Are you planning to do a garter toss at your wedding? What is the wedding garter tradition all about, anyway? You’ve come to the right place!
In this post, you’ll learn what to know about the garter toss tradition and how to do a garter toss as your wedding: what it is, who tosses the garter, when the tradition began, and more. Plus, where to get bridal garter sets from one of our favorite shops: The Gilded Garter!
If you’re wondering whether couples are still doing a garter toss, the answer is:
Yes, the garter toss is still popular, even if that means doing a bit of a garter toss alternative. It’s one wedding tradition that will never really go out of style.
Throughout this blog post, you’ll find gorgeous bridal garter sets for you to wear, keep, and save as an heirloom. Many of these sets are sold with a tossing garter, too! These are handmade by The Gilded Garter. Kristen is amazing at her craft; you can shop or see more here if you’d like a custom style for the garter wedding tradition. These are the most stylish garters we’ve ever seen — perfect for modern brides-to-be.
Let’s get started!
Photography credit: Photography by MegandMe Photography
Wedding Garter Tradition
What Leg is the Garter Worn?
The bridal garter originated as a way to hold up a bride’s stockings. It is a thigh garter, so you wear it higher up on your leg; you can wear your garter on either leg, whichever is most comfortable. There’s no right or wrong leg onto which to wear a thigh garter.
And many brides are opting for bridal garter sets, which we’ll talk about later in this post, which is one to toss and one to keep, so you can wear one on each leg or double-up on one.
Who Tosses the Garter?
Traditionally, the groom tosses the bridal garter and whomever catches it is also said to be next to marry.
The bride tosses the bouquet and whomever catches it is said to be next to marry.
It is also believed that the recipient of the garter and the person who catches the bouquet will be blessed with good luck.
When Did the Garter Toss Start?
The garter toss is a tradition that dates back many years, apparently all the way back to the 14th century. Talk about a lot of garters over the span of many years.
Where Does the Garter Toss Happen?
The garter toss occurs at the reception, immediately following the bouquet toss. Your DJ or emcee will recommend the perfect time to do it.
How to Do a Wedding Garter Toss
The garter toss takes place at the reception. Traditionally, the groom would remove the garter from the bride at the wedding (yeah, in front of a crowd of guests) in a fun, silly, comedic way, while she sits on a chair and guests gather around in a circle. Now that you’re married, the groom removes the bride’s garter and tosses it to the unmarried men. That’s what you may remember why the groom goes under the bride’s dress as everyone hoots and hollers.
The garter removal was always supposed to be done in a fun and silly tradition and not weird and awkward, but many couples now opt out of the garter removal in front of an audience.
Instead, couples are buying a tossing garter as a spare; this is the one that is tossed to the men instead of the bride’s garter. It’s much easier and, honestly, the bride gets to keep her custom garter instead of giving it away. I liked keeping mine as an heirloom. :)
Garter Toss Alternative: The Football Garter Toss
And for outdoor weddings, we’ve been seeing an uptick in the football garter: yep, a football with the garter wrapped around it, so the groom can toss it to the guys who “go long” to catch the ball.
Then, the guy who catches the football keeps it; he can keep the garter or give it back to the bride, which makes sense of the bride chose a special, custom bridal garter and wants to keep it as an heirloom.
This is one example of a “great catch” garter football you can use from BeyondTheRings.
What Happens Next
After the bouquet and the garter toss tradition, those who caught them usually share a dance together and join the bride and groom on the dance floor. Or you can just take a picture of them together for your photo album.
It’s up to you!
So, to recap, there are three ways to do the garter toss tradition:
Do the a Traditional Garter Toss
Choose a garter that you like and one you’re OK with parting with during the toss.
Wear Two Garters: One to Keep and One to Toss
Many brides choose this compromise: they wear a bridal garter that is fancier for keeping, then toss the other one which is actually now known as a “tossing garter”, just like the “tossing bouquet”.
Skip the Garter Toss Altogether
Is the garter toss awkward to you? If you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to do the garter toss”, that’s perfectly fine.
However, we still recommend wearing a bridal garter, if you want one. It’s a classic and one of the bridal accessories you may want to have from your wedding day.
Now that you know more about this wedding tradition, browse some more of our favorite bridal garter sets by The Gilded Garter, shown below.
The garter toss has some alternatives, which proves that good old-fashioned traditions don’t have to go by the wayside; they can be kept fun with modern twists and new ways of doing it.
It’s fun to keep some of those traditions alive, especially when they’re made more modern (and a lot more fun).
If you need a garter for this tradition, click here to shop!
Now, on to you…
• Are you doing a wedding garter toss? Or are you doing one of these tossing alternatives instead?
Tell us about it in the comments… I’d love to hear your thoughts!