What Does a Boutonniere Symbolize? The Meanings and Significance of this Classic Accessory

A boutonniere may seem like a small accessory, but it holds a significant meaning that’s often overlooked. The truth is, a boutonniere symbolizes love, respect, and honor. It’s not just a decorative flower, but a representation of how much the wearer values the occasion and the people around them.

The tradition of wearing boutonnieres dates back to the 16th century. Back then, men would pin a flower to their lapel before facing battle to show that they were fighting for honor, courage, and love towards their country. Today, wearing a boutonniere still signifies the same values. It’s a way of saying, “I’m here to celebrate and honor you, and I want to show it in this small but meaningful way.”

From weddings to funerals, grand celebrations to small gatherings, a boutonniere is the perfect way to make a statement without saying a word. It’s a symbol of love, respect, and admiration that transcends words. So the next time you attend a special event, remember the power that wearing a boutonniere gives you. It’s a chance to convey your emotions without saying a word and to show others that you are present, lively, and engaged.

History of Boutonniere

The tradition of wearing a boutonniere dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, where wearing flowers and herbs in the form of garlands was a common practice. The word “boutonniere” is derived from the French word “bouton,” which means button, and referred to the practice of attaching a flower to the buttonhole of a coat or jacket.

During the 16th century, boutonnieres became a popular fashion accessory for men in Europe. It was a common practice for gentlemen to wear flowers on their lapels as a symbol of their wealth and social status. Floral boutonnieres were also used to mask unpleasant odors in the days before hygiene became a priority.

Boutonnieres continued to evolve throughout the Victorian era, where different flowers were associated with different meanings. For example, a red rose was seen as a symbol of love, while a white rose was associated with purity and innocence. In addition to roses, common flowers used in boutonnieres during this time included carnations, lilies, and violets.

  • The tradition of wearing boutonnieres dates back to ancient Greece and Rome
  • Boutonnieres became popular among European gentlemen in the 16th century
  • During the Victorian era, different flowers were associated with different meanings

Boutonniere vs Corsage

When it comes to floral accessories for special occasions, two famous options stand out: boutonnieres and corsages. These tiny floral arrangements serve a similar purpose, but there are some fundamental differences between them that you should be mindful of before choosing one for your event.

  • Location: One of the most significant differences between boutonnieres and corsages is their placement. Boutonnieres are worn on the lapel of a suit jacket or blazer, while corsages are typically worn on the wrist or pinned to the shoulder or waist.
  • Design: Since boutonnieres are small and are worn on the lapel, they tend to be simpler in design than corsages. Corsages, on the other hand, have more room for creativity and can be designed with a variety of flowers. They can also include ribbons, beads, and other embellishments.
  • Giving: Boutonnieres are traditionally given by the woman to her date, while corsages are given by men to their dates.

While there is no right or wrong option, it’s important to consider the occasion and the attire when choosing between a boutonniere or corsage. Boutonnieres are appropriate for formal events or weddings, while corsages are more suitable for proms or other formal dances.

Whether you choose a boutonniere or a corsage, one thing is for sure: both of these floral accessories symbolize love and affection. The tradition of wearing a boutonniere or corsage dates back hundreds of years and is still a popular custom at weddings, proms, and other formal events.

Worn on the lapelWorn on the wrist or pinned to the shoulder or waist
Simple designElaborate design
Given by the woman to her dateGiven by men to their dates

Overall, both boutonnieres and corsages are wonderful ways to add a touch of elegance and beauty to any special event. Whether you’re the one wearing it or giving it, these floral accessories symbolize love and affection, making them a meaningful addition to any special occasion.

Popular Flowers Used in Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres are a small yet significant accessory that adds a touch of elegance to any outfit. While it is customary for men to wear boutonnieres on special occasions such as weddings and proms, many people are unaware of the symbolism behind them.

Subtle details are what make boutonnieres special, and flowers are the main element that gives each boutonniere its unique personality. Below we’ll explore the popular flowers used in boutonnieres and their symbolic meanings.

  • Rose: The rose is perhaps the most commonly used flower in boutonnieres and symbolizes love and admiration. Depending on the color of the rose, it can also represent passion, friendship, or gratitude.
  • Carnation: Carnations are a popular choice due to their durability and come in a variety of colors. A red carnation traditionally represents love and admiration, while a white one symbolizes pure love and good luck.
  • Lily: Lilies are a popular choice for weddings and symbolize purity, innocence, and the beauty of youth. They are often used in white or pastel colors and can be mixed with other flowers to create a more intricate boutonniere.

Aside from these flowers, other popular choices for boutonnieres include orchids, sunflowers, and peonies. The key is to use flowers that are in season and complement the color scheme of the event.

When selecting a flower for a boutonniere, it is essential to consider the color and size of the bloom to ensure that it is proportionate to the lapel. In addition, it is crucial to understand the symbolism behind each blossom to choose a flower that reflects the wearer’s personality and the occasion.

RoseLove and admiration, passion, friendship, and gratitude
CarnationLove and admiration, pure love, and good luck
LilyPurity, innocence, and the beauty of youth
OrchidPurity, strength, and luxury
SunflowerAdoration, loyalty, and longevity
PeonyHappy life, happy marriage, and good health

Whether it’s for a wedding, prom, or any special occasion, a boutonniere adds a touch of elegance to any outfit. Understanding the symbolism behind each flower can help you select the perfect flower for your boutonniere and make a lasting impression.

Different Types of Boutonnieres

Just like weddings themselves, boutonnieres come in a variety of different styles and types. The type of boutonniere that a groom chooses will often depend on the season, the wedding theme or color scheme, and the groom’s style preferences. Here are some of the different types of boutonnieres:

  • Flower boutonnieres – these are the most common type of boutonniere and are often made with small flowers such as roses or carnations. They can be matched to the bride’s bouquet or the wedding colors.
  • Button boutonnieres – these are made using buttons or small pins, and are often a more casual option for weddings or other events.
  • Succulent boutonnieres – perfect for rustic or outdoor weddings, these boutonnieres feature small succulent plants and foliage.
  • Feather boutonnieres – for a more unique and daring option, some grooms opt for boutonnieres made from feathers or other materials.

If you’re unsure which type of boutonniere to choose, it can be helpful to talk to your wedding planner or florist. They can offer advice on which styles will work best with your wedding theme and what will look best on the groom and his groomsmen.

In addition to the type of boutonniere, grooms can also choose different details to customize their boutonnieres. These can include adding ribbons or small trinkets, or including special flowers or foliage that hold meaning to the couple.

Boutonniere TypeBest ForSeason
FlowerTraditional weddings or formal eventsAny
ButtonCasual weddings or outdoor eventsSpring or Summer
SucculentRustic or outdoor weddingsAny
FeatherDaring or alternative weddingsFall or Winter

No matter which type of boutonniere you choose, it’s important to consider the overall look and feel of the wedding. A well-chosen boutonniere can be a small detail that makes a big impact, so take the time to make the right choice for your big day.

Boutonnieres in Weddings

A wedding is a joyous occasion, celebrated with much enthusiasm and love. Boutonnieres, small floral arrangements worn on the coat lapel, serve as a representation of the groom and his party. Boutonnieres are a unique and creative way to add a touch of elegance, personality, and color to a wedding event. The history behind the use of boutonnieres dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, where men would wear floral arrangements as a symbol of victory and celebration.

  • The Boutonniere Tradition
  • In weddings, the bride’s bouquet may steal the show, but a groom’s boutonniere speaks volumes in its own way. The tradition of wearing boutonnieres in weddings is not only aesthetically pleasing but also symbolically significant. A boutonniere is a symbolic representation of the union between the bride and groom. It signifies the bond and the promise of a new life together. The groom’s boutonniere is often a smaller version of the bride’s bouquet with the same flowers, colors, and accents.
  • Choosing the Right Boutonniere
  • Choosing the right boutonniere is crucial, as it can add character and style to the groom’s attire. The right boutonniere must coordinate with the color scheme and floral arrangements of the wedding. It should also complement the groom’s attire, be it a traditional tuxedo or a modern suit. Grooms can choose from a wide range of boutonnieres, from traditional roses and lilies to more contemporary poppies and succulents.
  • The Number 5
  • The number 5 is significant in the world of weddings, and it includes the use of boutonnieres. Traditionally, boutonnieres are made up of five elements: a bloom, greenery, filler, ribbon, and pins. The bloom can be a flower of the groom’s choice, while greenery and filler are added to enhance the look and texture. The ribbon is wrapped around the stem of the bloom, and pins are used to secure it to the lapel.

In summary, boutonnieres add a touch of sophistication and elegance to a wedding. They serve as a symbol of the groom’s commitment to his bride, and the union they will share in love and matrimony. Therefore, choosing the right boutonniere is crucial, as it adds character and style to the groom’s attire. The number 5 is a significant element in the world of boutonnieres and weddings, where a bloom, greenery, filler, ribbon, and pins are used to create a small yet meaningful floral arrangement that will add to the beauty and significance of the day.

RoseLove, passion, and femininity
LilyPurity, innocence, and devotion
CarnationLove, admiration, and gratitude
SucculentStrength, endurance, and adaptability

The table above shows the symbolism behind some of the most popular flowers used in boutonnieres.

Colors and Meanings of Boutonnieres

A boutonniere is not just a simple accessory; it carries a lot of symbolism and meaning. The color and type of flower used in a boutonniere can represent different things, making it essential to choose carefully. In this article, we will delve into the different colors and meanings of boutonnieres to help you pick the right one for your occasion.

  • Red: Red is a color that signifies passion and love. A red boutonniere is a perfect choice for weddings and romantic occasions as it embodies love and affection.
  • Pink: Pink represents gentleness and grace. It is a symbol of friendship, admiration, and gratitude. A pink boutonniere is an excellent choice for appreciation ceremonies, baby showers, and birthdays.
  • Yellow: Yellow is a color that represents friendship, positive vibes, and new beginnings. A yellow boutonniere is perfect for events such as graduations, promotions, and other celebrations of new beginnings.
  • White: White symbolizes purity, innocence, and everlasting love. A white boutonniere is a perfect option for weddings, religious occasions, and funerals.
  • Purple: Purple represents royalty, luxury, and elegance. It is an excellent choice for high-end events such as galas and formal dinners.
  • Orange: Orange represents enthusiasm, passion, and energy. An orange boutonniere is a great option for events such as sports games, rallies, and other high-energy occasions.

Aside from the color, the type of flower used in a boutonniere can also portray different meanings and emotions. Below is a table that highlights some of the most common flowers used in boutonnieres and their symbolism.

RoseLove and appreciation
LilyPurity and innocence
CarnationAdmiration and fascination
OrchidLuxury and elegance
SunflowerHappiness and positivity
DaisyFriendship and loyalty
TulipGrace and elegance

Knowing the symbolism and meaning behind the colors and flowers used in boutonnieres can help you make a more informed decision when choosing one for your event. Remember, a boutonniere is not just an accessory; it is a symbol that can convey emotions and messages to those around you.

Boutonniere Placement on Attire

While the boutonniere may seem like a small detail in a wedding or formal occasion, its placement on attire is crucial to ensure it looks its best and symbolizes the appropriate meaning. Here we will discuss the different placement options to help you make the right decision for your big event.

  • Left Lapel: The most common placement for a boutonniere is on the left lapel of a jacket or suit. This tradition dates back to the 19th century when British military officers would wear flowers as a symbol of rank and position. The boutonniere should be placed about an inch below the collar and in line with the buttonhole.
  • Right Lapel: Although less common, some prefer to wear their boutonniere on the right lapel. This is a personal preference and can add a unique touch to the attire. The same placement guidelines apply here, with the boutonniere being worn an inch below the collar and in line with the buttonhole.
  • Pocket: Another option for boutonniere placement is in the jacket pocket. This is a more casual option and is best suited for events such as outdoor weddings or summer parties. The boutonniere should be placed upright and towards the front.

Symbolism of the Number 7

Did you know that the number of flowers in a boutonniere can hold significance? The tradition of wearing a boutonniere with seven flowers stems from the Samurai culture of Japan. They believed that the number seven brought luck and prosperity. Today, seven flowers are often used as a symbol of good luck or as a tribute to the samurai culture.

Number of FlowersSymbolism
1Simplicity or purity
3Wish for happiness, wealth and longevity
5Well wishes for health and success
7Luck or tribute to Samurai culture

No matter where you decide to place your boutonniere or how many flowers it holds, it is a timeless symbol of elegance and tradition. By understanding its placement and the symbolism behind it, you can make a statement that not only looks great but also holds deeper meaning.

DIY Boutonnieres

If you’re considering making your own boutonnieres for your event, you’re not alone. DIY boutonnieres have become popular due to the increasing number of couples looking to personalize their wedding, saving money, and creating something unique. With the right materials and a little creativity, you can make the perfect boutonniere for your big day.

  • Materials: Start by gathering all the necessary materials. You will need fresh flowers or other natural elements such as leaves or herbs, floral wire, floral tape, scissors, and ribbon.
  • Design: Decide on the style of boutonniere you would like to create. Would you want a single stem or a cluster of flowers? What colors will complement the suit or dress?
  • Assembly: Once you have selected your materials and design, it’s time to assemble the boutonniere. Begin by cutting the stem of the flower to about 2 inches long. Using the floral wire, secure the stem to create a base. Next, begin to layer the flowers and other natural elements, securing each layer with floral tape. Wrap with ribbon to finish the look.

DIY boutonnieres allow you to experiment with different designs and express your creativity. Not to mention, it can be a fun and enjoyable activity to do with your wedding party in the days leading up to your big event.

But, if you’re worried about potentially ruining the boutonniere or not having enough time before the wedding, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. The experienced florists can offer guidance, help with selecting the right materials, and ensure that the boutonniere will look perfect on your special day.

Boutonnieres in Proms and Homecomings

Boutonnieres have long been a staple in proms and homecomings. They are a traditional and elegant accessory worn by men to complement their formal attire. Boutonnieres are not just simple decorative pieces, but they also have a deeper meaning and symbolism behind them.

  • Symbolism: The boutonniere is a symbol of a man’s honor, courage, and respect. It signifies his bravery and chivalry towards his date or the person he is accompanying. The flowers are carefully selected, usually based on personal preferences, to represent the wearer’s personality and character.
  • Number 9: The number of flowers in the boutonniere also holds meaning. When nine flowers are used, it signifies eternal love. This is usually reserved for special occasions, such as weddings or proms.
  • Colors: The colors of the flowers also have their own symbolism. Red represents love, white represents purity, pink represents appreciation, and yellow represents friendship. The color choice often reflects the wearer’s feelings towards their date or the occasion.

It’s important to note that not all boutonnieres are created equal. Some may opt for non-floral boutonnieres, such as feathers or pins, for a more unique look and style. Regardless of the material used, the boutonniere should always be pinned to the left lapel, close to the heart.

In summary, the boutonniere is more than just a decorative addition to a man’s formal attire. It holds symbolic meaning and significance that dates back centuries. It’s a small yet powerful way for men to showcase their respect, honor, and admiration towards their date or the person they are accompanying.

Number of FlowersSymbolism
OneSimplicity and elegance.
TwoBalance and harmony, also symbolizes the couple.
ThreeRepresents the Holy Trinity.
FourRepresents the seasons and the four elements.
FiveRepresents the five senses and the pentagon shape, which symbolizes perfection and balance.
SixSymbolizes luck, happiness, and success.
SevenSymbolizes the days of the week and the rainbow.
EightSymbolizes infinity, abundance, and prosperity.
NineSymbolizes eternal love.

Boutonniere Etiquette and Tradition

Wearing a boutonniere is a time-honored tradition that dates back to ancient times. Boutonnieres are typically worn on the left lapel of a jacket or suit and are frequently seen at weddings, proms, and other special events. They add an elegant and refined touch to any outfit, and they are often chosen to match the colors of the event or the wearer’s attire.

Boutonniere Etiquette

  • When wearing a boutonniere, it should always be placed on the left lapel of the jacket.
  • It is important to choose a boutonniere that matches the color scheme of the event or the clothing worn.
  • A boutonniere should be worn on formal occasions like weddings, proms, and other special events.
  • A gentleman should give his date or partner a boutonniere to wear as a symbol of his respect and admiration.
  • It is courteous to remove a boutonniere before sitting down so as not to damage it.
  • When attending a funeral, a simple white boutonniere is appropriate to wear in remembrance of the deceased.
  • It is considered bad luck to wear a wilted or dead boutonniere.
  • A boutonniere should never be pinned to a T-shirt or polo shirt; it is meant to adorn a suit or jacket lapel.
  • It is appropriate to wear a boutonniere even if your date or partner is not wearing one.
  • Remember to thank the person who gave you the boutonniere and express your appreciation for their gesture.

Boutonniere Tradition

The boutonniere has a long history of symbolism and tradition. Originally, the boutonniere was worn by men to ward off bad luck and protect them from evil spirits. In medieval times, it was customary for knights to wear their lady’s colors in a boutonniere as a symbol of their devotion. Today, boutonnieres are commonly worn to signal a special occasion, such as a wedding or prom.

A specific type and number of flowers can also hold symbolic meaning when it comes to a boutonniere. For example, a rose represents love and passion, while a carnation symbolizes admiration and affection. If you are wearing a boutonniere with multiple flowers, it is important to consider what each flower represents and what message you want to convey.

RoseLove and passion
CarnationAdmiration and affection
Lily of the ValleyHumility and sweetness
LavenderDevotion and grace

Whether you are attending a wedding, a prom, or another special occasion, a well-crafted boutonniere can add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your formal attire. By following boutonniere etiquette and considering the symbolism behind the flowers you choose, you can create a meaningful and personalized look that will leave a lasting impression on those around you.

What Does a Boutonniere Symbolize?

Q: What is a boutonniere?
A: A boutonniere is a small flower (or sometimes a group of flowers) that is typically worn by men on the lapel of a suit or tuxedo.

Q: What occasions call for a boutonniere?
A: Boutonnieres are often worn at formal events, such as weddings, proms, or other special occasions.

Q: What does a boutonniere symbolize?
A: A boutonniere is typically symbolic of love, honor, and celebration.

Q: What do different types of flowers in a boutonniere symbolize?
A: Different types of flowers can have different symbolic meanings. For example, a white rose can symbolize purity and innocence, while a red rose can symbolize love and passion.

Q: Can women wear boutonnieres?
A: Yes, women can certainly wear boutonnieres if they choose to do so.

Q: How can I match a boutonniere to my outfit?
A: You can choose a boutonniere that matches the color of your suit or tuxedo, or you can select a contrasting color to make a statement.

Q: Do I need to wear a boutonniere at a formal event?
A: While it’s not necessarily required, wearing a boutonniere can be a nice touch to complete your formal look and show respect for the occasion.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know what a boutonniere symbolizes, you can wear one with confidence at your next formal event. Whether you choose a classic rose or a unique flower that has personal meaning to you, your boutonniere can be a meaningful accessory that adds flair to your outfit. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to come back soon for more lifestyle tips and advice!