Why is the garter toss even a thing at weddings? 

Where does the tradition come from? 

How can I make it fun for my wedding guests?

What are some alternatives to the traditional garter and bouquet toss? 

And what if I don’t want to give up my wedding garter? 

stressed out

Keep reading to find the answer to all of these questions! 

1. What’s the origin of the garter toss tradition? 

Where does the tradition of garter toss come from? 

The origin of this tradition is somewhat disturbing and scary and not at all the fun, sexy experience it is at modern-day weddings. 

Back in the day, the couple was supposed to consummate the marriage basically immediately following the ceremony. 

Guests would wait outside the room to make sure this really happened. 

ross and chandler listening at door

Ew. Ever heard of privacy?

Then, the groom would bring out the garter as proof that it was done. 

Another reason the garter toss became popular was because wedding guests would try to snatch up pieces of the bridal gown for good luck. 

Naturally, this made the poor brides very anxious and tense. 

So, the garter toss was devised to distract the wedding guests and the couple could sneak away with the bridal gown still intact. 

2. How does the garter toss work?

Typically, there will be time set aside during the reception when the  groom will retrieve the garter from the bride’s leg and toss it to the unmarried male wedding guests that huddle up. 

It’s basically the guys’ version of the bouquet toss.

The idea is very similar to the bouquet toss, too, in that the lucky one who catches the garter will be the next man to get married. 

Sometimes that person will then place the garter on the leg of the lady who caught the bouquet. 

Or they put it on their own arm…. 

…or head 🤷.

3. What kind of garter should I pick?

garter toss set

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Usually garters are made of white lace, satin, or silk, and embellished with ribbon, rhinestones or stitching. 

But since it’s hidden under your dress for most of the day, choose a garter that fits your personality! 

It can be traditional, fun, sexy, whatever appeals to you!

You can use ribbon in your wedding colors, have it monogrammed, or match your favorite superhero or hobby.

4. How do I wear a garter?

garter under dress

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Traditionally, a garter was worn to keep stockings in place. 

Nowadays you’re probably not wearing stockings under your wedding dress but will still choose to wear a garter. 

Since it doesn’t really serve a purpose, there’s not really a wrong way to wear it. 

Simply slide it on either thigh right above the knee, so that you can wear it comfortably until the garter toss. And it will make the retrieval easier!

If you wear two garters (see below) on the same leg, wear the one you plan to toss lower than the one you want to keep. 

5. What if I don’t want to give up my wedding garter? 

Then you don’t have to!! 

garter toss set lace

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You can just purchase two garters, one to keep and one to use for the garter toss. 

The one you keep will typically be a bit wider and more embellished, whereas the toss garter will be a thinner, “light” version resembling the larger one.

6. How can I make it fun for my wedding guests?

The garter toss tradition can be a bit awkward for guests as they stand around and watch the groom disappear under the bride’s dress, but it can also be lots of fun. 

One way to make it a fun experience for your guests is to put the garter on a football before tossing it into the crowd of eligible bachelors. 

garter toss football

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This will be much more fun and competitive than simply flicking it to the guys. 

Other ideas include having your groomsmen toss extra garters so that more guests will be involved or you can add a coupon for free drinks to up the ante!

7. Pick the right song!

Picking the right song for the garter toss is imperative for setting the stage (and the mood!)

Whether you’re going with a fun or flirty vibe, you want your guests and especially the single dudes excited. 

Here are some of our favorite picks:

Boyz II Men – I’ll make love to you

Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing

Marvin Gaye – Let’s get it on

Nelly – Hot in Herre

R. Kelly – Ignition (Remix)

Ginuwine – Pony

8. What are some alternatives to the traditional garter toss? 

Maybe you don’t want to wear a garter, don’t want your brand new husband retrieving it in front of a crowd or you’re a same-sex couple. 

You have lots of options: 

  • Wear a garter, but don’t have a garter toss, so only your new husband will see it. 
  • Don’t wear a garter but use a special one for a garter toss to skip the retrieval in front of all your guests.
  • Opt for only a bouquet toss.

9. The biggest garter toss fail 

Don’t be this guy (awkward 🐢)…

10. The funniest garter retrieval

Be THIS guy!!

Or this dude who came prepared! 

Do you think a garter toss is a must or an outdated and awkward tradition? 

Share with us in the comments below.