Its all about the buttonhole

As the wedding season is in full swing I have been busy making lots of buttonholes both for my fresh flower weddings and dried flower weddings that have been wizzing off all around the UK. Not only just a pretty little detail in your wedding flowers, the buttonhole has long history and traditions attached. Here is all you need to know:

  • Why buttonholes? 

Buttonholes originate from ancient times where it was believed men would wear a small bunch of fragrant flowers and herbs pinned close to their hearts to ward off evil spirits. In Medieval England, Knights of the Realm would wear their lady’s colours upon their chest to show everlasting love and commitment.

  • Who wears a buttonhole?

Traditionally the groom, best man and ushers all wear buttonholes. Some bride and grooms like to provide a buttonhole for all guests which are made available before the ceremony.

  • How to wear a buttonhole

There are a few traditions when it comes to wearing a buttonhole. Men wear their buttonhole on their left lapel. To attach the buttonhole insert the pin provided through its stem and into the fabric – trapping the stem in place. Aim the flower head upwards towards the left shoulder.

wedding flowers chichester

Traditionally ladies wear a buttonhole or corsage on their right. A classic multi headed corsage is often designed so the head pint downwards. Often worn by the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. It is popular now for ladies to wear a standard buttonhole with some additional spray flower or foliage touches. There are also some great alternatives for ladies to have a corsage attached to their bag, wrist or hat.

  • How to look after your buttonhole 

On receiving your fresh buttonholes keep them cool and out of direct sunlight. If it is a warm day you can keep them in fridge ensuring they are covered and completely away from any moisture or water. During the wedding day the buttonhole can sometimes become a little bit bruised from all the congratulatory hugs. A spare could be kept if your were super organised and had a late photo call, however most florists will use a firmer stronger flower that can withhold a bit of ‘love’.

If you have chosen dried flower buttonholes ideally store them in their original packaging away from heat, water and direct sunlight. Preferably order no more then two months before your big day to ensure colours are at their strongest.

  • Which flowers to choose 

According to the traditions mentioned buttonholes often feature the colours of the bride – meaning often using flowers and elements of the bouquet. A Rose is still the most popular choice, it can be mixed with foliage or smaller flower heads for interest and works well out of water. Current flower trends often feature a group mixed collection of flowers often using elements of the bridal bouquet. This style works well with more relaxed weddings and informal styling.

4 red rose corsages - Wedding Flowers

Dried flowers also lend themselves to this style very well. Grouped buttonhole flowers often include Lavender, Astrantia, Craspedia, Gypsophila, Aster and Spray Roses.

Other popular flowers include single stems of a Calla Lily which are favoured for glam weddings. Eryngiums are another favourite as they do great out of water. Once very popular the poor Carnation seems to be out of favour for today’s bride which is a shame as they are great cut flowers.  Generally speaking a woody stemmed flower will work well as a buttonhole and try to avoid very fleshy soft stems for longevity.

  • To wire or not?

This point is a technique one but some florists have differ on this. I personally wire the majority of my buttonholes, particularly Roses and single stem flowers. This enables a light buttonhole which in turn means less pulling on the fabric and easier to wear. It allows manipulation of the smaller elements and leaves. The floral tape used is designed to lock in moisture to help the flower last all day.

  • Dried or fresh? 

In most cases I would recommend fresh if you are having a fresh flower bouquet to achieve a cohesive look. However dried flower buttonholes work if you are having a destination wedding. Many airlines allow you to take them as hand luggage but always check before you fly. You may want out of season flowers – mini Sunflowers in December for example! Dried flowers are also perfect for any rustic or barn style wedding, think Lavender, Oats, Wheat and Delphiniums.

grooms buttohole dried rose

To conclude traditions are just that you do not have to stick to them. Ultimately choose the flowers you love and let your florist guide you along the way. Happy pinning




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