Are Boutonnieres Necessary for a Wedding? The Complete Guide

Last Updated on June 23, 2024 by Jo

Join us as we delve into the world of weddings and why are boutonnieres necessary for weddings and uncover their role in today’s celebrations.

Boutonnieres are a classic wedding tradition, but are they really necessary?

In this exploration, we embark on a quest to unravel the significance of boutonnieres in modern weddings, weighing tradition against personal preference, and helping you decide whether these tiny adornments are essential for your special day.

This guide covers everything you need to know about boutonnieres – from their history and meaning to whether you actually need them for your big day.

History and Tradition of the Boutonniere

The boutonniere has a long history and tradition associated with weddings. Originally worn by French noblemen in the Middle Ages, boutonnieres symbolized love and commitment. Over time, the tradition spread and boutonnieres became a staple for grooms and groomsmen.

Wearing a boutonniere signifies being part of the wedding party and honors the marriage. While not mandatory, boutonnieres add a classic touch that nods to tradition.

Who Traditionally Wears a Boutonniere at Weddings

Boutonniere at Weddings

Photo: Canva

At a traditional wedding, the groom, groomsmen, fathers of the bride and groom, and the ring bearer would wear boutonnieres. The groom’s boutonniere is usually more elaborate or distinct from the others. For example, it may feature more flowers or have additional embellishments. The groomsmen and other men at the wedding party would wear matching boutonnieres that coordinate with the style and flowers of the bridal bouquets.

Fathers of the couple may wear a boutonniere that matches the groom’s or wedding colors. The ring bearer’s boutonniere is typically a smaller version of the groomsmen’s boutonnieres. While tradition dictates these men wear boutonnieres, it’s ultimately up to the couple to decide who they want to give them to.

Meaning and Symbolism of the Boutonniere

Boutonnieres are rich in meaning and symbolism. The floral boutonniere dates back to medieval times when knights would wear their lady’s colors into battle. This tradition evolved into grooms wearing a boutonniere to represent his love.

The flowers and herbs used often have symbolic meaning as well. Red roses represent passionate love, baby’s breath is for innocence, and thyme symbolizes courage and strength. The circular shape formed as the stem is threaded through the lapel also represents never-ending love and commitment.

Beyond the flowers, the act of pinning on the boutonniere is a time-honored tradition where the groom gets a moment with loved ones before the wedding. Overall, the boutonniere has deep roots in honoring love and marriage.

Boutonniere Alternatives for the Groom

While the floral boutonniere is a staple, there are other unique options for grooms these days. Miniature sports jerseys pinned to the lapel show team pride. Small framed photos of loved ones keep them close on the big day.

For the tech-savvy groom, a boutonniere made of circuit boards and chips brings personality. The bolder groom may opt for a boutonniere of chili peppers or hot sauce bottles. For an eco-friendly look, boutonnieres can be created from succulents, air plants, or natural elements like feathers or antlers.

Ultimately, the boutonniere is a chance for the groom to express his style. Whether traditional or unexpected, it’s a detail that makes the day special.

Should the Groom Wear a Boutonniere? Pros and Cons

When considering whether the groom should wear a boutonniere, there are pros and cons to weigh. On the plus side, the boutonniere is a time-honored tradition that adds a dash of elegance and polish to the groom’s look. It also nicely complements the bride’s bouquet.

Additionally, it serves as a subtle identifier that sets the groom apart from the other men in the wedding party. However, boutonnieres can feel a bit old-fashioned or formal for some modern, casual weddings. The pins can snag and damage the groom’s attire. Allergies can also be a concern for grooms sensitive to certain flowers or plants. The cost might be a factor too, especially if fresh flowers are used.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. For grooms who value tradition, a classic floral boutonniere is a meaningful touch. For those who want a more modern, laid-back look, forgoing the boutonniere is perfectly fine too.

Do Groomsmen Need Boutonnieres?

When it comes to whether groomsmen need boutonnieres, there are a few factors to consider. Unlike the groom’s boutonniere which is more of a tradition, boutonnieres for groomsmen are optional. Some couples want their groomsmen to have them coordinate with the bridal party’s floral accessories. Matching boutonnieres can give the groomsmen a cohesive, polished look.

However, boutonnieres may not suit the vibe of a more casual wedding. The cost can also add up quickly if there are several groomsmen. Allergies may be a concern too. Ultimately, it comes down to the couple’s vision for the wedding aesthetics and attire.

If a coordinated, formal look is preferred, boutonnieres for the groomsmen make sense. But if the wedding has a more relaxed vibe, groomsmen can likely forego the boutonnieres without taking away from the day.

Boutonnieres for Fathers of the Bride and Groom

When planning wedding attire and accessories, don’t forget the fathers of the bride and groom! Traditionally, these two important men in the wedding party wear boutonnieres to signify their roles. The fathers’ boutonnieres are often different from the groomsmen’s. Opt for a slightly larger or more ornate flower to distinguish them.

Color can also set them apart – choose something that coordinates with the bridal bouquet and groomsmen’s selections. Beyond tradition, a boutonniere is a nice way to honor the bride and groom’s fathers. Not only does it make them stand out, but it’s a thoughtful gesture and photo keepsake.

Discuss options with your florist to create special boutonnieres that reflect their relationship to you and suit their style. With so much focus on bridal party looks, don’t overlook these VIP guests!

When Are Boutonnieres Unnecessary?

While boutonnieres are a traditional wedding accessory, they aren’t always needed. For casual backyard weddings or beach elopements, you may want to skip boutonnieres altogether. The laidback vibe doesn’t call for formal flourishes. Boutonnieres also aren’t necessary if your groom isn’t wearing a tuxedo or formal suit. With an open collar shirt or linen ensemble, a boutonniere would look out of place.

Additionally, boutonnieres may be nixed for budget reasons. Florals are one of the biggest wedding expenses, so cutting boutonnieres can offer welcome savings. If you’re crafty, you can make your own boutonnieres with ribbons and pins. But if time is short, it’s reasonable to drop boutonnieres from your checklist. Focus your floral funds on statement pieces like ceremony arrangements instead.

While traditional, boutonnieres aren’t absolutely essential. Consider your wedding style, attire, and budget when deciding. You can embrace or forgo this custom and still have a beautiful, meaningful celebration.

Modern Boutonniere Trends and Styles

Boutonnieres may be classic, but they don’t have to be boring. Modern grooms are exploring creative boutonniere alternatives to standard rose or carnation versions:

Succulents: Mini succulents like echeveria and sedum make trendy, lush boutonnieres. They last longer than flowers and add unique texture.

Herbs: Rosemary, thyme, and other hearty herb sprigs infuse rustic aroma into boutonnieres.

Greenery: Ferns, vines, leaves, and other greens create organic boutonnieres with lots of movement.

Dried flowers: Everlasting blooms like statice and xeranthemum craft crisp, delicate boutonnieres.

Wood: Thin wood slices add natural elegance and a unique silhouette to boutonnieres.

The great thing about boutonnieres is you’re not locked into one style. Mix and match elements like succulents, berries, herbs, dried flowers, and more to design a custom boutonniere that reflects your personality and wedding style.

How to Make Your Own Boutonniere

Looking to DIY your boutonniere? With a few simple supplies, you can create a customized accessory that coordinates with your wedding style.

Start by gathering your main boutonniere components – this could be flowers, greenery, herbs, succulents, etc. Be sure to pick elements that will hold up throughout your wedding day. Delicate flowers like orchids won’t fare as well as heartier blooms like roses or carnations.

Next, cut flower stems and arrange elements until you’re happy with the look. Use floral tape to securely bind at the base. Trim any excess stem length.

Add a pin back or wire loops to the back of the boutonniere so it can be easily attached to your suit. Consider wrapping the base of the boutonniere in floral tape to give it a polished finish.

Store your finished boutonniere in the refrigerator until it’s time to pin it on. The cool temperature will help keep flowers and greenery fresh.

With a homemade boutonniere, you can infuse personal flair into your wedding day style. Let your creativity run wild!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need boutonnieres at the wedding?

Boutonnieres are not absolutely necessary for a wedding, but they are a nice traditional touch. Most grooms opt to wear a boutonniere as it is a classic wedding accessory. Boutonnieres are also commonly worn by fathers of the bride and groom, ring bearers, and groomsmen. Ultimately the decision comes down to personal preference.

Do groomsmen really need boutonnieres?

While boutonnieres are not required, they are traditionally worn by groomsmen. The boutonniere is a way to distinguish the groomsmen and tie their look together with the groom’s. If you want your groomsmen to match the groom, boutonnieres are recommended. However, you can certainly have groomsmen forego boutonnieres if desired.

Can you skip boutonniere?

Yes, you can absolutely skip the boutonniere tradition if you prefer. With more relaxed and untraditional weddings becoming popular, rules around accessories like boutonnieres are not as strict. The groom could wear a pocket square or another accessory rather than a boutonniere if he wishes.

Do guys still wear boutonnieres for weddings?

Most grooms still opt to wear a boutonniere for their wedding day. Though not required, boutonnieres remain a staple wedding tradition for men. Grooms often match their boutonniere to the bride’s bouquet. Groomsmen, fathers, ring bearers also commonly wear boutonnieres that coordinate with the wedding flowers.


While not strictly necessary, boutonnieres are a classic wedding tradition for the groom, groomsmen, fathers, and ring bearers. They offer a polished, formal look and help tie the men’s wedding attire together. Most grooms still choose to wear a boutonniere to match the bride’s bouquet.

They can certainly be skipped, but boutonnieres do add a nice traditional touch to men’s wedding style. When considering are boutonnieres necessary for a wedding, the answer is ultimately up to personal preference and the formality of the event.

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