Super May 2011

A brief history of the garter toss ...

Tracey, on February 11, 2010 at 2:03 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 23
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With all the talk of garter tossing, I looked this up ...

Tossing the wedding garter is an old time held tradition. It is said that in the days gone past, the bride and groom had to show proof of their wedding consummation. In order for it to be proven, it was common tradition to have people like family and friends come into the room with the couple. The "witnesses" would obtain the garter as "proof" of the consummation. Also having any article of the under garments was considered to be good luck so sometimes things would get out of hand in the newly wed's bedroom as crazed onlookers snatched at clothing to get for good luck. This was not appreciated much by the bride nor many grooms, hence the groom started tossing the garter out so that no one would need to obtain it themselves.

( How barbaric this sounds! glad things have changed since then)


  • Tracey
    Super May 2011
    Tracey ·

    Because of modesty, this tradition has been modified and moved from the bedroom to the reception. Now today we have the traditional garter toss, which is meant to bring good luck to the man who catches it. He is said to be the next one to marry. In some cultures the men stand and wait for the garter to be tossed. Other cultures they actually compete for it. The men may compete for the garter in a foot race or by horse (this is a medieval practice). At least it is better than having the men chase the bride and put her upside down to get the garter off... This is what used to happen! In yet other places, they even auction the garter off. As strange as these twists on the wedding garter tradition may sound, it's all just a tradition. Take it or leave it... or should I say "Take it or Toss it! "

  • Sara
    VIP October 2010
    Sara ·

    Ohh I want to make them race for it... jk but how funny would that be to have all the men running sprints.

  • Konichiwa
    Master January 2010
    Konichiwa ·

    Wow, sometimes it's really entertaining to hear how all these traditions actually started!

  • Tracey
    Super May 2011
    Tracey ·

    No kidding ... did you know that bridesmaids all dress alike comes from the old tradition of bridesmaids actually dressing like the bride? That way, if anyone tried to kill the bride, they might accidentally kill a bridesmaid instead!

    Makes you think twice about standing up for someone!

  • Pumpkin
    VIP October 2010
    Pumpkin ·

    In Irish tradition they dress alike so the fairies won't recognize the bride and carry her off! hehe

  • M&M
    Expert May 2010
    M&M ·

    That's interesting Tracey. I don't see many men compete for the garter anymore. I usually see them running away. Wonder why so many men are scared of commintment these days? Alot has changed.

  • Rosie
    Master June 2011
    Rosie ·

    Haha wow, that IS barbaric. I've also heard that the bridesmaids used to dress like the bride to confuse evil spirits trying to harm the bride. Good deal.

  • Hillary
    VIP January 2011
    Hillary ·

    Okay, yuck. Now there's DEFINITELY not gonna be a garter toss at my wedding, cuz all I'll think about is that if we were doing it all proper like, grandpa would be in the room on our wedding night! Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  • Alexandra
    Expert June 2012
    Alexandra ·

    In Romanian culture, we have a tradition where the groomsmen "steal" the bride and run off with her. The groom then has several hours to "find" her. She is usually hidden with other women. When the groom gets to the house where she is hidden, he calls out for her at the door. A women in a veil (not the bride) walks out pretending to be the bride; the groom must correctly say that she is not the bride. This happens a few times, until the bride walks out and the groom correctly identifies her.


    Weird huh? Not sure where THAT one comes from either...

  • Jessie Lyn
    Super June 2012
    Jessie Lyn ·

    There is a whole bunch of these. The groom carrying the bride over the "threshold" literally comes from a man having to carry the bride into the home because there was a foot high piece of wood placed in the door to keep the thresh (straw and animal bedding) from falling out of the home in the winter. This became known as the "thresh-hold," where the term comes from. :-D

    And I think this post has made me decide we are going to make the men and women do something special to catch the garter and bouquet. I haven't decided what yet.

  • Mrs. Kline (Sass)
    Master December 2010
    Mrs. Kline (Sass) ·

    Lol i want to auction mine off... it will help cover wedding costs... jk thanks for looking that up for us....

  • Larry  Williams
    July 2019
    Larry Williams ·

    This is so funny. When I do a show, I always tell the brides: "this is the one time in your life, when it's OK to kick, bite, shove, tackle, grab... to get that bouquet". And I say the same thing to the men about the garter. I never knew how close I was to the "real deal", I was just trying to interject some levity. I guess I'll keep doing it with conviction now. Thanks for the great story!

  • Sharon
    Master June 2010
    Sharon ·

    Here's one about the Honeymoon:

    The term 'honeymoon' comes from the tradition of the bride drinking mead (a brewed, fermented drink made of honey) for one month after the wedding to encourage fertility, and a male child in particular

    Also, when I first moved over here I found it weird that the bridesmaids go down the aisle first, in England the Bride walks down with her Father and the bridesmaids behind her. I need to look up why that is and why it's different over here..mmmmm.

  • ladylee
    Master June 2010
    ladylee ·

    Oh gosh! Can you imagine people in your bedroom? YUCK!

  • Sharon
    Master June 2010
    Sharon ·

    Found out why we have BM walk behind us in UK, not that

    "Traditionally, English brides had only one adult attendant (as a witness). Today, it is the custom to have many bridesmaids instead of one attendant. A flower girl generally leads the way, sprinkling petals of blossoms along the isle. This signifies a happy route through life for the bride and bridegroom.

    The key thing is, the bride would lead her attendants (bridesmaids) in, not the other way around. The reason is very simple, with the bride leading, her attendant(s) can then attend to her by holding up her wedding train and keeping it out of the dirt. Believe me, floorboards of churches are dirty even though supposedly swept “clean”.

    And..... ever watched a royals marriage? Ever viewed footage of Princess, later Queen Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh ’s wedding? The then Princes walked in with the her attendants behind her, doing exactly what they were meant to - keep her train off the floo

  • Sharon
    Master June 2010
    Sharon · least they don't check the sheets the morning after to make sure the bride was a virgin and the marriage was consummated! That was something they used to do. Mine would be an EPIC FAIL! lol

  • arlala555
    VIP May 2010
    arlala555 ·

    WoW now I want to make two or three books of these traditions and have them passed around at the wedding! I love little stories behind everyday things, especially if it was to do with weddings!

  • Sharon
    Master June 2010
    Sharon ·

    One thing I really do want is to carry a silver horseshoe ona ribbon with my bouquet (small one). It's a British tradition going back hundreds of years for good luck. Typically the mother of the bride gives it to her daughter just before the wedding. I can't find them over here so I'll get my Mum to bring one

  • Sharon
    Master June 2010
    Sharon ·

    Ok, I'm screwed's an old English poem about your dress colour (mine's pink..uh oh)

    Married in white, you will have chosen all right.

    Married in grey, you will go far away.

    Married in black, you will wish yourself back.

    Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.

    Married in blue, you will always be true.

    Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.

    Married in green, ashamed to be seen,

    Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.

    Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.

    Married in pink, your spirits will sink."

  • Lynnie
    WeddingWire Administrator October 2016
    Lynnie ·

    For the history behind more wedding traditions, check out this article!!

    10 Ceremony Rituals Explained

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