The groom traditionally removes the bride’s garter during the wedding reception as part of a ceremonial tradition. The garter removal typically takes place towards the end of the reception, shortly before the bride and groom make their departure.
What is the garter tradition?
The garter tradition involves the groom reaching under the bride’s wedding dress to remove her garter with his hands or teeth. He then tosses the garter to the male guests at the wedding, in the same way the bride tosses her bouquet to unmarried female guests.
The man who catches the garter is supposed to place it on the leg of the woman who catches the bouquet. This is believed to indicate they will be the next to marry.
The origins of the garter tradition are unclear, but some believe it dates back to the 14th century. One theory suggests that guests would try to obtain a piece of the bride’s dress for good luck, so she began throwing articles of clothing, like her garter, to distract them.
When does the garter removal happen?
The garter removal typically takes place towards the very end of the wedding reception, shortly before the bride and groom depart. It is one of the last traditional reception events.
A typical order of events is:
- Bride tosses her bouquet
- Groom removes and tosses the garter
- Cake cutting
- Farewell toast
- Bride and groom departure
However, the timing can vary depending on the couple’s preferences. Some choose to remove the garter earlier in the night following traditional dances.
Does the groom really reach under her dress?
Yes, traditionally the groom reaches under the bride’s wedding dress to remove her garter. However, exactly how far under her dress he reaches can vary.
Some brides wear their garter low on the thigh, allowing the groom to only slightly lift her dress. Others wear it higher, requiring the groom to reach further to find it.
If the bride feels uncomfortable with the groom reaching high, she can provide him guidance or place the garter lower on her leg. Ultimately it comes down to the couple’s comfort level.
Do grooms ever use their teeth?
Some grooms remove the garter using only their hands. However, it has become popular for the groom to remove it with his teeth for a more provocative effect.
Using his teeth allows the groom to dramatically flip up or remove the bride’s skirt as he bites and pulls the garter down her leg. This ramps up the entertainment value for wedding guests.
Brides should approve this in advance if comfortable with the groom using his teeth. He should be careful not to damage the bride’s dress or actually bite her.
What if the bride doesn’t want to do it?
The garter removal is completely optional. Some brides skip it entirely if they are not comfortable with the tradition or want to modernize their reception.
Alternatives to still include guests include:
- Groom removing and tossing the bride’s bouquet instead
- Groom proposing to the bride again instead
- Bride and groom doing a slow dance
The bride should never feel obligated to go through with the garter toss if she does not want to. Open communication with the groom is important to align on reception events.
Do guests really put it on the one who catches the bouquet?
Yes, it is tradition for the man who catches the garter to place it on the leg of the woman who caught the bouquet. This is said to predict they will be the next to marry.
However, this part of the tradition is also optional based on the comfort of the bouquet catcher. The garter catcher may simply hold it up rather than placing it on her leg.
The whole garter ritual is meant to be a fun, lighthearted activity and should never make guests feel pressured or uncomfortable.
Is the garter toss still popular?
|Percentage of Weddings with Garter Toss
The garter toss was once a staple reception tradition but has steadily declined in popularity over the years. One survey found it dropped from 72% of weddings in 2000 to only 43% in 2020.
As views on marriage evolve, some see the garter toss as too suggestive or sexist. Couples often opt to modernize or skip it altogether. However, it remains popular with those wanting a traditional reception.
Does the bride pay for the garter?
Typically the bride purchases her own garter, so she covers the cost. Prices range widely depending on the material and detailing:
- Simple satin garter – $10 to $35
- Lace garter – $20 to $60
- Rhinestone/beaded garter – $50 to $120
Some brides may receive a garter as a bridal shower gift. The groom can also offer to pay if he wants a specific style. But etiquette says the expense falls under the bride’s attire budget.
What is the groom’s garter?
Some brides also buy a garter for the groom to wear during the wedding festivities. It matches the bride’s garter style and color.
The groom’s garter is placed on his leg early in the reception by the bride. Later on, she removes it during the garter toss ritual and tosses it along with her own.
This allows female guests a chance to catch a memento. The bride removes the groom’s garter either before or after he removes hers.
Should the garter match the wedding colors?
Brides often select a garter that coordinates with their wedding colors or their bridesmaids’ dresses. Some examples include:
- Blue garter for a blue color scheme
- Pink garter matching bridesmaid dresses
- Metallic gold garter for a black-and-gold theme
Matchy garters make for great wedding photos when revealed under the bride’s dress. But some brides opt for white or ivory garters regardless of color theme.
The most important thing is choosing a garter style the bride feels comfortable wearing during her wedding events.
What do you wear under your wedding dress?
Under their dresses, brides typically wear:
- Bra – Strapless or low back shapewear
- Shapewear – Provides smoothing and support
- Underwear – Can be thong, bikini, or high-waisted
- Garter belt – Holds up stockings if worn
Brides choose underwear that provides the desired shaping without showing lines under the dress. Seamless thongs or high-waisted styles are common choices.
Some dresses with full skirts allow brides to forego shapewear. Pasties or no bra may be an option for backless dresses with built-in support.
Do brides wear special underwear?
Many brides invest in new, special underwear to wear on their wedding day. Popular options include:
- Silky satin or lace bras and underwear
- Pretty lace garter belts
- Thongs or tangas to avoid panty lines
- Sexy corsets or bustiers
- Intricate hipster panties or bridal bustiers
The wedding night lingerie industry has expanded to offer bridal collections that are both attractive and functional for wear under gowns. Shop Honeymoon brands like Honeymoon, Flora Nikrooz, and Olivia von Halle.
What kind of jewelry do brides wear?
Popular jewelry worn by brides includes:
- Earrings – studs, chandelier, or drop styles
- Necklace – delicate chains or pendants
- Bracelet – tennis, bangle, or charm bracelets
- Rings – engagement ring, wedding band
- Hair pins – crystal pins, combs, tiaras
Bridal jewelry is focused on accentuating the neckline, hairstyle, and dress details. Most brides wear a minimalist approach and stick to 1-2 statement pieces.
Hair accessories like crystal hair pins add sparkle while holding a bride’s updo in place. Earrings should be proportional to the hair and dress neckline.
The garter toss tradition has evolved over the years, with many couples opting to modify or skip it entirely if it does not align with their values or comfort level. Open communication between the bride and groom is key.
While garters were once a wedding must-have, brides today have many options for underwear, lingerie, and accessories to complete their wedding day look.