grooms and groomsmen. 

What Is a Boutonniere?

A boutonniere is a floral accessory worn on the lapel of a tuxedo or suit jacket for weddings and other special occasions. The word boutonniere translates to “buttonhole” in French and many jackets have a buttonhole solely for the boutonniere

Ahead, wedding planner Krystal Gardenia, florist Meredith Daufenbach, and wardrobe stylist Ashley Michelle Miller answer all of your burning boutonniere-related questions (like which side to place it and how to put it on) as well as share current boutonniere trends and style tips.

Meet the Expert

Krystal Gardenia is the senior wedding planner at Gardenia Weddings.

Meredith Daufenbach is the studio manager of Miami-based floral studio Simple Florals.

Ashley Michelle Miller is a wardrobe stylist and personal stylist based in New York and Florida.

Which Side Does the Boutonniere Go On?

A boutonniere is traditionally worn on the left lapel of a tuxedo or suit jacket (over the heart). Many jackets have buttonholes on the left lapels made specifically for boutonnieres. However, if your jacket doesn’t have this feature place the boutonniere at the center of the left lapel.

While tradition dictates a left-sided boutonniere, Krystal Gardenia of Gardenia Weddings believes rules are meant to be broken. “I am all for foregoing ‘tradition’ in exchange for doing something that makes more logistical or visual sense or for something more personal to the couple,” she says. In her opinion, the boutonniere should face the guests during the ceremony. 

“Traditionally, the groom’s side stands on the right, which is why the boutonniere is typically on the left. However, if you choose to stand on a different side, or if the bride has bridesmen in her party, then opt for whichever lapel side faces the crowd,” she offers. If there are two grooms, their boutonnieres should be on opposite lapels so both can face the guests. 

How to Put on a Boutonniere

A boutonniere is pinned toward the top of the left lapel, traditionally. If your jacket has a boutonniere hole, it will dictate exactly where to place the flowers. 

Start with the pin behind the lapel and punch the pin through the top of the stem either diagonally or straight down. Then, weave the pin back through the front of the lapel. Think of it like you’re weaving the pin through the jacket. The head of the pin should be hidden behind the lapel and not at all visible. You should only need one pin but can use a couple to make sure it’s super secure. 

Typically, the best man or one of the groom’s parents will secure the boutonniere on the groom’s jacket. But, Gardenia admits that’s usually just for the photo op. Since they can be a little tricky to get just right, a stylist, planner, or florist on hand will usually do the final pin.

Are Boutonnieres Still in Style?

“Absolutely,” says Daufenbach. “They are such a small but intentional way to make sure your floral story is cohesive. We treat them like small versions of an arrangement.”

Miller agrees that they are a “much needed” accessory for the men in the wedding party. “I also love to add an extra personal touch,” she shares. “With all of my clients, I am inspired to style them based on who they are, their story, what makes them special … For example, maybe the groom proposed on the Pont des Arts ‘Love Lock’ bridge in Paris. You could incorporate a key in all the boutonnieres to symbolize the special and memorable moment that commemorated the start of the union. Think beyond traditional, be memorable, add personalized elevated touches.”

On the other hand, purchasing boutonnieres for the entire wedding party can get expensive. “While traditional couples still choose to go with boutonnieres, more couples nowadays are either foregoing them completely or choosing to just include them for only the groom to save on costs,” Gardenia says.

Boutonniere Trends and Tips

Mix fresh and dried flowers.

Daufenbach says this is “the year of the groom.” She’s been seeing more grooms showing up to design meetings and picking out custom suits as well as their boutonnieres. Tiny delphinium and hellebores flowers are in, she says. And, a big trend is mixing fresh and dried flowers with a main focal point being a fresh flower that matches the motif, and some accenting dried florals. 

“Dried florals are definitely trending,” echoes Gardenia. “Boho weddings are very in right now and you can’t have a boho wedding without lots of pampas grass and other dried florals.”

Match the wedding bouquet and day-of florals.

To make the floral design flow, Daufenbachsays the boutonnieres should be made in the same design scope as the rest of the arrangements, including the bouquets. 

Gardenia says that they usually include one of the primary flowers from the bouquet and then two accent stems, which could be greenery or dried florals. “The colors will play off of the color of the suit rather than the color of the bouquet to a certain degree,” she adds, explaining that there should be some contrast between the color of the suit and the color of the flowers. 

Miller adds that “they don’t have to be a perfect match but they should complement one another. I love thinking of weddings as a representation of the love story of the bride and groom … In regards to the bouquet and the boutonniere story they should tie together in some way whether by the wedding colors, specific type of flowers, or even by the ribbon used to wrap the arrangement.”

Make the groom’s boutonniere different from the rest of the wedding party.

There should be a difference between the boutonniere for the groom and the groomsmen just as there is a difference between the bride’s bouquet and the bridesmaids’.

However, because they are so small, it’s usually a subtle difference. “Our grooms always get a little something extra! Sometimes it’s an extra bloom or an extra special flower,” says Daufenbach. “We are getting grooms dressing differently than their wedding party more and more, so you have to lean into that.”

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