The wedding dress code or theme is a formality that attendees should follow, but this formality is not a set-in-stone rule. However, it does add a sense of uniformity to the whole crowd, especially for the bride, the groom, the bridesmaid, and the groomsmen.
Although some receptions allow flexibility in wearing any outfit, it is still better for those invited to show some support by following the dress code. Certain etiquettes must be followed, especially for men.
Oftentimes, the groom, groomsmen, or even any male family members wear a specific type of floral accessory on their suits. It is called a boutonniere.
Hence, we wonder, do guys wear boutonnieres to weddings?
Every significant male generally wears boutonnieres at the reception. These include the groom, groomsmen, and other significant male family members. Boutonnieres are usually attached or pinned to a tuxedo lapel or suit. Hence, they are generally made for men.
Wearing boutonnieres to a wedding is not entirely a compulsory thing to do. It is totally up to the men whether to wear it or not. However, it does symbolize that the men who wear them carry some significant value to the groom, bride, or the couple’s families. Simply put, boutonnieres are a symbolic gesture of honor to the men wearing them.
Before diving in deeper, let’s look at what a boutonniere is.
What Is a Boutonniere?
A boutonniere is a type of floral decoration tucked into a suit, jacket, or tuxedo lapel.
It is usually worn on the left side of the jacket and close to the pocket handkerchief.
If you’re not wearing a blazer, coat, or tuxedo, you can pin the boutonniere on your shirt or vest.
Boutonnieres aren’t just limited to weddings and receptions. You can wear them for proms, galas, grand dinners, anniversaries, homecomings, and even funerals.
Back in the old days, boutonnieres consisted of fresh flowers. Instead of pins, the flower stem was pushed through the buttonhole on the lapel.
Where Did Boutonnieres Come From?
There is a slight misconception that flowers and masculinity don’t go well with one another.
However, historical evidence has proved that even the strongest and bravest men donned some sort of floral decoration for specific occasions.
Back during the ancient empire of the Aztecs, Romans, and Egyptians, flowers showed support or sportsmanship for the participants in the sporting events.
Spectators threw rose petals at gladiators that walked into the Colosseum before a fight.
Some scholars believed soldiers wore the first form of boutonniere on the battlefield during civil wars in England to distinguish the enemies and allies from each other. A specific color symbolized which side the soldiers were on.
During the 16th century, the French began to wear boutonnieres to deter bad luck and evil spirits. This is also where the word “boutonniere” came from, which means “buttonhole flower” in French.
At weddings, the grooms wore the boutonniere to mask their body odor and protect them from diseases and evil spirits.
In the 18th century, European men adopted new outfits due to the rise of fashion design. Different fabrics were used to make different outfits, such as jackets, frock coats, and breeches.
To add a sense of style, they wore large flowers at the top buttonhole of their frock coats. Men began to unfasten the top buttonhole to create a place where they could pin the boutonnieres.
During the 19th century, boutonnieres started to become more trendy and acceptable. In fact, a man who wore a boutonniere was perceived as someone meticulous who took care of his appearance.
Aesthetically, it was also easier to match different colored boutonnieres with other accessories, such as pocket handkerchiefs, watch chains, jeweled pins, bowties, and more.
Finally, today we still have the tradition of wearing boutonnieres to formal events. A boutonniere is one of the many timeless accessories that perfectly embody the values of masculinity and confidence.
Who Usually Wears Boutonnieres?
Men usually wear boutonnieres.
At weddings, these men include the groom, groomsmen, father of the groom, father of the bride, grandfathers, male ushers, or any close relatives from both families.
If the groom or the bride has a stepfather, there is nothing wrong with including him in the list. Any serving officiants, best friends, and even a person in charge of monitoring the whole reception can also wear a boutonniere.
For women, especially the bridesmaids or female family members, the boutonnieres are usually replaced with wrist or pin-on corsages and flower bouquets.
However, it is not compulsory for these young children to wear them. If you want to match the ring bearers’ outfit with the dress code, go for boutonnieres that are much smaller and suit their appearance.
You can also modify the design to match the ring bearer’s personality. If he is energetic and playful, go for something bright and colorful. But if he is more laid-back and shy, opt for colors that symbolize peace and serenity.
How to Wear Boutonnieres the Right Way
Wearing a boutonniere can be awkward if you don’t know how to style it properly. However, matching this floral accessory with your outfit is not complicated.
Here are some tips on how to wear boutonnieres the right way:
- Always remember that a boutonniere is placed on the left lapel of the coat, suit, or tuxedo. Simply put, it sits near and above the man’s heart and is close to the pocket handkerchief.
- Wear a jacket or coat with a functional buttonhole on the lapel if possible. This buttonhole will hold the flower stem. If you own the jacket and it doesn’t have a lapel buttonhole, have a tailor or seamstress add a buttonhole and a strong hand-stitched inner lining that can support the flower.
- You can still wear a boutonniere if your coat doesn’t have any buttonhole or functional hole on the lapel. To do this, you need a strong enough pin to hold the boutonniere. If possible, avoid large pins that are visible and could damage the texture of your jacket. Push the pin through the back of the lapel or directly through the flower’s stem. Ensure the pin penetrates the thickest part of the stem to ensure that the flower firmly attaches to the jacket.
- Choose the most suitable boutonnieres to wear according to the events. If the wedding theme requires you to dress formally, then choose a simple flower with a softer color. But if the ceremony allows you to wear something based on your preference, then you can go for exotic flowers with bright colors.
- You can wear a boutonniere on a shirt. But wearing a boutonniere on a shirt isn’t similar to wearing it on a jacket or a coat. This is because shirts are made from softer and much thinner materials such as cotton and wool, unlike formal wear. The safest way is to wear a shirt with a breast pocket. This is where you will pin the boutonniere. Also, try not to wear a large boutonniere that can move easily due to the softness of your shirt.
What Flower Should You Choose?
When choosing the best flower for the boutonniere, many flowers are available each season.
Depending on your budget, dress code, and the wedding’s theme, you should always pick the one that goes well with everything.
Here are some of the popular flowers that are being used for boutonnieres:
As a universal symbol of romantic love, roses are one of the popular choices of flowers that you can use for boutonnieres.
You can easily match white or red roses with any outfit.
Due to the large size of these flowers, you should pick a single rosebud that is smaller than its usual size. You can also pair a single rose with other beautiful small flowers such as a baby’s breath.
If you’re looking for flowers with a minimalistic element yet manage to radiate an air of elegance and purity, then ranunculus would be your best bet.
You can choose either a white ranunculus or an orange ranunculus.
Like most flowers, ranunculus needs to be rehydrated before using them to make boutonnieres. You can pair these flowers with small shrub foliage such as variegated Japanese Pittosporum to make the boutonnieres look fresher.
Carnations offer you a variety of colors, including white, red, pink, scarlet, and yellow. Each color also symbolizes a different meaning.
For instance, white symbolizes purity, red for love and affection, pink symbolizes gratitude, scarlet symbolizes capriciousness, and yellow for rejection or disappointment.
Hence, choose a white or red carnation if you believe the color directly influences anything.
You can also wrap these flowers with baby’s breath to make the boutonniere look fuller and fresher.
If you’re leaning toward something more exotic and wild, try orchids. Some popular varieties you can use for boutonnieres are Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, and Dendrobium.
Unlike other hardy flowers, orchids are much more sensitive to heat and can easily wilt. So, be sure to refresh these flowers frequently before attaching them to your coat.
You can also pair orchids with fern leaves to make them look more vibrant and lively.
Although thistles fall into the category of weeds, these unique, prickly plants can be an excellent choice for boutonnieres. Generally, dried thistles are more appropriate to be used for bridal decoration.
Unlike other fresh, petaled flowers, you can use these flowers for a more extended time. Even if they’re already dried, the color remains vibrant as when it is still fresh.
Other flowers that you can use for boutonnieres are:
- Spray roses
- Baby’s breath
- Sweet William
Boutonnieres are one of the many men’s wedding accessories pieces that can add a sense of elegance and chivalry to the overall appearance of the men wearing them.
Although they might not be suitable for a casual or beach wedding, you can still include them in your outfit in any way, shape, or form that suits you best. The most important thing is to style and wear them with confidence and conviction.