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Home > The History of the Wedding Garter

The History of the Wedding Garter

The History of the Wedding GarterConsiderably the oldest surviving wedding tradition, throwing the bridal garter is still practiced at weddings today. This tradition, like the bouquet tossing, was and still is thought to bring good luck to whoever catches it. It is also said that whoever catches the garter and bouquet are the next to marry.

It started in 16th century France. The bridal party needed proof of consummation, so they would approach the newlywed couple's bedroom to obtain an item of the bride's clothing. This not only confirmed that the deed was done, but was for good luck as well. This item of clothing was usually the garter - the item used to hold up the bride's stockings.

Three hundred years later and couples became uncomfortable with having their guests in their chambers. So, the bride would instead toss the garter to the groomsmen before leaving her reception to go to bed with her new husband. Shockingly, this actually became violent: some of the men were so determined to get the garter from the bride, they would actually attack her to get it off of her leg before she even had the chance to. Thankfully this once barbaric tradition took a turn for the better: eventually the groom took charge and removed the garter from his wife and then tossed it to his men to ensure his wife's safety.

Jump ahead to modern times, and you'll see the wedding garter toss has yet once again evolved. During the wedding reception, the groom reaches under his bride's dress and removes the garter. Sometimes this act is flirtatiously done with his teeth. He then tosses it over his shoulder to the awaiting group of unmarried men. It is said whoever catches it is the next to marry. The man who catches the garter sometimes slides it on the leg of the woman who caught the bride's bouquet; ensuring good luck for the two of them.

The style of wedding garters has evolved over time as well. Though the ancient garter was a lacy white, nowadays they are available in a variety of colors. Many brides choose to wear a blue garter in the tradition of wearing "something blue." This symbolizes good luck, loyalty and fidelity. Most wedding garters are also available in two-piece sets. The keepsake garter, which is more intricate and 'prettier' is worn beneath the thinner and more simple tossing garter. This is especially convenient for couples who want to save the garter for sentimental values.

Some couples choose not to participate in the garter toss because it's a bit risque. After all, if you have conservative family members, elders and small children attending the wedding, it could cause a bit of controversy. A really fun less revealing alternative is this: put the tossing garter in a balloon (it's small enough to fit) and blow it up, among with many others. Release the balloons at the reception and have all the single guests pop the balloons to find the garter.

Choose the one that's right for you from our great selection of unique and elegant wedding garters.

2010 Kelsey Bowen, Little Things Favors

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