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Steps to Pin on a Boutonniere

Updated: Apr 20

Boutonnieres are for special occasions, one of them being your wedding day. We know they are also popular for other important events and special occasions, such as prom, graduations, anniversaries and more. Let's cover all the bases for proper etiquette in attaching boutonnieres so there are no surprises. We'll break it down into a couple sections: what supplies you need, simple steps so you know where and how to pin the boutonniere to a jacket, and how to handle special situations.


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 pins that are about 1.5" long - not too long, but just enough length to do the job. I also plan on 2 pins per bout. This does a couple of things for you. You have an extra pin for the larger bouts - 2 are better than one. And if one pin breaks, for example if the pearly end falls off, you have a spare as well. 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 you need to swap it out for a new boutonniere pin.

Simple Steps to Pin on a Boutonniere

Follow this diagram for easy pinning, and you'll be ready for the ceremony, party, and pictures! If you are relying on family members to pin the boutonnieres on, print this diagram and share it with family members to help them out. The diagram is pretty detailed, but let's talk through what we're seeing.

The first thing you want to know is where does the boutonniere go? They are pinned to the front of the left lapel, which is the one closest to the man's heart. You'll also notice a buttonhole on the left lapel - near the top of the lapel. Position the bout around the area of the buttonhole and the boutonniere placement will be spot on.

To actually pin the bout, hold the stem of the flowers in place, typically with your left hand, and while grasping the boutonniere stem and lapel at the same time, flip the lapel over towards the left. At this point you are looking at the back of the lapel. You don't need a death grip on the lapel and the flower stems - a gentle grip will do! The goal is to begin pushing the pin from the back of the lapel, using a right to left, horizontal motion. Pass through the fabric to the front of the lapel, catching a bit of the boutonniere stem as you go right to left with the pin. You are actually trying to grab the thick part of the bout, typically the lower stem part. Continue right to left and through the fabric again to the back of the lapel. It's a bit of a weaving motion: through the fabric, catch the bout with the pin, and then back through the fabric again so the tip of the pin is sitting behind the lapel.

When this is done well, the pins are hidden from view while also securing the boutonniere. I almost religiously do 2 pins. Take a peek at the front of the lapel after each pin to insure that the pins are not visible to other guests. Again, very simple steps to pin on a boutonniere. Practice before your big day if you have any concerns! You are welcome to download this diagram and print it so you have it handy for anyone

Steps to Pin on a Wedding Boutonniere
Diagram for Steps to Pin on a Boutonniere

How to Handle Special Situations: Attaching Boutonnieres to Suspenders, Ring Bearers, and Pocket Boutonnieres

Sometimes the groomsmen have suspenders on without a jacket or vest. The suspenders are made of a stretchy fabric, without a lot of weight to them - so it's challenging to bury the point of the pin and feel confident that it won't poke one of the groomsmen. It helps to go vertically with the pin in an effort to insert the pinpoint into the suspender. If you go horizontally, it's more likely that the tip of the pin will escape the suspender due to the width of the strap. I'm always tempted to pin onto the shirt pocket, but there's nothing to prevent the suspender from bumping into the boutonniere and knocking it loose. I would stay away from pinning bouts to pockets.

If you know the guys are wearing suspenders with no jackets, then I would ask your florist to use a pin clasp in order to attach the boutonniere. This helpful tool has a locking pin that easily goes through the suspenders, then the locking pin is easily secured into the holder you see on the left side of the diagram. It provides confidence that the boutonniere will be safely attached without the chance of anyone getting poked.

Pin clasps are also a perfect solution for Ring Bearer Boutonnieres as well. It's secure and there are no worries that the little helpers will get poked. Again, I would ask your florist how they intend to handle securing the bouts for the little ones, so you don't have to worry about tears on your big day from a little ring bearer.

Boutonniere Pin Clasp
Boutonniere Pin Clasp

One remaining question is how do you handle attaching pocket boutonnieres? Most pocket bouts simply slide into the tux pockets. They don't use boutonniere pins to secure them in place. It is common, however, that your florist may attach double sided tape to the back of your pocket bout, which will anchor it in place against the back of the tux pocket. It's not necessary to do this in many cases, and may be used in situations where the pocket boutonniere is heavier than normal.


A little preparation will make pinning on boutonniere stress free for friends and family. Prepare your supplies, review steps to insure obtain a secure attachment, and practice pinning on those bouts ahead of time! And keep an eye out for unusual situations that may warrant a bit of extra caution.

Best wishes for a beautiful wedding, filled with moments and memories with family and friends as you start your new life together!


Have specific questions on boutonnieres? Reach out with a comment, I’ll do my best to help you out! Thank you.

See our Wedding Boutonniere Gallery here, and take advantage of our wedding flower checklist that will help you identify and plan for who will be adorned with a boutonniere at your wedding.

Would you like to connect with us? Request a free, no-obligation consultation here!

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