How to Pin a Boutonniere

When I deliver weddings, people are often REALLY relieved when I offer to pin on the corsages and boutonnieres.  It’s become clear that people really aren’t comfortable with this task, and I’ve seen so many strangely and/or precariously pinned boutonnieres, that I’ve decided to provide some tips on how to pin a boutonniere.

First, where does the boutonniere get placed?  On the left lapel.  On a notched lapel, such as the one shown below, the boutonniere is placed below the notch.  Many suit coats have a buttonhole in the exact area where you want to pin the boutonniere.  Guess what boutonniere means in French?  You guessed it: buttonhole.  That’s why it’s there, though admittedly kind of vestigial.

Lapel showing buttonhole

So let’s get started.  First, I hold up the boutonniere to the lapel, to see where I think it looks right.  I try to center the boutonniere on the lapel from left to right, allowing for a little space from the seam leading to the notch of the lapel.  I like to angle the stems so they follow the narrowing angle of the lapel.  You can see below what my mind is targeting as I size up the lapel.  Equal distances between the left, right, and top of the lapel, stems angled toward the bottom of the lapel.

Lapel, showing target boutonniere placement.  How to Pin a Boutonniere, by Pollen.

Now for the hard part.  Bring on the pins!  Basically, you use the pins to make a stitch through the boutonniere stems.  The stitch (or pin) begins and ends on the back side of the lapel, catching the boutonniere stem on the front of the lapel.  Make sense?  By approaching the boutonniere from the back of the lapel, the pins aren’t visible.

I hold the boutonniere in place, then flip the lapel slightly so I can see the back of the lapel.  I put the pin through the back of the lapel, fairly perpendicular to the boutonniere stems.  I like to place the first pin near the top of the stems.  The stems may be wrapped with ribbon or floral tape.  I like to get that first pin through the top of whatever is holding the stems together.  I use a second pin a little lower than the first, to prevent the boutonniere from pivoting.  Or if the boutonniere has a leaf background to it, I’ll use the second pin up higher and go through the leaf.  Below is a photo of two pins behind the lapel and through the boutonniere stems.

Back of lapel pin placement for how to pin a boutonniere.  by Pollen.

And the final product:

Pinned boutonniere, by Pollen.

I’ve seen many different ways of pinning boutonnieres, but I find this technique to work best for me.

What?  Too many words to read?  Okay, okay.  See the video here!

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Thanks to the model, Matt Gassman of The Traveling Photo Booth!

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