Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride September 23rd 2008

Ms Polka Dot recently headed to the expert to get the lowdown on those flowers we’re supposed to wear on our chests. The Boutonnieres! She spoke to leading Melbourne florist Kate Hill of Kate Hill Flowers for her tips.


Photo by Kate Hill Flowers

What is the history of the boutonniere?

I believe the history of the boutonnière dates well back into the 1700’s and is a French term for a buttonhole flower. Don’t the French know how to make just about anything sound sexy!

They are symbolic of a new age of men’s style and status and are worn to highlight the significance and formality of an occasion and also add a personal flair to the gentlemen’s suit. At weddings they are used to highlight the importance of a male guests and most often matched to the style of the brides flowers.

Interestingly high-end couturiers in the 1800’s were known to integrate support for small hidden boutonnière vases into the gentlemen’s suits. Fortunately our wedding boutonnières only have to ‘survive’ an afternoon and evening, whereas back then they commonly worn by men all day.

Is there any ‘etiquette’ concerning boutonniere?

The key etiquette surrounding the boutonnière is that the groom has a distinguished boutonnière from the groom’s men and the other boutonnière, including the fathers of the bride and groom who also have boutonnière distinguished from the groomsmen. Detail is the key to this and a good florist should pick up on family history or items of significance to the family or relationships of the men and using this as influence for the design if possible. Detail within the boutonniere should work to almost create a hierarchy, while colour and key blooms will bring them all together.

Are there particularly good flowers to use for boutonniere?

Hearty flowers like orchids, such as Cymbidium, Singapore, Vanda, Phalaenopsis varieties are ideal as they hold water within their blooms ensuring that the flowers looks amazing and fresh for the entire event. These flowers are best in Summer.

Most flowers such as Roses, Tulips, Calla Lilies are also good as long as they are fresh for the day and prepared right before the wedding.

What are the different ways of binding a boutonniere?

These days boutonnieres are designed very differently to the old days. The principals are still the same, wiring each bloom individually and taping the stems, but there is further embellishment to the boutonniere with detailing wire and ribbons commonly used.

Should the boutonniere match the bride’s bouquet?

I believe the bridal partners should match but it’s always a personal choice. The groom should always stand out with the bride, and the groomsmen should compliment the bridesmaids.


Photo by Kate Hill Flowers

What flowers should a Groom consider for his boutonniere for summer, winter, autumn, spring?

In summer blooms such as Calla Lilies, Gardenias, Vanda Orchids, Singapore Orchids, Rannunculis, Hyacinths, Garden Roses and Miniature Succulents are available. In spring there is an abundance of everything! Blooms such as the Bulb Blooms (Tulips, Earlycheer), Daphne, Peony Roses and Roses are best. Autumn and Winter brings beautiful Cymbidium Orchids in many tones, flowering Magnolias, Lily of the Valley and interesting textural foliage.

What are some of the more creative ideas you’ve used?

I always base my creations on meaning that is significant to the bride and groom so this makes it a little tricky to say one stands out from another, but incorporating materials and lace from the brides gown, detailing with wire and items such as crystals and even mini succulents have been used. I really do try to take a story that is unique to the couple and express it in a unique way so they remember them forever.

Thanks for joining us on Polka Dot Groom Kate! Do check out Kate’s website Kate Hill Flowers for more of her stylish floral work!