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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureOther - Society & Culture · 8 years ago

What is the origin of the wedding garter tradition?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Throwing garters is considered to be the oldest surviving wedding tradition. Back in Dark Ages it was customary for friends, relatives and guests to accompany the bridal couple to the marriage bed. At first this was to safely see the married couple ensconced in their wedding bed and once established the crowd respectfully left the newly weds to their own company.

    The wedding garter toss became a game of sorts. The bridal party would toss the garter at the grooms nose and the person who successfully landed the garter on his nose would be the next to marry.

    The custom became rowdier and bawdier until the guests were eager to help the bride out of her wedding clothes. The wedding guests would try to grab the bride's garter for good luck. It is thought to forestall such impropriety, the bride's garter was given to the mob as a distraction. Soon this became an established custom.

    Throwing the garter to the groom's men is what remains of the custom. In Northern England the old custom was for male guests to rush the bride at the altar when the ceremony was finished and remove her garter from her leg. In the panic this usually meant the bride was knocked over and trampled on.

    Gradually brides made garters easier to detach and finally to avoid threat of injury they tossed their garters away at the end of the ceremony. Garters were imbued with fertility and the bride's garter signified consummation, fulfillment, and progeny and was always fiercely sought after. Untying the bride's garter had a deeply symbolic act. In the past the lucky guest to receive the bride's garter would wear it proudly on his hat, before giving it to the girl of his choice for luck.

    Another variation on this custom in the 19th century was for the local youths to race from the church to the bride's house. The first was given the honor of removing the bride's left garter. He would then tie this around his own true love's knee as a guard against unfaithfulness. In the North of England , the custom was for the man to wear the bride's garter in his hat.

    Tossing the garter was reintroduced in the early part of the twentieth century. These days, the groom is responsible for removing the garter and tossing it at the eagerly waiting groomsmen at the reception. Much tamer that the early days. Bride would also have a second keepsake garter that they would keep with their wedding dress.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    The guests of the bride and groom believed having a piece of the bride's clothing was thought to bring good luck." This led them to ripping pieces from the bride's gown, which she was not happy with. To avoid being bombarded, she then began to throw guests pieces of her attire, with one of those pieces being the garter. However, some of the intoxicated men would try to take the garter early, so the tradition was born that the groom would take the garter off of the bride and throw it to the men.

    Other traditions include the guests entering the bridal chamber and stealing the bride's stockings. The Knot tells us that this was called "flinging the stocking." It became a game where the men would see who could be the first to fling it onto the groom's nose. Whoever did this would be the next to get married. While there are several stories about how this tradition began, the core of tossing the garter still remains today.


    The garter toss involves throwing the garter into a group of single men at the wedding. The tradition says that the bachelor who catches the garter will be the next one to get married.

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