Your wedding day is almost here and there are lots of little things that you still need to think about…your wedding garter is one of them!
Wearing a garter is one of those wedding traditions that is often left to the last minute, but it’s worth being prepared so you can tick it off your list. If you are choosing to wear one that is!
Here we talk about the history of wearing garters, the famous garter toss, and “what leg does the garter go on”.
What Is a Wedding Garter?
The wedding garter is a piece of lingerie shaped as a band, traditionally worn around one of your legs under your wedding dress.
Historically the function of a garter was to hold stockings in place, these days it’s quite rare that a bride would wear stockings and need a garter.
What Is the Garter Toss?
The garter toss is a slightly silly wedding tradition that is sometimes still practiced today – it is pretty similar to the toss of the bride’s bouquet.
It often happens at some point during the reception… the groom will remove the garter from underneath the bride’s gown and toss it into the crowd. And yes, he sometimes does this with his teeth!
Whilst the bouquet is meant to be caught by a single lady, the garter is meant to be caught by a single guy – who is then believed to be married next. Perhaps to each other!
Some brides may want to toss the garter but are uncomfortable with the idea of their groom fishing around for it under the dress. If this is a concern then you can take it off in a more subtle way yourself, or not wear it altogether. Ask one of your bridesmaids to hold onto it instead, then you can give it to your groom at the appropriate time. Tailor the toss to suit you!
These days, the garter toss should be a light-hearted moment that is a bit of fun, but if you don’t like anything about it, then you can always skip it… it’s not like anyone is going to be waiting for it to happen.
Why Do We Wear Garters?
It’s considered quite a bizarre tradition these days, but long ago newlyweds were meant to consummate their marriage immediately after the ceremony, and some wedding guests would even watch to make sure the deed was done. Saucy.
Presenting the garter that was holding up the bride’s stocking was “proof” to unwanted onlookers that the deed was done or at least underway!
In medieval times, pieces of the bride’s clothing were considered tokens of good luck… and it seems people were not shy about getting close and sometimes ripping her clothes off her body! The garter toss then was a way of appeasing a rowdy crowd, almost a protective measure to keep prying hands away. It does not sound fun being a medieval bride does it?!
What Leg Does The Garter Go On?
A garter was originally meant to hold the stockings up so one was worn on both legs. Men wore them too!
So there is no right answer to this question – It is totally up to you which leg you want to wear your garter on for your wedding day.
You won’t get 10 years of bad luck if you wear your wedding garter on either your left or right leg so the decision is yours! It comes down to which one feels more comfortable to you.
Some brides choose to wear two garters: one to toss to the awaiting men, and one to keep.
Does the Garter Need to Be Blue?
Garters are often blue so that they can be used to tick the “something blue” box from the traditional wedding rhyme.
But no, they do not have to be blue. Often they are white or ivory.
Where Should I Place the Garter on My Leg?
You should wear your wedding garter just above your knee, on the leg of your choice. This is typically the narrowest part of your leg.
But we are all different, so if it feels uncomfortable then you can of course adjust it and move your garter higher up on your leg.
What Are the Different Styles of Wedding Garter?
Wedding garters typically come in satin or as a lace band of any color. Some garters feature a ruched effect, while some have delicate bows, appliqués, beads, stones, or crystals.
Some brides choose to have their garter custom-made. This is a particularly good idea if you plan to keep the garter as a wedding heirloom. You can work with a designer on a bespoke design and color palette, perhaps it could match the colors of your wedding design.
When Should I Buy the Garter?
There are so many little jobs to be done in the final weeks before the wedding so it’s a good idea to get your garter purchased early.
Remember to try on your wedding garter before the morning of your wedding, ideally under your dress.
Problems with fit or discomfort are much easier to solve in advance; you don’t want it to feel too tight or be so loose that it keeps falling out of place. Test it out early and then keep it in a safe place, perhaps with your wedding shoes or your veil.