June 13, 2009

The etiquette of boutonnieres and corsages

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I am often asked who should receive boutonnieres and corsages at the wedding. Here is a list in order of importance:

Boutonnieres:
Groom
Best man
Groomsmen
Ring bearer (if he is at least three years old)
Fathers
Grandfathers
Ushers
Friends helping at the wedding (officiant, guest book attendant, musicians, readers)
Special family members and sponsors
Corsages:
Mothers
Grandmothers
Friends helping at the wedding (officiant, guest book attendant, musicians, readers)
Special family members and sponsors

Of course this list is a complete list of everyone who could recieve a body flower. But you should adjust this list based on personal preferences, cultural issues and budget. Very often the bride and groom choose not to give out flowers to anyone beyond the bridal party, parents and grandparents.

A few etiquette notes:

Step parents: Your wedding day is not the time to let the world know how much you dislike your new step-mother by giving her a smaller corsage or not giving her flowers at all. Step parents should be honored in the same fashion as your blood parents. Better to keep the peace.

Everybody or nobody: If you are going to give a boutonniere and corsage to your God parents make sure you do the same for the groom’s God parents. The same goes for aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings.
Personal preferences: Some people really, really dislike wearing a boutonniere or corsage. Ask your family what they would like. Women can wear a pin corsage, wrist corsage, hair flowers, flowers on a purse or they can carry a posy bouquet. Men are limited to a boutonniere. But if your wedding is especially casual and the men are not wearing a jacket with a lapel you can choose to omit the boutonnieres altogether.

Let them choose: If your mother would like a pin corsage and the groom’s mother wants a wrist corsage it is okay. They do not need to match. Let them choose whatever makes them most comfortable.

It goes as it grows: I cannot tell you how many times I have seen corsages and boutonnieres pinned on upside down! Just remember-it goes as it grows. If there is a ribbon it goes at the bottom of the corsage.
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