Wedding Traditions Explained: The Wedding Garter

February 18, 2022

Many brides and grooms have heard about the wedding garter toss, which has become a traditional part of a wedding day that some look forward to, and others would rather skip.

Initially, wearing a garter was to hold up stockings. However, the wedding garter is considered bridal lingerie and is worn under the wedding dress around the leg.

You are not alone if you wonder how the wedding garter toss started. Below, we will talk about what it is and how the wedding garter tradition began.

What Is The Wedding Garter Tradition?

If you have ever been to a western wedding reception, you have probably witnessed the moment when the bride sits in a chair, and her groom removes the garter from her leg. Generally, the groom will do this with his hands but sometimes with his teeth and then tosses it into an exuberant bunch of bachelors as all the guests watch.

The garter toss is the equivalent of the bride tossing the wedding bouquet to the unmarried women at the wedding. Often, the man who catches the wedding garter will place it on the leg of the woman who catches the wedding bouquet, and sometimes they may even share a dance. While It is generally a light-hearted tradition, not everyone is comfortable with this tradition or wants to include it in their wedding.

What Is The History Of The Wedding Garter Toss?

The history of modern wedding traditions is often forgotten or even unknown. The wedding garter tradition began during the 14th century in France when family and friends would stay in the room with the newly married couple and show the garter as proof of consummation of the marriage in the morning. Can you imagine!

People also believed that having a piece of the bride’s wedding dress was good luck.  Guests would try to rip at the bridal gown or clothing of the groom as they were on the way to the marital bed as a form of encouragement. 

The tradition began that the bride would loosely fasten the garter to the bottom of her dress to be visible to the guests at the wedding, giving them an easy way to claim their prized piece of the bride’s dress to appease the guests.

If you are trying to decide whether or not you want to have a wedding garter toss at your wedding, you may have other questions. Below you will find the answers to help you decide whether or not you want to include it on your wedding day.

What Is The Cost Of A Wedding Garter?

Typically garters cost between $15 to $125 for more ornate designs, with an average price of $29 to $35 for most of them.

What Are The Style Options?

You can find wedding garters in almost any color, and some brides will use the wedding garter as their “something blue”, another wedding tradition that we can save for another time. Garters can have delicate bows, lace, rhinestones, crystals, and embellishments on satin, laced, or ruched bands. You can have a designer create a custom wedding garter for you, or if you are crafty, you could even make your own!

Which Leg And Where Do You Put The Wedding Garter?

You can wear it on whatever leg feels comfortable. There is no lucky side so just pick what works for you.

For the placement of your wedding garter, just above the knee is common as it will stay up better and not feel uncomfortable because it is too tight. However, this is also a personal choice, so place it wherever comfortable.

Do You Wear The Wedding Garter For The Whole Wedding?

As the bride, you get to choose. If you are going to wear it all day, consider choosing a soft and stretchy style that will lay flat on your skin.

If you pick a more ornate wedding garter, you may keep it In your purse until the time for the wedding garter toss (if you and your groom decide to toss it).

Can You Keep The Garter Instead Of Tossing It?

Absolutely! You can choose to keep it as a momento and not do the wedding garter toss at all.

Are There Alternatives To The Traditional Wedding Garter Toss?

If you want to keep the wedding garter as an heirloom or choose not to have one, there are some alternatives.

  • You can also get a garter exclusively for the wedding garter toss and keep the one you wore during your wedding. A tossing garter is usually a simple garter that the groom can toss, keeping your real wedding garter as a keepsake. You can find garter sets in our gift shop!
  • If you are not comfortable having your groom remove your wedding garter as your guests watch, you can opt out entirely or hand it to your groom to toss.

Whether you are wearing a traditional, modern, or bohemian style wedding dress, the wedding traditions you include are up to you. Your wedding, your choice! (and your partner’s, of course)

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Wedding Traditions

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