Regardless of whether you’re a bride to be planning on wearing a garter as a bit of fun, or you’re a groom to be that’s wondering what it is exactly – there’s no denying that the wedding tradition of the garter is one that has stood the test of time, and is steeped in history.
Even though the playful tradition of getting the groom to remove the garter and then throw it to the wedding crowd during the reception isn’t always something that makes it to the big day, there are plenty of brides that do choose to wear a garter for their husband’s eyes only – it all comes down to what feels right for you.
So, whether you plan on sticking to traditional wedding activities and trying out the garter toss, or you’re simply thinking about whether or not you’d actually like to even wear one, then this article is for you. Below, we’re going to be talking you through the history about the garter, the meaning behind it, as well as how it should correctly be worn.
What is the wedding garter?
Even though we’re sure that you’re likely already aware of what the wedding garter looks like, we’re first going to be kicking things off with the meaning of the garter, so that you can get a better understanding of it as a wedding tradition.
Definition: The wedding garter is a type of bridal lingerie that is worn under the bride’s dress during her wedding day. Traditionally, the garter is not designed to be worn for the entirety of the day, and is instead intended to be removed by the groom during the wedding reception, in front of all of the wedding guests.
The bride will usually sit on a chair in the middle of the reception room, and the groom will then proceed to discreetly lift up the bride’s dress and remove the garter via either his hands or his teeth.
After the groom has removed the garter from the bride, he will then throw the garter into a crowd of single men, and it is believed that whoever catches it, is going to be married next.
As you can see from the definition above, the garter toss is a whole lot similar to the bouquet toss, as both types of tosses are deemed to not only bring good fortune to the marriage, but also to help predict the next person attending the party who will soon also be married.
What is the history of the wedding garter?
Interestingly enough, the tradition of the wedding garter originally began during the dark ages, in which the garter was often used as a way to hold clothing up undergarments up underneath the bride’s dress.
During the dark ages, people were particularly superstitious, and so many people strongly believed that taking a piece of the bride’s clothing/dress would bring the taker plenty of good luck and good fortune for the rest of their lives.
The reality of this would often mean that, after the ceremony and celebrations had taken place, the wedding party would accompany the bride and groom to the bed-chamber, all the while tearing off pieces of the bride’s dress along the way.
This particular part of the ceremony could quite easily become rough and dangerous for the bride, and so newlywed couples began throwing items of clothing such as the garters in order to appease the crowd and keep the bride as safe as possible. In addition to this, the wedding garter was also sometimes used by the groom in order to prove to friends and family that the marriage had been consummated.
How to wear the garter
If you’re a bride-to-be and currently wondering about how you should wear the garter on your wedding day, then the good news is that you can opt to wear it in a variety of ways.
As a general rule of thumb, due to the design of the wedding garter, it does mean that you will need to wear your garter on your leg, although it is entirely up to you which leg you would like to wear it on.
If you’re a superstitious person, then it is also worth noting that there are absolutely no good luck or bad omens associated with either leg, although most brides do feel most comfortable wearing their garter on their dominant leg.
As for the location on the leg? Though there are no set rules for how to wear a garter, it is widely accepted that the best place to wear the garter is either just above the knee, as this area is the narrowest part of the leg, which means that the bride will be able to wear the garter without rubbing their leg while walking around or dancing.
However, you could alternatively opt to wear your garter on the top of your leg towards the thigh – it can go wherever it feels most comfortable to you!
In addition to all of this, there are also a variety of options available to you with regards to how long you wear your garter on your wedding day. If you’re planning on getting your groom to remove it during the wedding party for the garter toss, then we recommend going for a stretchy garter, as this will make it easier for your husband to remove.
Alternatively, if you want to wear a garter made of a more delicate fabric that could be prone to breaking, then we recommend keeping your garter in your purse and then slipping it on in the venue’s bathroom a few moments before the garter toss is set to take place.
Top tip for the bride: If you’re planning on leaving your garter on until the night, then many brides opt to match their garter with their wedding night lingerie. You could even opt to keep the garter in your wedding suite and put it on after the festivities have ended.