A gentleman's guide to the buttonhole

A gentleman's guide to the buttonhole

Published 6th Aug 2013

No idea where to begin when it comes to choosing your buttonhole? Help is at hand...


Flowers might not be your forte but that doesn't mean selecting the blooms for your buttonhole need be difficult.

We asked Roxanne Hartley from Flowers By Roxanne - who exhibited her floral creations in the Designer Flower Market at the National Wedding Show in spring 2013 - to answer five of your most common questions.

Read on - all will be revealed!

I know nothing about flowers. Where do I begin with choosing my buttonhole?

It’s a good idea to match your buttonhole colour and flower to the other wedding flowers. This will create continuity. However, you can be more creative with your buttonhole and add a few extra embellishments that helps yours stand out from your groomsmen. You could be really creative and have completely mis-matched buttonholes so each of your groomsmen are individual. I often add an extra smaller flower to give the buttonhole a little more character.

The best flowers that will stay looking fresh all day are: eryngium, wax flower, scabious seed heads, brunia, craspedia & achellia.

Does my buttonhole have to match my bride's bouquet? Do my best men need to match too?

Your florist will advise you which is the best bloom from the flowers chosen to use as a buttonhole. This may be a rose, calla lily or similar as generally the most focal flower is best for buttonholes.

You could also mix this up and have a cluster buttonhole. This is a miniature bunch of smaller flowers, that may be already used elsewhere in the wedding. Spray roses, fresh lavender and wax flower will hold up well and be a little different.

I suffer from horrendous hayfever. What can I do as an alternative?

Hopefully there will be many flowers within the wedding that would be suitable for your sensitive nose. If there is a visible centre, they are more likely to trigger your hayfever. Flowers like Jasmine, lilies, pussy willow and gerbera are the worst for hayfever, whereas roses, orchids, iris and dahlias are very low in pollen. Your florist will be able to remove the stamen from lilies to make them much less likely to bother you. This is often done anyway as the stamen will stain any fabric it comes into contact with!

Do I need to pick my suit before I choose my buttonhole?

Although your buttonhole is a great statement, your suit is certainly the most important of the two - you must feel comfortable with what you’re wearing. Be conscious of the colour and possible pattern of your suit and have your buttonhole in mind when choosing this. A striped suit would fit best with a simple buttonhole, and a navy suit may not suit a bright orange buttonhole!

Your florist will be able to show you what your buttonhole will look like and maybe even provide a colour reference to help you.

Is it possble to preserve my buttonhole once the big day is over?

Unfortunately your buttonhole is unlikely to last much longer than the day of your wedding, as the flower is no longer in water. However, you could hang the buttonhole upside down so it dries out, allowing you to keep it.

If you are keen on keeping your buttonhole after the wedding however, don’t opt for a flower that is likely to wilt and droop like a rose. Wax flower, lavender and many foliages still look great when they’ve dried out and they won’t start drooping. There are many companies that will dry your wedding flowers professionally, so it may be worth researching this.

The National Wedding Show is at London's Earls Court between 27-29 September and the Birmingham NEC between 4-6 October. Visit for more information and to book tickets. 

wedding stylegroom stylebuttonholeswedding flowers

Style fix: wedding dress trends from London Bridal Week

Style fix: wedding dress trends from London Bridal Week

5 things to remember if you're wearing a wedding veil

5 things to remember if you're wearing a wedding veil

11 wed-worthy looks we loved on the Oscar's red carpet

11 wed-worthy looks we loved on the Oscar's red carpet

3 things to do if your mum doesn't like your wedding dress

Spoiler alert: it's manageable!