Buttonholes – A History and How To!

A button hole can really make a difference to the groom, best men, ushers and father of the bride/groom’s suit at a wedding. It adds the finishing touch and provides a sense of style and continuity to the wedding party, as a whole.

There are several theories as to the origin of the buttonhole in weddings.  The oldest, as with many wedding traditions, dates to ancient Greece.  Male members of the wedding party would wear a small bunch of flowers, usually mixed with fragrant herbs, pinned close to their heart to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that these evil spirits would cause the groom to turn his heart against the bride and refuse to love her.

Another theory is that the buttonhole travelled to England during Medieval times; when Knights of the realm would wear their lady’s colours upon their chest to show their everlasting love and commitment.

Possibly the most romantic story is that of Prince Albert.  It is said that Queen Victoria presented him with a small bouquet on their wedding day.  Being the ultimate gentleman, he supposedly cut a hole in lapel right there and then and put the flowers in.  Leading to him requesting his tailor put a hole in all his lapels going forward and soon society gents followed suit.


So how should you wear your buttonhole and care for it on your wedding day?

1.  As with all flowers, keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible before they are worn. Store them somewhere cool and shaded (particularly on hot summer days).

2.  Traditionally buttonholes are worn on the left (because its above your heart!) on the outside of the buttonhole, not in the actual buttonhole.

Ensure that all the Groomsmen wear their buttonholes on the same side!

3.  The stems of the buttonholes should point downwards towards your shoes and the buttonhole should always lie flat against the lapel.

4.  Secure to your lapel with the pin provided. The single pearl-headed pin should be used to attach from the back of the lapel (behind the collar of the suit) – vertically down through the stem of the flower (like a stake).  Or you can push the pin though horizontally to the other side of the lapel.  By placing the pin at the back of the lapel, the pin will be invisible from the front.  Either way, ensure that your buttonhole/corsage stays secure in place sitting vertically and does not swing around or move.