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Wacky Wedding Traditions: The History Of the Garter Toss

ImageTo me as a matchmaker, one of the wackiest traditions is the garter toss. If you’ve never seen it in action it goes a little something like this:

The bride sites down in a chair, lifts up her skirt to her knee, or thigh and the groom takes the slips the garter off with his hand…or sometimes unfortunately teeth while a bunch of guests look on.

The garter is then thrown to a bunch of unmarried guys and who ever catches it is the next to be married.

When described, this tradition sounds a little bit more like it would be executed at a frat party then a wedding, but let me tell you with all the weddings I have gone to as a matchmaker, I have seen it performed at the most traditional of weddings.

And while this strange custom seems like more modern addition to the line up of wedding traditions, it is actually very old…

Back in the day, ( specifically the 18th century)  women wore garters as a functional garment, namely to hold up the stockings they wore everyday, so of course, a bride would put on a pair of garters ( back in those days they came in pairs) under her dress as she would with any other dress.

Back then to get a piece of the brides clothing was good luck, so near the end of the wedding these historical people would have their own kind of garter toss, except instead of a toss it was more of a rush. All the unmarried men would rush at the bride and see who could grab her garter off first. Today things are a bit more civilized.

So, why would the go for a garter, instead of say…her veil or her shoe?

Back in the day, a garter was what a bra might today, it was one of the most intimate pieces of clothing a woman would wear and taking her garter was not only lucky, it also signified her deflowering, in the same way her white gown was a signal for her purity.

Anyway, now that you know the history, I will leave it up to you whether you’d like to carry on the tradition or maybe leave it with time gone by.

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