The wedding garter is a key component of a bride’s wedding day attire, hidden underneath her gown, waiting for the groom to retrieve it and toss to all the single men at the reception. The garter toss is an integral a part of the wedding day, yet many women partake in this old wedding tradition without really understanding its history and meaning. With so many varieties, styles and colors, you’ll want to make sure you select an appropriate one for your wedding. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the wedding garter so you can choose the right one for your big day.
Wedding Garter History and Meaning
Hundreds of years ago, there were many superstitions and beliefs surrounding the wedding day. One superstition was that owning a piece of the wedding dress would bring good luck, leading to wedding guests essentially attacking the bride to rip off a piece of her gown. This led to brides wearing a specific article of clothing to be given out as the lucky piece: the garter. Another belief was that the garter was a symbol of the newlyweds consummating their marriage, so family and friends would take the garter as proof of consummation. Both of these ancient beliefs result in the garter being removed from the bride and given to someone who attended the wedding.
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Today, the removal of the garter is reserved for the groom. There is typically a time set aside during the reception for the groom to do so in front of all of the witnesses, followed by the groom tossing the garter to all the unmarried bachelors in the crowd. Usually the bride will perform the bouquet toss first, then the groom will do the garter toss. This garter toss is very similar to the bouquet toss in that it is said that whoever catches the garter will be the next man to be married. The man who caught the garter will then place the garter on the woman who caught the bouquet.
Photo Credit: The Garter Girl
How to Wear a Wedding Garter
The function of a garter is to hold up stockings on the bride’s legs. Therefore, there is no correct leg to wear it on. You may choose to wear your garter on either your left or your right leg based on your personal preference. Many brides choose to wear two garters: one to toss, and one to keep. If this is the case, you should wear both garters on the same leg with the tossing garter placed lower than the keeper garter. The most important thing is to make sure your partner knows which leg it’s on so that he can retrieve it easily when the time comes.
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You want to make sure that you don’t wear your garter too high or too low, so generally the best spot for it is just above your knee. This way it won’t cut off circulation or rub against the other leg and it also won’t slip off. However, you can try it on in a few different locations to see what is most comfortable for you. If you are planning to have photos taken of you with your dress lifted to reveal your garter, you’ll want to place it low enough so that you don’t accidentally flash the photographer when you’re taking the pictures. Keep in mind that when your partner goes to remove the garter, all of your guests will be watching so having it a bit lower so that you don’t show anything indecent is a good idea.
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Wedding Garter Styles and Sets
Because the wedding garter is hidden underneath your wedding dress, you can choose one that fits your personality. You might want to choose a simple white one to follow tradition, or you can choose a sexy one that will look great in photos. You can even incorporate your something blue into your outfit with a blue wedding garter. Today, there are many different styles of garters and garter sets to fit every bride’s tastes and needs.
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A bridal garter set comes with two garters, one more embellished and fancy and the other more simple. They match in color and design, and the bride can choose to keep whichever one she wants. Popular materials for garters include lace, satin and silk. Satin and silk feel comfortable against the skin, while lace makes beautiful details. You can choose garters in any color or pattern you’d like, from animal print to superhero garters to pretty jewels. Classic colors include white and ivory, as well as different shades of blue to serve as the something blue of the wedding day outfit. Remember that because the wedding garter is not a visible part of your attire, you can choose one that doesn’t necessarily fit your wedding’s theme. Have fun with this sexy accessory and select one that fits your personality. You can also make it a fun surprise for your partner by incorporating one of his favorite hobbies.
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Songs for the Garter Toss
Traditionally, the garter toss takes place during the wedding reception. The groom removes the garter from the bride’s leg, sometimes with his hands or perhaps with his teeth, while a crowd watches. Following the bride’s bouquet toss, the groom tosses the garter to all of the eligible bachelors at the wedding. Depending on what kind of mood you want to set, there are many different songs that can be played. Here are a few popular songs that will get the party started during the garter toss.
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- Sir Mix A Lot – Baby Got Back
- Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
- Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious
- The Mission Impossible Theme Song
- Blondie – One Way Or Another
Whether you choose to follow tradition or want to take a more playful route, the wedding garter can play as big or as little of a role in your wedding as you’d like. Do whatever is most comfortable for you – if that means only your husband gets to see the garter on you, or if you want him to retrieve it in front of a crowd, ultimately it’s your wedding day and you get to decide how to handle this tradition.