Should you take off your wedding garter for the single guys at your wedding?
This is definitely something that you and your fiancé should spend some time discussing. It’s a custom that dates back to the fifteenth century, so it’s been around for ages—yet it’s not seen at quite as many weddings these days.
This ancient tradition grew out of the obsession that people had with snatching a piece of the bride’s gown as a bit of luck for themselves. In order to protect his new bride, the groom would toss off bits and pieces of material to placate the guests—no doubt encouraged to a high state of inebriation by the total lack of drunken driving laws at the time.
It became customary for the groom to toss the bride’s garter to the hordes and then the happy newlyweds would make their escape.
Some people believed that the bride’s garter was symbolic of her virginity. When the groom took the garter from her, he was showing his guests that he owned his wife’s purity.
As the custom evolved, tossing the garter became intertwined with another fun practice—the tossing of the bridal bouquet. This is another tradition that comes to us from up days of yore, with the bride tossing bits of her flowers to the guests for luck.
As you’ve no doubt seen at many weddings, the bride first tosses her bouquet to the single ladies. The broom then flings the garter off to the unwed guys. Tradition has said that the lady who catches the bouquet and the fellow who garners the garter will be the next to wed, though not necessarily to one another.
It does make for an interesting pose, however, if the guy with the garter pretends to place it on the thigh of the lady with the bouquet—an opportunity for the guests to be showcased in your wedding photos.
Tips for Removing the Garter
What are the best ways to feature the removal of the garter at a wedding?
• Most often the bride takes a seat in the middle of the dance floor. The groom then lifts the leg with the garter—either leg is okay—and slips his hand up into the hem of her dress to pull off the garter.
• A more risqué pose has the bride standing but with the foot of her gartered leg placed on the seat of a chair. This exposes plenty of leg and gives either or both of the newlyweds a chance to shake it like your mama taught you whilst removing the garter.
• Sometimes the groom actually moves his face up into the hem of her dress and locates the garter with his lips, removing it with his teeth. This is undoubtedly the most suggestive method.
• Many times the couple use this as an occasion to showcase their fascination with a football team or carry through a fashion statement with the design of the garter
• If you want to have some fun with the guy who catches the garter, tell him he has to put it on the leg of the lady who caught the bouquet. But he has to do it blindfolded! Once he has the blindfold on, have a groomsmen sit in the chair where the lady was sitting with his pants leg rolled up. This method is definitely for the couple that enjoy a good laugh at the reception.
• Instead of actually tossing the garter and bouquet, have all married guests stand. The DJ asks them to be seated according to the length of their marriage, with those married the shortest re-taking their seats first. The last couple standing will be the couple that has been married the longest, and the bride and groom can present them with the garter and bouquet.
• Since many couples don’t like to have their single friends singled out and put on the spot, have the DJ call up any man or woman who wants to participate. Whoever catches the garter or bouquet is guaranteed a faithful and loving partner. And that’s what all weddings are about!
• Ask your wedding DJ for some advice as you plan your reception. He can suggest some garter-worthy tunes to play, and he may be able to provide a humorous play-by-play on the action.
• Don’t forget that you’ll actually want two garters—one to toss or give away and one to keep! Whichever leg you choose, wear both garters on the same leg, with the toss-away closer to the knee, so that when the groom grabs the garter he doesn’t by accident give up the one you want to keep.
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