If you’re a man gearing up for a special event, you may be starting to wonder about the romantic flowers that will make up your boutonniere. You might feel silly donning such a decoration, but just because you’re wearing flowers and matching them to a woman’s outfit doesn’t mean you should feel at all unmanly! Boutonnieres have an interesting history. Here are a few facts, as well as some etiquette tips to help you out on the big day, whether it’s prom or a wedding.

History
Fresh cut red roses weren’t always reserved for special occasions like marriage ceremonies or high school dances. Some sources believe that the tradition of wearing flowers goes back as far as ancient civilizations like the Egyptians or the Aztecs, who were believed to wear certain colored blossoms to show their support for players who participated in sporting events.

Other scholars believe that the boutonniere tradition came about on the battlefields of civil wars in England, where each side wore a particular color or type of flower to distinguish friends and enemies from each other. After all, their speech and clothing were likely the same!

However, according to GentlemansGazette.com, boutonnieres became popular as lapel adornments in the early 19th century. The fashions of this time period started to include coats that folded over at the top, revealing the inside of the buttonhole.

BlueBouquet.com points out that boutonnieres likely became popular for weddings and special occasions because flowers were thought to get rid of bad smells, diseases and even evil spirits. At least they were right about the bad scents!

Etiquette
At weddings, there are certain guidelines to follow when it comes to boutonnieres, reports PolkaDotBride.com. For example, the groom should have a different boutonniere than his groomsmen and the other men at the event who might wear one, like the fathers of the groom and bride. While it’s not required, it’s a good idea to match the boutonniere to the bride’s bouquet.

Furthermore, ArtOfManliness.com points out that the boutonniere should be worn on the left lapel of a man’s suit jacket. A good jacket will have a sturdy buttonhole that will support the weight of the flower, as well as a latch to keep the stems in place. If there is no lapel on the jacket you’re planning to wear, make sure that the florist creates an attractive stem that can be pinned onto your lapel.