The Famous Tradition Of Wedding Garter For A Bride

Author: Nidhi Sood on Nov 10,2022
bf wedding garters for bride


With about 85% of brides in the United States opting to wear wedding garter sets on their wedding day, we felt it would be helpful to answer the question, "What is the tradition behind the bridal garter?"

Wedding garters have been around for centuries and have evolved. While they are mostly worn by brides and bridesmaids today, men and women wore them earlier. In fact, in some cultures, it is believed that wearing a garter can bring good luck to both the bride and groom. In modern times, the garter is typically only worn by the bride and is often worn under her dress. Keep scrolling to learn about the tradition and why it has been observed over centuries!


The History and Significance of a Bride's Wedding Garter

The tradition of the bridal garter extends back a century when it was thought lucky to take home a piece of the bride's attire. Family and wedding guests would accompany the newlyweds to the bedroom to ensure their safety. They would try to rip the bride's dress to keep a 'lucky' piece of it for themselves.

This custom evolved into wearing and removing a garter to safeguard the bride from overly exuberant bridal party members. The bridal garter was also seen as proof of marriage consummation. The groom delivered it to family and friends after the couple's first night together as man and wife.


The Eighteenth Century

The bride and groom wore ribbon garters to hold their stockings up, often worn out of fashion and need in the 1700s. Following the wedding festivities, the guests would return to the bridal chamber and participate in a game called 'Fling the Stocking.'

Unmarried men and women would try to remove the bride and groom's stockings and hurl them over their shoulders in the hope that the stocking would land on the married couple. They would be blessed with a successful marriage.


The Victorian Era and The Nineteenth Century

The 'racing for the garter' first developed in the 1800s. The single groomsmen would race from the church to the bridal home, and the winner received the garter, which was flung to him by the bride.

The groom then throws the garter to his groomsmen, with the winner attaching the garter to his hat for good luck. However, during Queen Victoria's reign, tossing the garter was exchanged for throwing the bridal bouquet, resulting in another modern-day wedding tradition.


What is the Modern Tradition of the Wedding Garter?

The groom now has the prerogative of removing and tossing the garter at the reception at modern weddings. The groom tosses the garter to the wedding's unmarried men.

Catching the garter is supposed to bring you good luck and, in certain situations, to foretell that you will be married soon.


Wedding Garter Sets and Styles

Because the bridal garter is hidden beneath your wedding gown, you can select one that complements your personality. You might go with a simple white one to observe the infamous tradition, or you could go with a dramatic one that will look amazing in photos. You can even include something blue in your wardrobe with a blue bridal garter.

Various garters and garter sets are available now to suit every bride's preferences and wants. A bridal garter set has two garters, one decorated and ornate and one more plain. They are identical in style and color, and the bride can keep one. Popular garter materials include lace, satin, and silk.

Satin and silk are soft on the skin, and the lace adds a lovely finishing touch. Animal prints, superhero garters, and glittering crystals are just a few examples of the endless design possibilities for garters. Traditional wedding colors include white, ivory, and shades of blue. Because the bridal garter is not a visible component of your dress, you can choose one that does not necessarily match the theme of your wedding.

Have your boho wedding fantasies come true with a finely created vine of gilded leaves, gems, and pearls, all bound together with a customizable ribbon clasp. If you can't wait to show off your flashiest jewelry and blingiest accessories, a rhinestone garter will fit right in. For the ultimate bridal look, pair it with a dazzling ballgown.


Wedding Garters Songs

The garter toss is traditionally held during the wedding reception. While a throng watches, the to-be husband removes the garter from the bride's leg, often using his hands and teeth. Following the bride's bouquet toss, the husband tosses the garter to all of the wedding's eligible men.

Numerous songs can be played depending on the mood you wish to create. Here are a few popular songs to play during the garter toss to start the party.

  1. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot
  2. Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye
  3. Bootylicious by Destiny's Child
  4. Theme Song from Mission: Impossible
  5. One Way Or Another, Blondie

Whether you want to stick to tradition or go for a more creative approach, the bridal garter can play as much or as little of a role in your wedding as you choose. Do whatever seems right for you - whether that means your husband sees the garter on you or has him retrieve it in front of a crowd. It's your wedding day, and you can determine how to handle this custom.


Wearing a Wedding Garter

A garter's purpose is to keep the bride's stockings in place on her legs. Therefore, there is no right or wrong leg to wear it. A garter can be worn on either the left or right leg, depending on personal preference.

Brides often wear two garters—one to throw and one to keep. The keeper garter goes higher on the same leg as the tossing garter, which goes lower. The most crucial thing is for your spouse to know which leg it is on so that he can quickly collect it when the time comes. You want to avoid wearing your garter too high or too low, so the optimal place is just above your knee. This way, it won't cut off circulation, rub against the other leg, or slip off. 

However, you can dare to experiment in a few different places to evaluate which is most comfortable for you. If you intend to have photos taken with your dress lifted to display your garter, keep it low enough to not accidentally flash the photographer while taking the shots.

Keep in mind that your guests will be looking on as the groom removes the garter, so it's best to keep it at a more modest height.



The bridal garter is an integral part of a bride's wedding day dress, hidden beneath her gown until the groom retrieves it and tosses it to all the unmarried men at the reception. The garter toss is an essential element of the wedding ceremony. Yet, many women participate in this age-old custom without fully comprehending its significance. 

With so many different types, designs, and colors to choose from, you'll want to be sure you get the right one for your wedding. Continue reading for more information about wedding customs, cultures, ideas, and inspiration.

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