The History of the Garter

While there are countless wedding traditions, one memorable moment seen in weddings across the nation is the garter toss.

This tradition began in 14th century England, when wedding guests considered it lucky to get a piece of the bride’s clothing. In order to preserve her dress, the bride started throwing her garter at the male guests. As time went on, male guests became rowdier, trying to tear the garter off of the bride’s leg themselves. In an attempt to save his new wife’s dignity, the groom started to remove the garter himself and toss it to the single men at the wedding.

Today, most brides wear two garters: one that they keep and one to throw away, both usually worn on the right leg. While it was popular for the groom to remove the garter with his teeth, in recent years it has been viewed as more appropriate for the groom to remove the garter with his hands. After removing the garter, the groom tosses it to all of the single men in attendance. The man that catches the garter is thought to be the next to get married.

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