The History of the Wedding Garter

Posted at 03:23 am Tuesday February 21st 2012

teal polks dot wedding garterBelieve it or not, bridal garters are one of the longest surviving wedding traditions! Dating all the way back to the 1500’s in France and England, wedding guests would wait outside the bridal bed chamber  for the groom to toss the garter or stockings. The lucky one who caught the bride’s under-things was granted good luck and was supposed to be married in the next year.

It wasn’t always this simple though.  In the 1700’s the tradition changed into a rather rough charging of the bride when the wedding guests decided any piece of the bride’s ensemble was good enough! This often resulted in the bride being trampled and her wedding gown torn to shreds. Let’s just be thankful this isn’t happening at weddings anymore!

For a while in the 1900’s brides would wear stockings with long ribbons on them and at the reception the ribbon would be cut into tiny pieces and passed out to the guests for good luck. This then changed into handing out pre-cut ribbons, scarves, gloves and other objects and the tradition of wedding favours was born.

Pretty strange stuff if you ask me, and this is just the highlights!

Nowadays the tradition dictates that the groom will remove the garter from the bride’s leg at the reception and toss it to all the single men.  The man that catches it will place it on the lucky lady that caught the bouquet and she will be the next to be married, he higher he puts it, the longer her marriage will last.

Brides and Grooms have been altering this tradition to suit their personal style for as long as it’s been around and it will continue to change over the years.   One thing that seems to have lasted though is the use of the garter as “something blue” and this can be as simple as blue ribbon, or blue lining. Depending on the couple the ceremony or removing the garter can be wild and outrageous, or understated and quick.Bride and goom taking off the garter

The main thing to remember is that yes, it may be a silly tradition but everybody does it and it was never intended to embarrass anyone. It might seem weird for your new husband to be digging around in your dress while your parents are present, but 25 years ago, they were doing the same thing! Of course it might not have been removed to the music from the Mission Impossible movies but that’s another story, and it probably still ended up on someone’s head.

- thanks to our guest blogger, Bree Peister -the owner of - custom made bridal garters!

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