Photo Credit: Meg Baisen Photography
Origin: The story behind this tradition is downright dirty. In medieval times, it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing, so hordes of guests would follow the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber after the ceremony and stand around the bed, trying to rip pieces of the bride’s gown right off her body. Because dresses were often torn apart, brides searched for alternatives to preserve their gowns and began throwing their bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. When the bride and groom made it safely into their wedding chamber, the groom would then crack open the door and toss the bride’s garter to the throngs of people waiting outside as a way of saying that he was about to “seal the deal.”
Today: At many modern weddings, the groom removes and tosses the bride’s garter to the groomsmen right after the bride tosses her bouquet to the bridesmaids. Traditionally, the unmarried man who catches the garter must place it on the leg of the unmarried woman who catches the bouquet, and it is said that they will be the next two to marry (not necessarily to each other). It’s a fun ritual, but many couples have chosen not to include it because guests could be injured easily, and it might embarrass the single women who are “dragged” to the floor to participate. If you have doubts about including this tradition in your wedding, consider an anniversary dance instead, which honors the longest-married couple by presenting them with the bouquet. How it works: Ask your married couples to join you on the dance floor as a slow song plays. Throughout the song, your DJ or bandleader will ask guests to sit down as their length of marriage is called out.
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