Wedding Tradition Breakdown: Garter Toss

Whether the tradition of tossing the bride’s garter makes you chuckle or cringe, it’s one that has somehow lasted until today. While many modern couples have opted to skip the somewhat embarrassing tradition of the garter toss, others still have fun with it. If you’re wondering whether you should pass or honor this tradition, here is a quick breakdown of it by our wedding photographers.





The wedding garter dates back to Medieval England. Back then, guests would rip off a piece of the bride’s dress as it was thought to bring good luck. The tearing of the dress was also meant to “encourage” the newlyweds as they made their way to the marital bed. In order to avoid having their dress end up in tatters, brides started wearing a garter so that they could toss it to guests.



The wedding garter, and the removal of it by the groom, is meant to be symbolic deflowering. Back in the day, a bride and groom were meant to consume their marriage right away. The groom would bring the garter to the guests as a way to prove it had happened (rather than having people in the room and watch!)



In modern times, the garter is just a piece of white fabric that is placed above the bride’s knee. The groom typically removes it during the reception and tosses it into the crowd similar to a bouquet toss. At some weddings, the woman that caught the bouquet and the man that caught the garter share a dance.


Due to the history and symbolic meaning of wedding garters, many modern couples have begun opting to avoid this tradition. There’s something off-putting about seeing a groom go up the skirt of his bride in front of their elderly grandparents.


Some couples today have altered the garter toss to be more modern. Some brides opt to wear and keep their garter or make it part of their wedding night lingerie. Other brides just carry the garter in their purse or wear it down by their calf, so the groom doesn’t have to reach so high up the dress. There are tons of ways you can make the garter toss more comfortable for everyone, or you can just skip it altogether!



If you’re looking for a wedding photographer or videographer to capture your special day, contact AGI Studio! Our team of experienced, award-winning photographers would love to capture your wedding day.

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