The second most common question we get asked by guys on the wedding day, second only to how to fold a pocket square, is “How do we put on a boutonniere?” These small floral arrangements have been confusing to men the world over. Most men only wear these a few times in their lifetimes, so all it takes is one person to be an expert, and after this article, you’ll be that guy!! With these 3 easy steps, you’ll have the knowledge to successfully pin one on in less than 60 seconds.
Step 1: Location, Location, Location
The key to wearing a boutonniere is proper placement. They are always placed on the left lapel of your jacket. Almost all suit lapels will have a buttonhole which makes finding the right spot easy. Don’t have a buttonole? Check below for placement. Simply place the largest part of the flower, just over the hole with the base of the flower, the ribbon covered stem, laying on the lapel just below the hole. The stem of the boutonniere should be aligned with the sides of the lapel so it angles in the same direction.
The boutonniere should be lower than the knot in the tie, and above the top of the pocket square.
History Fact: Boutonniere is French for ‘buttonhole’ which was originally designed to let men stick single flowers through their lapel.
Step 2: Fold The Lapel Over the Boutonniere
After you’ve correctly positioned the boutonniere, form a taco shape by folding the material over the flower and that should allow you to see the back of the lapel. Be sure to have a good grip on the boutonniere as you prepare to stick the pin into it
Step 3: Slide The Needle Down Through the Lapel
Insert the needle at a downward angle making sure it runs through the lapel. Be sure to stick the needle through the thickest part of the boutonniere, the flower stem, typically at the top of the ribbon covered section. It’s important to insert the needle at a downward angle to ensure that the boutonniere stays in place throughout the event.
After you’ve pinned the boutonniere, check and see that the needle is not visible from the front and the boutonniere is secure. You could also use two pins for more stability.
What if you don’t have a button hole?
Because tuxedos have a satin lapel, they don’t have this helpful landmark. For notch lapel tuxedos, you can use the bottom edge of the notch as a guide. Simply place the widest part of the boutonniere flower just below this and approximately 1.5″ in from the edge
For shawl lapel tuxedos, use the shirt buttons as a guide. These are a bit more difficult because they are one continuous piece of satin. Look to the buttons on the shirt to help placement, specifically the second button from the top of the shirt. This will be the highest fully exposed button. On a shawl lapel, the boutonniere should be placed with the base of the flower even to this button. Next, align the stem aligned with the lapel edges.
Does it matter if you don’t pin it toward the top of the stem?
Yes, it does matter. Pinning it in the middle of the stem is not a secure placement. This type of placement will cause the flower to flop around. Putting the pin through the top of the stem where the ribbon begins. This is where the stems are thickest and is the most secure position.
What is the right size?
The flowers used in the boutonnieres should complement the bridal bouquets. Also, be sure to compliment the size of the gentleman wearing them. For example, a small rose on its own may not look fitting on a larger groomsman. This however may be perfect for the ring bearer.
How do we incorporate the colors of wedding?
There are so many ways to incorporate wedding colors into your florals. Flowers vary by season and you have probably chosen your wedding colors based on the time of year and formality of your event. For example, burgundy bridesmaids’ dresses are stunning next to a groomsman in a black suit with a burgundy calla lily boutonniere. Color can also be added to the ribbon choice.
How do I care for my boutonniere before the wedding?
Ideally, your florist will deliver your boutonnieres and other flowers the day of, right before they are ready to be attached to your jacket. If they are in your possession the night before, store them gently in the refrigerator close to the door. If you need to freshen them up the day of, use a spray bottle to spray cool water on the stem and gently dry on a tissue before placing it on your suit or tuxedo.
Can a boutonniere be worn along with a pocket square?
Yes. Although many couples choose one or the other, there is no reason a boutonniere and a pocket square can’t complement one another.
Patton Photography is a professional photography studio based out of Calgary, Alberta. Our signature style offers a clean and modern look to your photographs while maintaining a look that is romantic and whimsical. Contact us anytime to sit down over coffee for a stress-free conversation.