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Buttonholes? Who for and how many?

Posted on 14 March, 2017 at 17:20

I'm often asked at wedding consultations, "Who has buttonholes and how many should be provided?"

And the answer is........ "Anyone you want and as many as you wish"

In the 1950's and 60's, it was tradition for a box of buttonholes to be left at the entrance to the church, for each guest (male and female) to help themselves to one as they entered the building. This box of buttonholes was provided by the bride's family and the buttonholes were usually carnations with a bit of fern attached. They would generally be all the same colour, usually red or white.

Traditions change over the years and many brides now like to co-ordinate the buttonholes to match the wedding flowers. The flowers and the colours can be more varied, with roses a strong favourite.

As a rule of thumb, buttonholes are usually provided for the Groom, the best man, ushers and the fathers of the bride and groom. All other male guests would provide their own. This can be flexible if there are step fathers included, grandfathers, brothers, etc.The same goes for ladies and corsages. Usually these are provided for the mother of the bride and the groom's mother, but again more can be included if providing them for grandmothers, step mothers, etc.

I always like to make the Groom's buttonhole different to the other Gents' buttonholes. I would suggest using a certain rose included in the Bride's bouquet in the buttonhole, with maybe a small sample of one or two other flowers from her bouquet. This way both the Bride and Groom's flowers are linked, making them special to the two of them and different to everyone else.

All the other Gents can then have the same buttonholes and likewise with the ladies' corsages.

Another question I'm always asked is, on which side do you wear a buttonhole or corsage? Gentlemen wear their buttonholes on the left lapel of their suit jacket, as traditionally there is a 'buttonhole' cut out in the lapel, in which the flower would be inserted. Ladies can wear their corsages on either side of their outfit. I usually say if the lady is taking a shoulder bag to the wedding, then she should place the corsage on the opposite side to the shoulder she wears her bag on. This way she won't damage the flowers. The same suggestion can be made if her outfit has a patterned detail on one side; she should wear the corsage on the opposite side so as not to hide the pattern. Ladies can also have wrist corsages or bag sprays, if they didn't want to wear the corsage on their outfit.

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