Wedding garters, and subsequently the wedding garter toss, is a tradition that has been carried out for centuries, but its practices and rituals have differed through different civilizations and different times.
In ancient times it was believed that a bride’s clothing would bring good luck to anyone who got a hold of it. This became a little upsetting to the bride, since her guests would demolish her dress in order to have a piece of it, and its presumed fortune.
Obviously over time, this tradition began to change. Soon the good fortune, it was only associated with the bride’s garter, which guests would fight over. This too turned out to be dangerous, as the bride would often be knocked over by drunken male guests trying to remove her garter. In current times, only the groom removes the garter, and then tosses it to the unmarried male wedding guests.
Of course this all is based on the process, but the tradition itself is steeped in symbolism. It’s an iconic emblem towards the surrender of the bride’s virginal girdle to the groom, the tossing away of a groom’s single life and embracing a married life, good luck for the guest lucky enough to catch the garter.
But why is the garter often blue, you ask? In several ancient cultures, the color blue was considered symbolic of wealth and prosperity, so both the bride and groom would have a blue band around the bottom of their garments. As style and tradition have changed, so has this custom, so that now the garter is often blue.
The most common garter practices involve two garters: one that is tossed away, and another above it that is for the bride to keep as a memento. These garters are a valuable keepsake, and can be kept as a reminder of your special wedding day for years to come.
So, whether you wear a garter out of tradition, duty or simply for fun, know that it can be tailored to you and an extremely fun part of the reception.