Boutonniere Etiquette – Who Wears Boutonnieres at a Wedding?
Updated: Mar 4
On this momentous occasion, along with the groom, groomsmen, and the significant guys in your life, are typically invited to wear a boutonniere at your wedding. The symbolic gesture represents the importance of your big day, the regard you have for your male guests, and how honored you are that they have joined in your celebration. They deserve to look handsome and dashing, and a buttonhole is the perfect way to help in that area.
Boutonniere etiquette recommends you consider boutonnieres for the following people:
Groom and Groomsmen
Another kind gesture is to extend boutonnieres to stepfathers and step grandfathers. Does your mother or grandmother have a male companion without the nuptials? If yes, consider including them as well, as Grandma will typically be more hurt than her companion that he was left out.
There is one last group of guests you should consider inviting to wear boutonnieres at your wedding: close family or friends that are helping with music or vocals, doing a reading, serving as officiants, and others that have had a special place in your heart over the years. For example, this might include your godfather, or a dear Uncle with whom who share special memories.
How to Pin on a Boutonniere
They actually make boutonniere pins, and if you are DIYing your own personal florals, you can purchase them at most hobby/craft stores. I prefer those that are about 1.5" long - not too long, but just enough length to do the job. I also plan on 2 per bout. This does a couple things for you. You have an extra pin for the larger bouts, as well as if one breaks, for example if the pearly end falls off. And on rare occasions you'll get a pin that is dull, and you'll fight for about 5 minutes with it before you realize that. Follow this diagram for easy pinning, and you'll be ready for the ceremony, party, and pictures!
Tips for Selecting Flowers for Wedding Boutonnieres
The guys boutonnieres show up in a few key photos for your big day, second only to the girls’ bouquets for flower photos that make their way into your wedding album. Give them the attention they deserve, with intricate details, textures, and color to match your overall theme. Here are some common approaches to deciding flower selections for the wedding boutonniere for the guys:
1. The groom and groomsmen boutonnieres typically reflect flowers and foliage found in the girls' bouquet, usually one or two of the smaller flowers as it needs to fit on their lapel or suspender.
2. The groom's boutonniere is typically a bit showier than the rest of the men that have been singled out for a buttonhole. It might be a more expensive flower, or larger in size, or both!
3. The ring bearer gets an age appropriate buttonhole for the day. If they are very small (1-2 years of age) I usually suggest a silk flower, only because I feel they are less likely to try and eat it! And of course, most ring bearer boutonnieres are smaller than the groomsmen.
4. The remaining guests (fathers, etc) that will be wearing boutonnieres can either match the groomsmen bouts or be further simplified to set the bridal party apart from other distinguished guests.
5. If you are leaning towards roses for the guys buttonholes, I recommend spray roses over standard roses. Yes, they are smaller, but feel that they offer more character when worked in with other flowers. They are also less likely to get bumped around, bruised, and beaten up during the day due to hugs, dancing, and other boisterous events.
6. My favorite last suggestion is to include lots of fine, intricate flowers and foliage in the boutonnieres, as this will add interest, textures, and colors to enhance their attire. Have fun selecting the perfect items for the guys’ boutonnieres!
Have specific questions on boutonnieres? Reach out with a comment, I’ll do my best to help you out! Thank you.
Best wishes for a beautiful wedding, filled with moments and memories with family and friends as you start your new life together!
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