The Secret of a Well-Judged Buttonhole

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Technically speaking, a finely finished buttonhole is something we at Oliver Brown prize as much as anything in the world. Modesty demands, however, that we give due credit to those proud mothers-of-the-bride who take such pains to fill said buttonholes with buttonholes of their own because when it comes to weddings (and race days), one’s buttonhole is not for buttons, of course, but for flowers.

And as with so many things about weddings, this is not a time for a gentleman to display independent thought. The groom, king or commoner, will wear the buttonhole he’s been given or he will learn rather sooner than anticipated the true petrifying nature of his dear, sweet wife’s glare gaze. Similarly, ushers will wear the buttonholes that they’re given because a) they are only in it for the breakfast, b) they’re rarely organised enough to pitch up at the right location at the appropriate time, let alone wearing the appropriate flower and c) otherwise they’ll learn rather sooner than anticipated the true petrifying nature or the bride’s glare gaze. They are staff and, give or take the colour of their ties, they’ll dress as they’re told - and what’s more they’ll like it.

That’s because buttonholes are not what they seem. These roses are mostly thorns. It may seem that one’s duties involve little more than handing out race cards at the church door, mustering relatives for the photographer and advising people who’ve been parking in fields all their adult lives how to park in a field, but let there be no mistake: That pretty little overwrought bouquet makes you a marked man. When aunt Sybil loses her walking stick, that’s your fault. When the old Colonel who damned your eyes when you tried to tell him how to park in a field gets stuck up to the axel moments later, that’s your fault. If anything goes wrong – anything at all - with the finely tuned machine that is a modern wedding – that’s your fault.

Whilst of course we would never encourage insurrection, rebellion or even mild dissent, we would understand entirely if – purely hypothetically - as soon as one were done with the photographs, one were to pin this floral grenade to the first unadorned gentleman one can find and sneak a small, fresh and simple budding bloom from the garden instead.