How to Pin a Boutonniere: Perfect Placement in 3 Easy Steps
By Diana Ganz on 2017-11-07
One of the most common mistakes men make when getting ready on their big day is poor boutonniere placement. We’ve seen it everywhere from the center of their lapel to inside the front pocket of their jacket. When you think about it, it’s understandable that this may be confusing. After all, how often do you wear a boutonniere? Maybe a couple times a year if you’re a party animal, but most will only wear a boutonniere a few times in their lifetime. All it takes is one person to be an expert in boutonniere placement and after this article, you’ll be that guy.
#1: It's All About the Placement
The key to wearing a boutonniere is proper placement. Boutonnieres are always placed on the left lapel of your jacket. Almost all suit lapels will have a button hole which makes finding the right spot really easy as the boutonniere will be placed directly over it. Specifically, the largest part of the flower will be placed over the hole with the base of the flower where the ribbon covered stem begins laying on the lapel below the button hole. The stem of the boutonniere should be aligned with the sides of the lapel so it angles in the same direction. Fun Fact: Boutonniere is French for button hole which was originally designed to let men stick single flowers through their lapel.
#2: Get the Right Grip
Placing your thumb under the backside of the lapel, use your index and middle finger to pinch the stem and lapel together. Be firm with this to ensure the flower doesn’t move as you turn the lapel over to start the pinning process. As you’re about to discover, all the action happens behind the lapel so it’s important have a good hold on both the boutonniere and the lapel.
#3: Stick It!
Once the boutonniere is firmly placed and you have a good hold on it, you will gently fold the lapel back exposing the underside of the lapel. From the outer edge of the lapel, you will push the pin through the fabric into the top of the ribbon covered stem. You will continue to push the pin through the stem towards the inner edge of the lapel until it reappears through the fabric under the lapel. To make sure you don’t poke the gentleman you’re pinning, it’s best to keep the lapel folded back to ensure the pin is only going through the fabric on the underside of the lapel and not through additional layers of his suit, shirt and skin.
When done, the needle will look like a single stitch on the underside of the lapel that goes through the boutonniere. With the right pin placement through the top of the stem where it is thickest, one pin should be sufficient. If you have a really large or heavy boutonniere, you may want to consider using two pins. The second would go a ½” below the first one.
- What if you don’t have a button hole? Because tuxedos have a satin lapel, they don’t have this helpful landmark. For notch lapel tuxedos, you can use the bottom edge of the notch where the satin fabric begins as a guide and center the base of the flower/start of the ribbon covered stem about 1.5” from the top of this satin edge of the lapel. Shawl lapels are a bit more difficult because they are one continuous piece of satin. For this reason, we look to the buttons on the shirt to guide placement, specifically the second button from the top of the shirt. This will be the highest fully exposed button. On a shawl lapel, the boutonniere should be placed with the base of the flower even to this button with the stem aligned with the lapel edges.
- Does it matter if you don’t pin it toward the top of the stem? Yes, it does matter. Pinning it in the middle of the stem is not a secure placement and will cause the flower to flop around. Putting the pin through the top of the stem where the ribbon begins and stems are thickest is the most secure position.
- What is the right size? The flowers used in the boutonnieres should complement the bridal bouquets and also compliment the size of the gentleman wearing it. For example, a small rose on its own may not look fitting on a larger groomsman, but may be perfect for the ring bearer.
- How do we incorporate the colors of wedding? There are so many ways to incorporate wedding colors into your florals. Flowers vary by season and you have probably chosen your wedding colors based on the time of year and formality of your event. For example, burgundy bridesmaids’ dresses are stunning next to a groomsman in a black suit with a burgundy calla lily boutonniere. Color can also be added in the ribbon choice.
- How do I care for my boutonniere before the wedding? Ideally, your florist will deliver your boutonnieres and other flowers day of, right before they are ready to be attached to your jacket. If they are in your possession the night before, store them gently in the refrigerator close to the door. If you need to freshen them up day of, use a spray bottle to spray cool water on the stem and gently dry on a tissue before placing on your suit or tuxedo.
- Can a boutonniere be worn along with a pocket square? Yes. Although many couples choose one or the other, there is no reason a boutonniere and a pocket square can’t complement one another.