Buttonholes, Boutonnieres, Corsages and how to wear them.
Something that I'm asked a lot at weddings and I do mean a lot, is "how the.... are you meant to wear these things?" A quick Google search doesn't really seem to help with clearing things up either, there's various different opinions on what's right and what's wrong, it does feel as though it's pretty much wear them however you want, it is your wedding day after all, but as this is a Bride's Guide Blog, here's the general consensus...
So who wears them then?
Traditionally, buttonholes are worn by the men in the wedding party, The Groom, Best Man and his Ushers, Page Boys, Father of the Bride and the Groom's Father. Anyone who is in the wedding party and wearing a formal wedding suit matching all of the others really. However, the Groom's buttonhole is often that little but different to the rest of the Groomsmen, making it more unique and ensuring that he stands out from the rest of the wedding party and giving him his own special look but still tying him in with the theme of the wedding and the Bridal bouquets.
Also normally wearing flowers are the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom, they often wear a similar, special floral decoration called a corsage that is either pinned to their outfit or on their wrist and tied with a ribbon.
It might be an idea to stop there otherwise it can get a bit out of hand but then it depends on your budget, if it's a smaller wedding, you might want to consider a buttonhole for all of the guests in keeping with your chosen theme.
So how do the men wear them?
It is quite funny watching the men standing there holding a tiny little flower in one hand and a pin in the other looking lost, confused and hoping for help, usually from one of the female wedding guests! The men wear the buttonhole on the left lapel of their suits and where there is a hole in the material then the stem of the flower can be pushed through the hole and secured with a long pin at the back of the lapel but often, the buttonhole doesn't sit quite right. It's more common when it comes to suits that the buttonhole is there just for decoration and is stitched to make it look as though it is a buttonhole and if that is the case then the stem will need to be pinned to the front of the lapel. Again it's personal preference, many people prefer to have the stem on the outside even if they have a suit with an actual buttonhole, it really does help ensure the flower sits correctly against the lapel, whichever you go for though, the flower head should always point upwards towards the man's left shoulder and the stem down. If it is a suit where the stem is going to be visible then they can be tied and decorated with a ribbon to match the main wedding colours.
Push the pin from the back of the lapel through to the front, trap the stem of the flower between the pin and the lapel and finally push the pin back through the lapel so you can't see the point or..... if you want the pin to be decorative just do the opposite, personal taste again, just make sure the flower is pinned tightly to the lapel, one thing to always remember though, is to ensure the pin is close enough to the top of the flower so it doesn't tip forward from being so top heavy. They're fiddly little things to put on but really do help with keeping the wedding theme.
Ok that's the men sorted, what about the ladies?
Ladies on the other hand quite often wear them the opposite way around to the men, they wear their corsage pinned on the right hand side of their outfit with the stem facing upwards towards the shoulder and the flower head pointing down. This is usually because the flower can be top heavy and because ladies are often wearing thinner, softer material the flower can end up pulling the material down and the flower will sit better on the bosom apparently!
One final tip...
Make sure you've got enough of them to start with, it does happen! So count up the guests that you want wearing them and it'll definitely be worth ordering 2 or 3 more buttonholes and pins than you'll need on the day, you can pretty much guarantee that the one the Groom starts out with on the day will end up crushed from all of the congratulatory hugging, especially after the ceremony, so he can just pop on one of the spares for the formal photographs, speeches and definitely by the time you're ready for your first dance they'll be looking a bit sorry for themselves.
So whatever you do, don't worry about it, it's all pretty much personal taste, there's no right or wrong to it, it's your day so just go with what you prefer!
HERE'S A BONUS TIP FOR FREE!!
Whatever you do, don't chose a buttonhole that is just far, far too big!!