6 Ways to Upgrade the Basic Boutonniere

A woman pinning a succulent boutonniere onto a groom.

We’ve all seen the usual boutonnieres at a wedding: a rose or carnation, usually to match the other flowers at the wedding, with some sprigs of baby’s breath. While these flowers certainly look nice on the lapels of the groom and men in your bridal party, why not take the design up a notch? Here are some ways to make the boutonnieres at your wedding really pop.

1. Succulents for Modern Weddings

A popular trend for boutonnieres is to use succulents of all kinds—especially rosettes, aloes, and agaves—to create masculine, but beautiful, boutonnieres. If you’re getting married somewhere less lush and quite hot, the succulents will be right at home. With greater popularity, more sources for succulent cuttings are popping up online, so it’s possible to acquire and assemble all of the cuttings quite easily, incorporating different shapes and colors for a lovely final product. Tying with twine or florist wire really seals the look.

2. Herbs and Coneflower for Rustic Weddings

Rosemary, lavender, and coneflower all give nice muted hues for a wedding held at a barn or in any venue with a rustic vibe. This style of wedding is very popular, and a bunch of men in suits with traditional boutonnieres can sometimes seem odd in this context. By trading in those blossoms for some herbal options instead, not only do you get a boutonniere that actually smells delicious, but you are also unlikely to experience wilting or needing to treat each boutonniere quite so delicately.

3. Winter Boutonnieres with Greenery

A groom wearing a winter boutonniere with holly berries and greenery.

Spruce sprigs and holly berries can be a nice departure from the typical boutonniere at wintertime. (After all, the roses that are on your lapel probably aren’t growing naturally in December!) Choosing greenery instead of flowers also makes it a little easier to match with other colors and flowers in the wedding, and you are less likely to feel like your wedding is pretending to be spring or summer when it’s really winter.

4. Grains and Pinecones for Fall Weddings

On that topic, bright sprigs of wheat and mini pinecones have gained some traction as potential substitutes for boutonnieres. These usually don’t look like boutonnieres at all, but if you’re going for a non-traditional look, consider forming grain into a heart or other shape, and pick tiny pinecones that you can glue together into a cute mini cluster. Yes, there is a chance that someone will give you a double-take for the pinecone choice, but especially for outdoor and farm weddings, many people will see these as beautiful and unconventional choices to liven up your decor and make the day truly unique.

5. Tropical Flowers for Beach Weddings

A tropical orchid as a boutonierre on a groom on his wedding day.

The opposite is to choose bright, tropical flowers for your beach wedding! Yes, a big pink bloom from the tropics may not be the typical choice for a wedding, but especially if the bride or bridesmaids are going with breezy, casual dress styles, a bright bird of paradise or even an orchid will stand out and be truly beautiful in your wedding photographs.

6. Silk Flowers for Reusability

While many people enjoy the look of fresh flowers, it’s also completely possible to create memorable and gorgeous boutonnieres using silk or other fabric flowers. What’s more is that you can repurpose them: at the end of the wedding, you can keep them as a keepsake for years to come! Real flowers tend to only last the few days around your wedding; silk is a great option if you want a pretty reminder of that special day.

No matter how traditional or unconventional you go with your boutonnieres, make sure that they are small enough to look great on the lapel of any of your groomsmen. One of the only ways to go “wrong” (and it isn’t wrong if you like it that way!) is to add too much to what is usually an understated little flower bundle. Make sure the blooms aren’t too wide, and you’re likely to have a unique boutonniere choice just for your wedding.

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