How to Choose Wedding Buttonholes: The Complete Guide

Thistle buttonhole for groom

Buttonholes and how to choose them

As I’m currently organising my own wedding I thought it would be interesting to write about some of the processes we are going through.

The venue, registrar and photographers are booked. The future bride has her dress and the bouncy castle has already been paid for. We definitely have our priorities right. Now we are talking buttonholes to go with the bride’s bouquet. Everyone who knows me will know that I like a bit of arts and crafts and I’ve decided to make the bride’s bouquet out of paper. I’ll leave the rest to Janet, a very talented florist from Poppy Floral Design in Marple, who I’ve worked with on numerous weddings. I’ve already paid her a visit, and she gave me loads of advice on the dos and don'ts of wedding buttonholes

Funky wedding buttonhole with two types of Dahlia flowers and Rosemary

Funky wedding buttonhole with two types of Dahlia flowers and Rosemary

Traditional, Cottage, Elegant or Funky

To make things easier, we can summarise the different styles of buttonholes in four categories:


Usually using a rose with green leaves such as soft ruscus, leather leaves or steel grass that can be looped at the back.

If you’re on a tight budget you can substitute the rose by carnation flowers. These come in a variety of colours.


The cottage style could also be called rustic. You would normally use smaller flowers such as gypsophila or wax flowers. I personally love them for their citrus smell.
You can also use the florets of bigger flowers such as hydrangea or delphinium flowers for a touch of blue.

For the green, my  favourite is rosemary. It’s different, lasts all day and smells amazing. I also like thistles. You don’t have to be Scottish to use them.


Keep it simple with something like a calla or an orchid with some eucalyptus leaves. Your florist can also spray the leaves to make them darker and shiny.


Go crazy with things you would not normally use. Think about using foliage as an alternative to flowers or flowers with a different shape like Craspedia which looks like a little yellow pompom or some echinops flower (blue spiky pompom). The button hole can be jazzed up with diamontes or wires or anything you can think of! The stem can be straight or twisted.

Tradditional buttonhole with rose, chrysanthemum, gypsophila and ivy
Tradditional buttonhole with rose, chrysanthemum, gypsophila and ivy

Gypsophila buttonhole

Groom buttonhole made out of gypsphila only

Classy buttonhole with calla

Classy buttonhole with calla

What makes a good buttonhole?

A good buttonhole should be well balanced, not too heavy and fairly small. You’re not wearing a bouquet on your suit!

Ideally, try to use some of the flowers in the bouquet to keep a continuity in the theme. Also, think about your colours. You wouldn’t want to have a bright red rose to go with the pale bridesmaids’ dresses.

Some tips you should keep in mind

  • There is no point getting your flowers first thing in the morning if you’re getting married at 2pm. The latest you leave it, the fresher they will look.
  • Keep your flowers cool. If it’s too hot in the room, they will suffer and die more quickly. You can also spray to cold water to help them.
  • Don’t manhandle or put them on too early. Loads of people make the mistake of attaching them as soon as they arrive - fiddling with them and hugging everyone - ending with squashed dead flowers. You shouldn’t really attach them until you’re ready to go to the ceremony.
  • Some flowers should be avoided such as tulips or gerbera. The stems are too fragile to last and will loose the petals too early in the day.
    However if you really like them, you can still get away with it by wiring the stems and covering them with green florist tape.


Groom having his buttonhole attached