There’s plenty of wedding flower considerations aside from picking floral centerpieces and bridal bouquets. Wedding boutonnieres—a little flower accessory worn on the lapel of a jacket—should reflect the overall theme of the wedding and the person’s personality. While the term “boutonniere” may bring your mind back to high school prom corsage days, don’t be fooled; wedding boutonnieres can be as modern and creative as you like. And we’re here to help you with the best wedding boutonniere ideas.
In this article, you’ll find:
If you have flowers at your wedding, then yes, you do need to consider wedding boutonnieres, even if you decide to skip them. The colors, design, and flower choices in boutonnieres should all reflect your larger wedding theme. Wedding boutonnieres are a way for members of the wedding party to all look cohesive, even if they’re wearing different outfits. Plus, wedding boutonnieres make for a precious keepsake long after you say “I do.”
Are you convinced yet? If you’re unsure what a wedding boutonniere should look like, rest assured there’s plenty of inspiration waiting for you—including wedding boutonniere alternatives. We got all the options covered.
Wedding boutonnieres may be a physically small part of your wedding, but they’re incredibly special for those who wear them and will forever remain in wedding photos. There’s a lot to learn about wedding boutonnieres—including how to wear them, ideas and alternatives—and some important things to consider. Here’s what you need to know.
A wedding boutonniere is a small arrangement of flowers or a single flower that’s pinned to the left lapel of a suit or tuxedo jacket. This floral accessory typically matches the wedding flowers and pairs with wedding bouquets or corsages worn by other members of a wedding party.
In the past, the flower stems would go through the tiny buttonhole on a jacket’s lapel, giving “boutonniere” its name, which is French for buttonhole. Nowadays, boutonnieres are often fastened together with wiring or other materials like floral tape and then pinned to a jacket—not tucked through a buttonhole. It’s also become common for boutonnieres to be pinned to vests or dress shirts if a suit jacket isn’t worn, or even suspenders for more casual weddings.
In short, anyone can wear a wedding boutonniere should they so desire—including brides in suits. Some couples decide only the groom will sport a boutonniere, while others have the entire wedding party don matching ones. Regardless of what you decide, here are the folks who typically wear the traditional and timeless accessory:
What Flowers Are Used for Wedding Boutonnieres? Most often, the flowers used in a wedding boutonniere match the wedding flowers used throughout your big day—especially your partner’s arrangement. If your soon-to-be spouse is carrying a bridal bouquet filled with peonies and eucalyptus, a wedding boutonniere should incorporate those elements in some form. You want whatever flowers you choose in your wedding boutonniere to go with the aesthetic of the wedding as well as your outfit.
Because wedding boutonnieres are pinned directly to fabric, they mustn’t be too heavy, as you don’t want the flowers to droop or fall. Some flowers also sustain longer and are fine without water for hours. These include roses, orchids, and lilies. Foliage that lasts well out of water includes eucalyptus, monstera, and palm leaves, and foliage from conifers like spruce or pine.
Another thing to consider when choosing wedding flowers is the time (think month and season) of your wedding. Do you want a cozy fall wedding or a vibrant spring wedding? Regardless of when you’re getting hitched, opt for flowers that are in season. Picking seasonal wedding flowers is not only more cost-effective, but it also helps ensure you get the freshest blooms possible. There are also different color palettes that work best depending on the time of the year. Winter weddings, for example, tend to draw on deep reds and greens, whereas summer weddings are great for bold colors and full blooms. Some couples opt for artificial flowers as a more cost-effective and seasonally-diverse option.
Lastly, your wedding venue and location affect your wedding flower choices, too. If you’re having a destination wedding in Hawaii, for example, you’ll lean on local flowers like hibiscus. A rustic wedding at a barn or outdoors may call for succulents or wildflowers. Find inspiration from your surroundings and speak to florists for their advice. You don’t want to have an idea for a wedding boutonniere that uses flowers not easily available.
Like most things with weddings, it’s important to determine a budget before you start spending. Wedding flowers range in price, and so do wedding boutonnieres. But typically, expect to spend anywhere between $15 to $50 on each wedding boutonniere, depending on the flowers used and how many you’re ordering. A cost-effective approach to wedding flowers is mixing more affordable stems with a few higher-priced ones. That way, you’ll get your top-choice blooms without breaking the bank and having a more full-looking arrangement. It’s possible to have wedding flowers and elegant boutonnieres without blowing your budget—so long as you plan.
Most florists will create wedding boutonnieres and offer them in wedding flower packages or for an additional cost. They are small but can be time-consuming given their delicate nature. Ordering all of your flowers from the same place helps ensure that the wedding boutonnieres match bridal bouquets and centerpieces and can make delivery that much easier. As an alternative, you can also order wedding boutonnieres online or make your own. If you’re going the DIY route, be sure to create a few test boutonnieres ahead of your wedding day so you understand how the stems hold up over time.
Best practice is ordering wedding boutonnieres with your florist when you order your wedding flowers. It’s a good idea to start working with a florist nine to 10 months before your wedding date in order to make sure they’re available and meet your needs. If you’re ordering flowers online, some companies need at least 60 days' notice to fulfill your flower needs, so it’s always best to be early.
Another thing to consider? It’s a good idea to order a few “backup” wedding boutonnieres should one get damaged before the nuptials or in between the ceremony and reception.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk wedding boutonniere etiquette. Just like there’s general wedding etiquette that includes guests, gifts, and parents of the couple, there are some best practices and guidelines when it comes to flowers, too.
It’s typically up to the couple to organize and order wedding flowers, which includes wedding boutonnieres. On the day of your wedding, you can task a member of the wedding party, like the maid of honor or best man, to distribute wedding boutonnieres to the appropriate people. Sometimes florists, wedding planners, or wedding coordinators will also distribute wedding boutonnieres and help guests pin them onto their jackets. It’s up to you as a couple, but whatever you decide, be sure to communicate who’s organizing what. The last thing you need is miscommunication around wedding boutonnieres or other expensive florals.
Since wedding boutonnieres and corsages are typically included in wedding flower costs, it’s common for the couple (or whoever is footing the wedding flower bill) to pay for the accessories. That being said, there are no hard-and-fast “rules,” so some members of the wedding party may offer to pay for their boutonnieres as part of their wedding suit.
In short, yes. Your partner’s wedding boutonniere typically the bridal bouquet by using some of the same flowers and colors. A bouquet is made up of many stems, so of course, there’s no way to make a small-scale arrangement identical, but it should look like it’s part of the same family of flowers.
If all members of your wedding party are sporting a boutonniere, they can match one another (a logistically easier thing to do!), but they don't have to. Just like all groomsmen don’t need to wear matching suits, unique boutonnieres can add personality and visual interest to wedding outfits. The key thing to remember if you don't go the matching route, however, is to ensure all boutonnieres are within your wedding colors and look cohesive together. You don’t want one person to wear a bright pink boutonniere and another to sport one made with fall foliage.
Putting on a wedding boutonniere is pretty straightforward. First things first: know where to place your boutonniere. A wedding boutonniere goes on the left lapel of a jacket and parallel to the outer edge’s seam. It should be in the middle of the outer edge seam and the inner edge seam, just under the notch of the lapel. (Think middle of the left lapel, above the heart.) A wedding boutonniere is typically positioned lower than the tie and above the pocket square.
Once the boutonniere is in place on the lapel, now it’s time to securely pin it. The easiest way to pin it is to hold the boutonniere in place with one hand and lift the lapel, so you can reach the underneath of the fabric, gently folding the lapel over the boutonniere. This fold will create a taco-like shape. Then, use a pin—pushing away from the chest—to secure the flowers through the thickest part of the boutonniere. Some people pin in a straight line, upwards, while others pin on a slight diagonal. One solid pin usually does the trick, but if a boutonniere is extra heavy you may need a reinforcement pin.
Now that wedding boutonniere basics and etiquette are out of the way, it’s time to talk about wedding boutonniere ideas. There are endless options that are perfect for your style, wedding aesthetic, and personality. As we’ve said before, it’s important that your wedding boutonniere goes with the overall theme of your wedding and wedding flower choices.
Here are some classic, modern, and creative wedding boutonniere ideas to inspire you.
For couples planning a wedding with plenty of classic elements, you’ll likely draw on traditional decor and timeless floral options. Here are some wedding boutonniere ideas to go with your big day.
What’s more classic than roses? If your wedding flowers incorporate roses of any color, pulling a stem from the design and adding some timeless baby’s breath is a classic wedding boutonniere style.
Ranunculus flowers come in many different colors including pink, white, and orange, and are some of the most popular wedding flowers. They are relatively affordable and look effortless with eucalyptus—perfect for spring weddings.
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids, are stunning. They come in a variety of colors and are just a draw-dropping bud. White orchids are classic, and pink ones are ideal for beach weddings as they evoke a tropical look. A bit of greenery behind the flower completes the look.
Weddings are romantic by default, but you can turn up the love with some stems. Here are some wedding boutonniere ideas for events with modern or romantic themes.
Nothing says romantic countryside like lavender. Lavender not only smells amazing, but it also has a thin aesthetic that makes it the perfect flower for people who want a timeless yet subtle wedding boutonniere. Olive leaves are the perfect modern complement.
If you want a more subtle or laid-back wedding boutonniere, you can pass on flowers all together and opt for a design with different greenery. Think thistle, eucalyptus, ivy, and bay leaves. This modern design evokes effortless elegance.
Larkspurs are flowers loved for their vibrant pop of color and unique look. They’re great for boho weddings where your flower arrangements are leaning into subtle but gorgeous vibes. For country-style weddings, vintage-inspired affairs, or boho events, pair larkspur with wheat for a wedding boutonniere.
If you’re looking for a creative wedding boutonniere idea that will stand out—a wedding boutonniere is an accessory after all!—here are some options to consider.
Dried flowers are a great way to still have stems incorporated in your wedding boutonniere without worrying about wilting or drying out. Dried flower wedding boutonnieres work during any season but are especially great during the fall or winter.
Succulents are very popular at weddings. Whether it’s for decor, wedding bouquets, and yes, even boutonnieres, a succulent can last well out of the water making them ideal. They’re great for rustic or boho weddings.
Citrus plants with eucalyptus leaves evoke an Italian countryside vibe, making it perfect for destination weddings but also outdoor summer affairs. As a great aside, citrus and eucalyptus smell great.
This needs to be said: Wedding boutonnieres are not for everyone and if you choose not to have them at your wedding, that’s perfectly fine. Now, if you want a twist on a wedding boutonniere or a wedding boutonniere alternative, here are some ideas just for you.
Decorative pins make for a fantastic wedding boutonniere alternative and can be as creative as you like. Some people wear a heart pin or a creative button accessory, while others opt for a text-based pin that spells out a special message like a nickname or “groom.” These lapel pins can also be personal—some wedding pins are mini picture frames, so a photo of a loved one can be worn on your chest.
A feather wedding boutonniere is a great alternative idea that’s cost-effective and perfect for rustic or boho weddings. Another great thing about this wedding boutonniere alternative is that it doesn’t need water and will last long beyond your special day.
Veterans or military members may have special military medals or awards they’d like to wear in place of a wedding boutonniere. Some grooms may also wear a family member’s special medal or badge of honor to celebrate them and honor them on their wedding day.
Pocket watches are great wedding boutonniere alternatives for vintage-inspired weddings or if you have a meaningful pocket watch as a family heirloom. Pocket watches make for great wedding boutonniere alternatives as they sit close to where a wedding boutonniere would and can complement a suit. If a grandparent passed along the traditional accessory, it’s nice to wear it on your wedding day.
Want to use faux or fabric flowers instead of living blooms? Wedding boutonnieres can be made out of material, too. You can order a faux flower accessory online, or if you’re crafty, make one yourself. Be sure to make a few as a test before the big day.
We get it: Wedding planning involves a lot of moving parts—and flowers are just one of them. While wedding boutonnieres are a physically small part of your wedding day, it’s important to think about wedding boutonniere ideas early on, as they’re often ordered with your other wedding flowers, like bridal bouquets and corsages, and should match the overall theme of your wedding. Whether you decide only the groom will sport a wedding boutonniere or all members of the wedding party will wear one, be prepared and order them at least 60 days in advance.
Wedding boutonnieres are a great way to show off personality, incorporate flowers into a groom or bride’s look, and create an overall cohesive aesthetic with your soon-to-be spouse or other members of the wedding. Regardless of our style, there’s a wedding boutonniere idea—or alternative—for everyone.