During meiotic prophase, telomeres attach to the inner nuclear envelope and cluster to form the so-called meiotic bouquet. Although this has been observed in almost all organisms studied, its precise function remains elusive. The coincidence of telomere clustering and initiation of chromosome synapsis has led to the hypothesis that the bouquet facilitates homologous chromosome pairing and synapsis. However, recent mutant analysis suggests that the bouquet is not absolutely required for either homologous pairing or synapsis but that it makes both processes much faster and more efficient. The initiation of bouquet formation is independent of the initiation of recombination. However, the progression through recombination and synapsis may be required for exit from the bouquet stage. Little is known about the mechanism of telomere clustering but recent studies show that it is an active process.