The Wedding Boutonniere

The word boutonniere, as you can probably tell, comes to us from the French. The British simply called them button hole flowers. Traditionally, the flower was placed in the button hole of the man’s suit or tuxedo. However, these days, most bouts are pinned directly to the man’s lapel, a long standing trend that aging French women still scoff at.

So why did this tradition start? Curiously enough, the boutonniere and the bridal bouquet were created for similar reasons: to ward off bad smells, disease, and evil spirits. I still haven’t figured out how a flower could hold back an evil spirit or two, but it is not for us to judge the ways of our ancestors. Who knows? Maybe they were on to something. Perhaps we should all start wearing bouts more often. They keep the demons away and the ladies close by – what’s not to like?

There was once a day when gentlemen placed a flower in their button hole almost every day. Many jackets even had small hidden vases built right in. Even as early as the 1940′s, bouts were a commonplace adornment. For those of you who enjoy old cinema, you may recall the likes of Fred Astaire or Cary Grant wearing a boutonniere just to go out on a Friday evening. Today, however, bouts are primarily worn only for proms, homecomings, and weddings.

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