Wedding Traditions: The Boutonniere

Virtually every groom who has stepped inside Woodrow Hall for their wedding reception has worn a small flower pinned to his left lapel.  But, most of them have struggled with attaching the flower and have had to have someone else, such as the florist, attach it due to their unfamiliarity with wearing this little flower.  This was not always the case.

The boutonniere has a long history as a male adornment.  Some historical accounts suggest that this “button flower” as the French call it (and from which the name derives), was a sign to a woman that the man was a confident but masculine gentleman and thus “safe” to be with.  Numerous portraits of European royalty show men wearing a boutonniere.  It was placed into the top button hole of a coat that had been left unbuttoned.

During previous centuries, coats actually had a small loop on the back of the lapel to hold the flower once the stem was placed through the button hole.  The boutonniere was considered a sign of well polished masculinity and was worn frequently in public by men.  Most of us remember photographs of Fred Astaire and Cary Grant and more recently, James Bond, wearing this button flower.

Today, boutonnieres are worn mainly to special occasions such as weddings and proms.  The groom’s boutonniere is typically a gift from the bride and matches in some way the color of the bridal party.  Boutonnieres are still a great way to celebrate your special day with a wedding reception at Woodrow Hall!

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