Everything You Need To Know About The Wedding Garter

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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.

wedding garter tradtiion

Photo Credit: Etsy

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.

removing wedding garter

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.

wedding garter styles

Photo Credit: Wedding Hairstyles HQ

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.

how to wear wedding garter

Photo Credit: OneWed

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.

wedding garter sets

Photo Credit: Etsy

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.

unique wedding garter

Photo Credit: Bidness

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.

garter toss wedding reception

Photo Credit: Bridal Guide

  • 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.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Wedding Garter
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We discuss everything there is to know about wedding garters, from the history and meaning to styles and colors. Plus songs to play at the reception!
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24 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    They say if you catch it your next in getting married. I have caught it two times, still single.

  2. Alice says:

    The song list for the garter toss is absolutely horrible…..

  3. jonny says:

    This tradition sounds absolutely ridiculous.

    • J says:

      I’m a woman and this tradition has always creeped me out.

      Why would a bride want to have her husband peel of some of her lingerie in front of her friends and family, and then have him throw it to his friends to fight over while playing suggestive music? Its just weird.

      • s Love says:

        i absolutely agree! I was married 34 yrs ago, was young and just went along with the ‘traditions’, but this embarrassed me deeply but I didn’t really understand why at the time. I have since articulated that this garter removal symbolized my husband undressing me before all the wedding witnesses. Neither he nor I thought this through ahead of time. I thought is was kind of silly but didn’t realize until the moment that I was going to feel exposed and violated.

        • No Thanks says:

          I never liked these traditions. As a kid witnessing weddings I would see men kissing their bride in church and the reception the garter belt thing ugh. I was a kid and I felt embarrassed for her. I remember a guy just using his mouth to get it. I asked my mom why does he do that? My mom said it was tradition. I never understood why things you would never do normally like go under your wife’s dress was OK on the wedding day. Luckily I never did that stuff in my wedding.

  4. Portefoi says:

    This tradition IS ridiculous, which is why so many people have no idea exactly where it came from or when. Let’s keep in mind, people, that our history is jam-packed with absurd and ridiculous “traditions”. But, that’s why they are still in play today, they’re TRADITIONS!!! The vast majority of them are based off of one religion or another, so question the religion, do some research, and when some chap asks, “why…?” You’ll be the smart-ass with the correct answer. I question a lot of things, like the saying, “the proof is in the pudding”. The actual saying is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, meaning you need to eat it to see how good it is or isn’t.

    • HarleyQuinn says:

      Have you ever though that WHEREVER the practice is originated from, it’s still enjoyable to many? Sometimes, actually experiencing the tradition helps you realize the purpose of it. You don’t have to judge everything as bad bad bad and useless just because you’re not used to seeing it and it looks “weird.”

  5. J-Nice says:

    You people are really taking this a bit too seriously. It’s a tradition that you can either choose to participate in or not. It’s really that simple; everyone has his/her own choice. The end…

  6. rebirebeccamartinez says:

    I like have a garter

  7. SalubriOutcast says:

    This may be completely silly, but it will give me an excuse to hand sew a D&D/D20 themed nerdy garter ^_^
    *squee*

  8. nice share, thank you for this.

  9. Victoria says:

    It’s nice to know how the tradition came about. I was thinking today, “I have no idea about most of these traditions!”

  10. Adebayo Olaoluwa Paul says:

    i believe its just fun….Nothing more but should be done decently because of kids around

  11. Bruce Lovitt says:

    Excellent post. I surely appreciate this site . Thanks!

  12. Carmen Sopko says:

    Very smooth write-up. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!

  13. Peta says:

    Thank you for the information you shared here. I was wondering if it mattered which of the two garters to toss and I got my answered and tons more information. My HTB is looking forward to removing the garter and so am I. Great article, thanks again

  14. Maria says:

    Although the historical significance is interesting, it is hardly a reason to continue this tasteless, classless & inappropriate behavior. My stepdaughter’s biological mom is getting remarried & she is already anxious about having to witness her mother in this perverted spectacle. Can we grow up & act like adults? Keep the these antics for bachelor parties where they belong.

  15. Aubrie says:

    I won’t be wearing a garter. It is embarrassing and I don’t want people watching my husband going up my dress. That is just wrong.

  16. Tracey says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake, it’s simple – if you don’t like it, don’t do it, but there are many of us who just thought it was fun and also most of us don’t make it a “perverted spectacle”!! Get a life.

  17. Bleu Garter says:

    I was not that deep into this, But glad to know the whole story behind this garter concept, this is interesting.

    Loved your post. Keep updating such interesting things.

  18. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing. I loved reading this article.

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