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Wedding Buttonholes and How to Wear Them

25th April 2018 |By | Be the first to comment

The little flowers worn in the lapel of the men’s suits at a wedding are known as buttonholes. Sometimes referred to as boutonnières, they are usually worn by the men in the bridal party: the groom, best man, ushers, father-of-the-bride, father-of-the-groom, and sometimes the page boy. Here’s our guide to the different styles of wedding buttonholes and exactly how to wear them.

Wedding buttonholes | Confetti.co.uk

It’s probably the last thing on your list when you’re planning your wedding but the buttonholes you ask your florist to create can be so much more imaginative than just a carnation.

Wedding Etiquette

Traditionally it is the men who wear buttonholes on the left lapel of their suits. The mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom often wear a similar floral decoration called a corsage, either pinned to the right side of their outfit or tied with a ribbon around their wrist.

Buttonhole in red and yellow | Confetti.co.uk

If you wanted to have a very modern wedding you could appoint a ‘best woman’ and/or ‘bridesmen’ or a ‘man of honour’, to wear the buttonhole or corsage.

While the colour of the flower chosen is usually the same as either the bridal bouquet or the rest of the wedding flowers, some consideration may also be given to how it will either complement or contrast the suit against which it will be worn.

How to Wear Buttonholes

Where there is an actual button hole in the material, the stem of the flower is threaded through the left lapel of the suit jacket and secured with a pin. Where the hole for the button is not open but purely decorative, the stem will need to be pinned to the front of the fabric. Either way, the flower head should be pointing upwards and towards the man’s left shoulder. Where the stems of the flower will be visible, they can be tied with either metallic thread to catch the light, or ribbon to match the main wedding colours.

Buttonhole Styles

Pink Peony Buttonholes

A large pink peony worn in a man’s buttonhole is a strong statement of romance. Peonies are large blooms that are often worn to co-ordinate with the bridal bouquets and table centrepieces. They stand out against the suit and give a very romantic look.

Groom with floral buttonhole | Confetti.co.uk

Rustic Berry Buttonholes

Using berries in your buttonhole is ideal for a rustic or country style wedding and is ideal for a more informal look. This one is pinned to the shirt with the stems tied with ribbon for a finished look.

Rustic wedding buttonholes | Confetti.co.uk

White Rose for a Black Tie Wedding

A formal wedding with a black tie dress code will look perfect with a classic white rose to complete the monochrome style. The stems are tied with silver thread for a metallic constrast that gives a more masculine look to the usual satin ribbon.

White rose buttonholes for a black tie wedding | Confetti.co.uk

Suit Pocket Handkerchiefs

Wearing a decorative handkerchief in the top suit pocket with a flower in place of the usual buttonhole is another stylish option. Personalised handkerchiefs can be given to each of your male wedding attendants for them to wear on the big day.

Red flower and handkerchief buttonholes | Confetti.co.uk

Alternative Buttonholes

Foliage and embellishments, such as satin ribbon or pearl beading on wire, can give a unique twist to a traditional floral buttonhole. Alternatively, faux flowers, buttons, feathers, charms or fabric can be used in place of traditional organic flowers. For men who either dislike flowers or are actually allergic to their pollen, aromatic herbs such as rosemary can be used instead, and thistles are particularly attractive and very popular at Scottish weddings.

Buttonhole feather | Confetti.co.uk

Artificial Floral Buttonholes

The sky’s the limit when it comes to artificial flowers as, since you’re not limited by nature, they can be created as wildly colourful as you wish. This means you could have buttonholes made to colour-match an unusual shade of wedding dress exactly, or have rainbow coloured petals for an eye-catching and original look.

Novelty Buttonholes

For anyone who likes to be different, these amazing handmade custom designs will certainly be a talking point with guests at the wedding and could provide added photo opportunies. Have the bouquets and corsages to match, and incorporate your own personal style, whether that’s Rockabilly, Gothic or superhero Lego enthusiast with a sense of humour!

Novelty pageboy buttonhole by I Heart Buttons | Confetti.co.uk

Pageboy buttonhole by I Heart Buttons | Image by Lucie Hamilton Photography

Buttonholes for Weddings Abroad

For destination weddings, if you want to have fresh wedding flowers then these will need to be sourced overseas, usually by the wedding planner abroad. It’s worth taking advice, particularly in hot countries. If you want to have more control over the colours and styles of your wedding flowers then it’s worth considering silk or faux flowers which can be ordered in advance and taken overseas with you. In very hot and humid climates, silk flowers will not wilt or dry, and they can be kept as lasting keepsakes of the wedding.

For more wedding flower ideas please visit these expert professional florists.

Kate Thompson
Written by

Kate Thompson is the features editor and wedding expert at Confetti. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years and has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.

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