When photographing the groom and his groomsmen, the #1 question I almost always hear them ask is how to pin a boutonniere to their jacket. When I first started shooting weddings, I would quickly hide behind my camera in hopes that they wouldn’t look to me in helping them, because I was just as lost as them in how to attach a boutonniere!
Well, after that happened a couple times, I decided it was totally worth my time learning the ins and outs of pinning that delicate accessory. Whether you’re a fellow photographer looking to figure out how to put on a boutonniere, a groom or groomsman in an upcoming wedding, or someone planning to help the wedding party in pinning their flowers, I’m going to break down how to do this!
How to Pin a Boutonniere on a Lapel
There are 6 main steps for how to pin on a boutonniere. If you don’t want to read everything in depth and just want the abbreviated SparkNotes version, I’ve got you! And, I’ve even condensed it to 4 steps. :)
- Properly position the boutonniere on the lapel
- Fold the lapel over and pin at a downward angle through the stem
- Weave the pin back through the lapel so the pin is completely hidden
- Gently tug on the boutonniere to make sure it’s secure
If you want the more detailed steps on how to put a boutonniere on a tux, read on!
Step 1: Hold the Boutonniere Properly
I know this sounds obvious, but holding the floral piece correctly will make or break whether or not you successfully pin it to the lapel of the jacket. Overall, the flower or central piece of the boutonniere should be facing away from the groom’s chest.
This way, everyone else can actually see the detailing of this accessory. The leaves or greenery should be positioned flat against the groom’s chest, acting as a nice background for the main floral.
Step 2: Position the Boutonniere on the Lapel
There are a couple key points and questions that arise when it comes to positioning the boutonniere, which I’ve outlined below.
- What side does the boutonniere go on? The boutonniere should be placed on the left lapel. An easy way to remember this is to associate it with going on the same side as your heart.
- Where on the lapel should it be placed? The exact placement of the flower is a bit subjective, but here are some general guidelines. When looking at the groom’s lapel, identify the widest section. From there, place the main flower within the boutonniere right at or slightly below the widest part. If you take a step back, it should be positioned above the pocket square pocket and below a bow tie.
- Should the boutonniere be placed on at an angle or straight? When working on how to put on a boutineer and figuring out the best angle, go with this rule of thumb: follow the angle of the lapel. Typically, lapels angle in towards the center of your chest slightly, so have the flower follow that same line. This way, both the stem of the flower and the lapel are parallel with one another!
Step 3: Start Pinning from the Backside of the Lapel
Now that you have the boutonniere positioned in the right place, the fun really begins – pinning it! :) Keeping the flower steady, lift the lapel so you can see the backside.
If you want, you can even fold the lapel directly over the boutonniere so you can better see what you’re doing. This is where you’re going to start with the pin. Hold the needle in your right hand and begin navigating it through the lapel at a downward angle.
Step 4: Slide Through the Stem of the Flower
When it comes to how to pin boutonniere flowers, this step is important and is going to dictate how secure your boutonniere actually is! Continuing with your needle in a downward motion, slide it through the thickest part of the flower stem.
A few things to note here: First, the reason you want to make sure your pin is going downwards is because this will allow both the needle and the flower to not fall off your jacket throughout the event.
Second, piercing the thickest area of the flower stem will keep it from moving around, especially as you bust a move on the dance floor!
Step 5: Direct the Needle Down Through the Lapel
Continuing in the downward motion, push the needle from the stem down into the backside of the lapel. Both ends of the pin should now be hidden behind the lapel, and you should not be able to see any portion of the needle on the front side.
Step 6: Check the Durability of Your Pinning
Gently move the boutonniere back and forth to see how secure it feels. It should feel pretty snug and be resistant to much movement. If the stem and flower seem to wobble a lot when you touch it, try repinning it to make it more secure.
If that doesn’t work (some boutonnieres are pretty heavy!), insert a second pin. Have this pin start in at the opposite corner to form an “X” shape with the 2 needles.
How to Attach a Boutonniere with Magnets
If you’re looking for an alternative to pins when it comes to getting the boutonniere to stay on your jacket all day, consider using small magnets! Not only is this a creative solution, but placing the boutonniere on the lapel just takes seconds.
As a disclaimer though, it does take a little prep work to attach the magnet to the stem of the boutonniere. When ordering the boutonnieres, ask the florist if she offers magnets as an option. If not, here’s the DIY method you can follow. Just be sure you give yourself enough time to do this for all of the boutonnieres on the wedding day!
Step 1: Get Small Magnets
To keep the magnets discreet, look for some that are about the size of your pinky fingernail. You can typically find boutonniere magnets in craft stores, or if you’re
a lazy an efficient shopper like me, you find some online to buy.
Step 2: Attach the Magnet to the Boutonniere
It’s time to get crafty! There are two basic ways you can do this part: using glue or floral tape. Both methods are effective, and which you use will likely be dependent on what your boutonniere looks like. For example, if you have burlap wrapped around the stem of your flower, glue will be the best option, since the tape would clash with the burlap.
When attaching the magnet, make sure it’s on the “backside” of the boutonniere (AKA the side with the leaves and greenery).
If you use glue, get tacky glue or hot glue to make sure the magnet actually stays secure. Place a dab of glue on the backside of the magnet and push it into the thickest part of the stem. Hold it in place for 10-15 seconds or until the glue is dry.
For flower tape, cut a thin strip and wrap it around the magnet and stem until it feels secure. The advantage of this method is that the magnet will be virtually invisible since it’ll be covered with floral tape.
Step 3: Attach the Boutonniere to the Lapel
Position the boutonniere on your lapel (just like you would in the steps above when using a pin). From there, take the magnet that is not attached to the stem and hold it on the backside of the lapel. Move it around until it attaches magnetically to the one attached to the boutonniere. The magnet should be strong enough to keep the flower in place all day, so you’re good to go!
How to Pin a Boutonniere to a Dress Shirt
If you’re having a more casual or low key wedding and decide to forego wearing a jacket, you can still pin a boutonniere to your dress shirt. As a note, when you follow this method I’m sharing, the pin is visible. If you end up doing this, consider getting a nicer looking pin to make it more of a statement piece (rather than a plain needle).
Step 1: Determine the Boutonniere Placement
Just like in all of the other methods, the boutonniere will go on the left side. If you have a pocket and it sits high enough up, aim to place the pin through the top part of the pocket (where the material is reinforced. If the pocket is a little too low or there is no pocket, plan to position it near your heart.
You are not going to be placing the boutonniere on your shirt yet, so remember the basic placement of where you want it to go.
Step 2: Pinch the Shirt Fabric and Thread the Needle
This might sound a little complicated, but hang with me! It’s actually easier than it sounds. Remembering where you plan on placing your flower, pinch the shirt material directly to the left of it. Take your pin and stick it directly through the fabric (the pin should be going towards your shirt buttons).
Now, pinch the material that’s directly to the right of where your boutonniere will be. Again, take your needle and thread it through the pinched fabric, going towards your buttons. Both ends of the pin should be on the outside of the shirt.
Step 3: Insert Your Boutonniere
At this point, you should have 2 pinched sections of fabric with a small empty section between them. This open section is where you are going to insert your boutonniere! Take the stem of your boutonniere and guide it through the opening. It should be a snug fit so that the accessory does not wobble or move throughout the day.
So there you have it! Overall, it takes a little practice to get used to pinning these flowers, but once you’ve done a couple, they’re a piece of cake!