Yeah Weddings
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 this wedding tradition and get all of your questions answered!

What is a Wedding Garter?

garter with red bows

Traditionally, a garter is a piece of fabric that is fastened around the leg in order to hold up one’s stockings. More recently, a bridal garter is a piece of lingerie worn by a bride beneath her wedding dress. This piece of lingerie can be any color or material the bride wants, but they are most commonly made of white lace. 

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

The garter toss is comparable to the bridal bouquet toss. This is when the bride throws her bouquet into a crowd of single people, generally women. Again, whoever catches it is said to be the next person to get married.


History of the Wedding Garter

The garter is said to have first originated in The Dark Ages. In these medieval times, it was believed that wedding guests including the couple’s friends and family would attempt to rip off pieces of the bride’s wedding wedding dress 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 bridal garter. It 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 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 wedding 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 bridal garter questions answered!


Who purchases the wedding garter?

It 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. The bride and groom can also purchase it together if they so decide. 


How much does the wedding garter cost?

The bridal 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 the garter is completely up to you. You can also DIY a wedding garter to save costs!


Which leg does the wedding garter go on? 

bride puts wedding garter on right leg

It 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. Again, wear the garter in whatever way is most comfortable for you on your wedding day. 


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

The amount of time you wear your 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 garter toss on my wedding day? 

A garter toss is not required at all. It is up to the bride and groom to decide if they want to include the wedding tradition in their big day or forgo it for something else entirely. If a toss is not for you, find some great alternatives here. Whatever you decide, make sure it is unique and right for you and your spouse. 



The inclusion of a garter on your wedding 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. Plan your wedding day undergarments in advance!

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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