Wedding Flowers for Guys

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © 10/06/2022
Categories: | Wedding Attire
previous     |    contents    |    next
Man wearing a grey
                        suit with a pink rose pinned to the lapel and a
                        white pocket square in the breast pocketHow do you pick the groom at a wedding? He's one of the one's sporting flowers on his lapel. Along with the groomsmen, both fathers, grandfathers, and other males the marrying couple wish to honour.

Boutonnières - What are they and why do men wear them?

It's a fancy word. French for buttonhole flower. Originally, just like wedding bouquet, people believed that wearing a flower in your buttonhole would protect you against evil spirits, bad luck, and diseases. Over the centuries the superstition has been forgotten, but the wearing of a boutonnière continued to be the mark of a well-dressed man into the 20th century. The floorwalkers (male supervisors) at big department stores like David Jones, wore pinstriped suits with a white carnation in their buttonhole into the 1960s, and one often sees photos of Prince Charles, even today, with a flower in his lapel. But for most men, now, boutonnières are reserved for formal occasions, especially weddings.

How to wear a buttonhole flower

When you look at a man's suit jacket, you'll see that there is a buttonhole stitched on the left lapel, the same side as the breast pocket, but none on the right one. There used to be a button under the right one so, on cold days, you could button up to keep warm. So, that's first question answered. Always on the left!

As it was meant to actually button up, the lapel buttonhole was cut open. And because men often wore a flower pushed through that buttonhole, there was a loop or latch at the back, about 3-5 cm below the buttonhole, that would hold the flower in place.

With the exception of very high end custom-tailored suits, the buttonhole is very often left uncut on modern suit jacktes, and there is no loop at the back. So the boutonnièrae needs to be pinned to the lapel. From the back of the lapel.  Alternatives are to attach a brooch back (available from bead shops and craft stores like Spotlight) or magnets, like those on many name badges. Your florist can provide these alternatives if you ask.

Choosing your buttonhole flowers

The traditional flower, when worn in the buttonhole, was a single carnation, white being regarded to be the most formal colour. For weddings, in a tradition harking back to mediaeval times, it became usual for the groom's buttonhole flower to be the flower most prominent in the bride's bouquet. So if she had pink roses, his buttonhole would be a pink rose.

Contemporary custom, though, has moved way beyond that, so it is a matter of personal choice, and boutonnieres are often made up of a mix of flowers and greenery. Groomsmen, and other significant males, may wear a scaled back version of the groom's boutonniere or something that complements it. And some couples link the flowers they wear or carry with the flowers worn by the men related to them.

When you are not wearing a jacket

In the Queensland climate, many choose not to wear a jacket to a wedding. So where do you pin the flowers? On the vest or suspenders, if you're wearing either of those, or directly onto the shirt. Always on the left side, over your heart.

A thin shirt might not give the boutonnière the support it needs, particularly if the flower heads are heavy. Here's a trick. Buy a square of felt in the same colour as the shirt, cut a rectangle large enough to securely pin through but not so large that it will be visible on either side of the flowers. Place it in position under the shirt fabric and pin the buttonhole through both layers.

Pocket Posy

  • Pocket posy made of Australian
                              native flowers and gumnuts and succulents
                              in autumn tonesAn alternative to a boutonniere is a pocket posy that fits into your jacket breast pocket in place of a pocket square. Generally these are made by attaching flowers to a piece of card that fits into the pocket, so that the flowers are visible . If you are a DIYer, these are so easy to make with dried or silk flowers, card, and a glue gun.

What if you don't want to wear flowers?

You don't have to! There are no rules. You might have noticed how often lapel pins are worn on business suits. It is up to you. I've had wedding parties who have worn a flower plus a pin reflecting the groom's interest in computer gaming. I've had a groom who wore a frog brooch to honour his mother and his interest in the environment. I've had groom's wear flag pin's honouring their national origin. And I  had one wedding party where the all wore big round badges (the kind you can make yourself with a kit and a borrowed badge maker). The groom's badge read I Do, while his groomsmen all wore a badge that read He Does. I couldn't help but grin madly every time I looked at them. And so did the guests. It was wonderful.

Related information

Thanks for reading!

Click to contact Jennifer Cram Brisbane
                            Marriage Celebrant
<    previous     |    contents    |    next   |   get in touch    >
pullin0  Things