How to pin your flower button hole

4 minutes read

We’ve designed for so many wedding suits this year one major aspect our Grooms struggle to understand is how exactly does a flower button hole go on a lapel and where. We explain…

Fear no more as we have been given expert advice from the ladies who know how.

Anna Petterle of snowdrop weddings and events and Liz Inigo Jones of Blue sky flowers come to the rescue! Some years ago, long before I became a wedding planner, I found myself as a guest at a wedding, pinning a buttonhole to the suit of my boyfriend at the time, as he was the groom’s best man. Looking back at the photos, I had a funny feeling, something was not quite right… I had managed to pin the buttonhole to the inside of the suit’s pocket, and the poor little rose was desperately trying to poke its head out of the top, looking miserable.

Years later and lesson learned, here are some simple rules you can follow and tricks you can use to avoid my rookie mistake:

Where should the buttonhole go?

The buttonhole should be placed on the man’s left lapel, just above the heart and horizontally centred. The flowers should rest on or just below the widest part of the lapel. Position the stem so that it’s parallel to the edge of the lapel.

The how to:

There are several methods to secure the buttonhole to the lapel, the most popular in the UK is to use a round-headed pearl pin. Follow these easy steps and you will get a smart, flawless result:

1. Hold the buttonhole upright, making sure the flowers are pointing towards you.

2. Lay it flat on the left lapel in the right position, just above the heart.

3. Now, holding the buttonhole onto the lapel with your left hand, turn the lapel exposing the back.

4. With your right hand, thread the pin through the fabric and through the stem just below the flower heads. Finish by threading the pin back in the fabric, as if you were making a stitch, at a slight downward angle. Wiggle the buttonhole to make sure it’s well attached…and you are done!

Tip: it can be quite difficult to pin your own buttonhole to your suit, so follow these instructions before putting on the jacket or ask someone to help you! Also, if the buttonhole feels a bit on the heavy side, don’t be afraid to use a second pin to keep it in place. As I mentioned before, there are other solutions to attaching a button hole; a corsage clip pin for example or with a magnet on the buttonhole and a second one placed behind the lapel.

This last option doubles up as children entertainment and saved the day for one of my couples. Their very young and energetic son kept miraculously quiet throughout the ceremony, mesmerised by this new toy! I can recommend both this solution in specific situations if, for example, the buttonhole is to be worn by a very young usher, or if you are afraid the pin might damage the delicate fabric.

What is the best style of buttonhole?

Traditionally the groom’s buttonhole is slightly bigger than the one of best men and fathers of the bride and groom and often the design is made so that it feels more special. It’s a good idea to coordinate the choice of colours, flowers and foliage to the style of both the suit and the wedding and to complement the flowers in the bouquet. However, I believe it’s the perfect occasion for the groom to express his personality. I love the use of seed pods, succulents, berries and deep greens and other more masculine details together with flowers. One great rule at this stage is to keep an eye on the proportions of the buttonhole in relation to you and your suit style.

Which flowers look best?

You can use a variety of flowers for the buttonholes, provided they are not too delicate, as they will need to survive the entire day without water. Flowers with a woody stem are best, as the stem has to withstand being pierced. Also, keep allergies in mind and avoid overly scented flowers. The most traditional buttonholes are made with roses, carnations, lily of the valley or gardenias and look stunning and sophisticated. However, more and more couples choose to incorporate unusual and even exotic flowers in the design or get creative on the material used to cover the stems or even decide to utilise something completely different, ranging from vegetables to small objects, to feathers, handmade decorations, origami flowers, and even Lego toys.

Tip: Choose objects or ideas meaningful to you and your bride! What to do with the buttonholes after the wedding? There is no set tradition here, so you could donate it to your family as a memory of the day, air dry it upside down, or have it professionally preserved. An interesting option I recently came across is to have a beautiful and lasting print of your flowers made in clay, transforming your buttonhole (and your bouquet as well) in to a piece of art to cherish for years to come.

Image courtesy of Tactile Studio Written by Anna Petterle at Snowdrops Weddings and Events
Special contribution by Liz Inigo Jones at Blue Sky Flowers

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