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man and woman touching wedding garter

Everything Couples Should Know About The Wedding Garter Tradition

The wedding garter tradition is something you’ve probably heard of, but what is it and where did it come from? In this article, you will learn all about the history of the wedding garter tradition and toss and get all of your questions answered!

What is a Wedding Garter?

garter with red bows

Traditionally, a garter is a piece of fabric fastened around the leg in order to hold up one’s stockings. More recently, a wedding garter is a piece of lingerie worn by a bride beneath her wedding dress.

The wedding garter is an article of clothing that is sometimes used in what is known as the garter toss. The wedding garter toss is when the spouse removes the garter from their partner and tosses it into a crowd of single people. Whoever catches it is thought to be the next person to be married.


History of the Wedding Garter

The wedding garter is said to have first originated in The Dark Ages. It was believed that in olden times wedding guests would attempt to rip pieces of the bride’s dress off for good luck.

The bride would wear a garter that was easy to access, which she could then toss into the crowd to keep them from grabbing at her and tearing apart her dress.


Wedding Garter Symbolism

There is a plethora of symbolism in regards to the wedding garter. The wedding garter is generally believed to be a symbol of good luck. Whoever catches the garter in the toss is said to be the next person to be married.

In a historical context, the wedding garter was used to symbolize the fact that the newlywed couple had consummated their marriage. Wedding guests would often try to watch the couple to ensure that the woman had been deflowered.

The garter was often removed and presented as proof of deflowering in order for the couple to gain some privacy.


The Garter Toss

groom holds bride's wedding garter for toss

As we mentioned above, the garter toss began as proof for the wedding guests to see that the bride and groom consummated the marriage. They would offer guests the garter as proof of the bride’s deflowering, or so that guests would not tear her dress apart as part of a tradition in the Dark Ages.

In a modern context, the garter toss is a lighthearted and silly tradition. Typically, the groom takes it off the bashful bride and tosses it behind his head to a crowd of single men.

The bride typically tosses her bouquet to the single women. The man and woman who catch each item are meant to have good luck, and will be the next to marry according to superstition.

At some weddings, the man who catches the garter places it on the woman who catches the bouquet. This is totally optional, as not all of your guests may be comfortable with such an activity.


Wedding Garter FAQs

garter placement

All of your wedding garter questions answered!


Who purchases the wedding garter?

The wedding garter can be purchased by anyone. It is completely acceptable for you to purchase the garter for yourself especially if you have a specific style in mind. A garter may also be a fun and thoughtful bridal shower gift from your bridesmaids.


How much does the wedding garter cost?

The wedding garter ranges in price depending on how elaborate and decorative it is. The cost can be anywhere from $10 to $150. How much you want to spend on a wedding garter is completely up to you.


Which leg does the wedding garter go on? 

bride puts wedding garter on right leg

The wedding garter can be placed on whichever leg is most comfortable for you. There is no good luck or misfortune associated with wearing it on either leg. Placement of the garter also depends on personal desire, but it is generally worn on the thigh about three inches above the knee.


Do you have to wear the garter for the entire wedding?

The amount of time you wear your wedding garter is completely up to you. You can choose to wear it the entire day even if there will be no garter toss. You may also decide to put it on prior to the start of your reception.

A fun idea might also be to wait and wear the garter as a part of your wedding night lingerie. This is all about what is most comfortable and makes the most sense for you.


Do I have to do a wedding garter toss? 

A wedding garter toss is not required at all. It is up to the couple to decide if they want to include the tradition in their big day or forgo it for something else entirely. If the wedding garter toss is not for you, find some great alternatives here.



The inclusion of a wedding garter in your big day is completely up to you. Everything you do with your garter from which leg you wear it on to how long you wear it is for you to decide.

Wedding garters are a fun and flirty piece that can be used however you want, but do not have to be included at all. Remember, it is your big day and what you do is up to you!

If you do choose to partake in the wedding garter tradition, consider using these funny garter placement songs!

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Laura Gooch

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