The History of the Wedding Garter

bride shirt

What is a wedding garter and what is its purpose exactly? Many bride and grooms to be are often unsure of this wedding tradition even though it’s such a standard practice at wedding receptions in the United States.  Our New York wedding photographers have been in the wedding industry for three years and even they are clueless about this wedding tradition!

The origin of the garter toss at weddings derives from a 14th century tradition in France. Back then, the bride and groom had to show proof of consummating the marriage after the wedding night. The friends and family of the couple would stay in the room and obtain the wedding garter as ‘proof’ of the consummation. Another common tradition from centuries ago was the ripping apart of the wedding dress while on the bride as anything worn by the bride was considered ‘good luck’. The garter toss became a part of the wedding reception out of modesty for the bride.

Today, the garter toss consists of the groom taking off the garter from the bride at the wedding reception. The garter toss takes places after the bride tosses her bridal bouquet. The bride wears the bridal garter on her right leg, a few inches above the knee and her husband is to take it off with either his hands or teeth and throw it to the groomsmen. The groomsman who catches the garter is considered ‘lucky’ and ‘the next to be married’.

Although the history behind the wedding garter toss is a bit strange, it’s still a fun wedding tradition for your reception. Wedding garters are considered bridal lingerie and there are many great designers such as, Florrie Mitton, who make beautiful wedding garters for your special day. Any brides needing inspiration for their wedding lingerie must read our Bridal Lingerie 101 article: For all of our couples planning their wedding, congratulations!

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