Wedding traditions: Is The Wedding Garter Toss Dead?

“There is absolutely no classy way for me to stick my hand up my bride’s wedding dress, struggle through the voluminous material, and gracefully remove her wedding garters in front of her family. Don’t even mention throwing a very personal item from the love of my life to the waiting hands of other men.” This is one groom’s opinion of the traditional garter toss, and you’ll be surprised at how many men agree with him.

garter toss is an old wedding tradition still present today.

Wedding traditions: Garter Toss

Many are opting out on this tradition citing embarrassment and discomfort as primary reasons. But is the garter toss so easily discarded or will it regain a revival among younger couples?

What is the wedding garter toss and how is it done?

The bride’s garter  is part of the bridal ensemble many brides prefer to wear on their wedding day. It’s worn high (about 5 inches above the knee) on the right thigh and made with materials that match or complement her wedding dress. The removal and throwing of the bride’s garter is done after the bride throws her wedding bouquet.

Diamond Red Garter adds fun to an age old tradition: The wedding garter toss.

Sassy and Fun Diamond Red Garter

The groom removes the garter by hand, but there are many instances, and to the (horrified) amusement of the crowd, where the groom would remove the garter with his teeth. The groom throws the garter to a line of single male wedding guests. The person who catches the garter must slip the frothy confection up the thigh of the single female guest who caught the bride’s bouquet.

For many singles opting to marry later in life, the garter toss can appear tacky and tasteless but younger couples find a touch of whimsy and wedding day fun in this wedding custom. Older wedding guests also expect to see the bride’s garter thrown during the reception.

History of the garter toss

The garter toss is one of the oldest wedding traditions to survive the evolution of wedding day customs. In medieval times, garters were worn to hold the bride’s stockings in place. The tradition of removing the bride’s garters started when the wedding guests would accompany the bride and groom to their wedding bed.

The tradition got rowdier as it evolved, with the guests removing articles of the bride’s clothing as she’s being carried to the couple’s wedding chambers. It’s thought that to place a halt to total impropriety, the garter is thrown to appease the crowd. It was further imbued with magical powers such as bringing good luck and fertility. Today, the groom’s removal and throwing of his bride’s garter is all that remained of a somewhat terrifying custom.

Should you totally trash the garter toss?

If you or your partner feels uncomfortable with the whole idea of a garter toss, there’s no sense insisting on it. But if you’re both comfortable with it and only decorum is holding you back from doing it, there’s a way to keep it tasteful.

You can modify the garter toss to a level you’re more comfortable with or add a personal twist. For instance, some brides wear not one but two garters.

Discerning Camouflage Garter Set

Discerning Camouflage Garter Set, one to toss, one for keeps.


One is a keepsake garter, for her groom to remove in private and keep for himself, and the other is one thrown during the wedding reception. It can be a plainer version and worn lower on the thighs than the keepsake garter. This is easier to remove with minimal fumbling, keeping the bride from showing too much leg

Would you say the wedding garter toss is a dying tradition? Chime in below.

Toss it or keep it, has you covered with  hand-picked selections of pretty and affordable wedding garters to choose from. You can even have garters coordinated with your wedding theme! Visit our store now.

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