Groom Holding a GarterNo matter where you’re from, it stands to reason you’re familiar with some of the commonplace marriage customs in your area. Naturally, some wedding traditions can be a bit more awkward than others. The garter toss, for example, is a ritual that can feel weird for plenty of couples. If you’re debating whether or not to include it in your reception, there are a few points to consider in advance. Learn more about the origins of this ritual and see if you can find a sensible way to incorporate it into your big day. 

An Old Ritual

According to historians, the practice of tossing the garter can be traced back to the Early Middle Ages in Europe. Texts from this time tell of a wedding tradition that took place at the end of a night’s festivities. Since the consummation of the marriage was important back then, the guests would often escort the couple back to their chambers to cheer them on. Friends and family would grab at the dress of the bride, hoping to rip off a piece for good luck. The garter was considered one of the luckiest pieces to walk away with. 

Changing Times

As the centuries passed, the idea of ripping apart a wedding dress became less and less appealing to couples. The ritual eventually shifted to give control to the couple. The bride would toss the bouquet to the single women and the groom would toss his bride’s garter to the single men. Those lucky enough to catch the items were said to have the fortune of falling in love or tying the knot next. Due to the intimate nature of the garter, however, there have been many couples who have chosen to leave this tradition out of their festivities. 

Including the garter toss comes down to how you and your partner feel about the practice. Some couples view the groom’s removal of the bride’s garter as a sensual and fun way to keep the energy going during the final hours of the reception. If you do want to make this a part of your event, there are a few points to remember. 

A Tossing Garter

Some wedding dresses include garters. However, you don’t want to toss this one. In most cases, dresses are expensive and the accessories included are just as costly. Seeing the garter ripped to shreds by a bunch of drunken groomsmen may not be high on your list of wedding desires. These days, boutiques and bridal shops sell “tossing garters,” which are designed specifically for this ritual. The second garter is worn just below the official one, making it easy for your significant other to slip it off.

You may also wish to put the garter on just before the removal begins. Wearing two can prove uncomfortable, and there is no need to keep them both on you throughout the night. Ask a bridesmaid or family member to hold onto it for you until it is needed. 

Forget the Removal

The removal of the garter can also be uncomfortable for some couples. If you want to include the toss without the big show of getting the garter off, simply hand it to your partner yourself. Since it is your wedding, you can customize or alter the rituals in whatever way suits you best. There are also fun alternatives you can explore tossing instead of the garter. Whether you toss another bouquet, a piece of cake, or a shoe at the crowd of single men, finding an alternative is all about creativity.

Though it may have started a long time ago, there is absolutely no need for you to include the garter toss in your wedding if you don’t want to. Consider different approaches to this ceremony and you’ll easily find a solution that works for you.

Category: Wedding Planning Ceremonies

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