Wedding Garter Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on January 1, 2011

in Wedding Etiquette

wedding garter etiquette

An old tradition in weddings is the removal of the bride’s wedding garter.  This tradition was not brought about to have the bride and her family be embarrassed by a drunken groom climbing under her dress and removing the garter with his teeth, but, rather as a symbolic gesture of the groom throwing away his old existence and moving on to his new married life.   As this ceremony symbolizes so much, it is important to get it right to showcase exactly what type of married life the groom thinks he is getting in to…

  • As previously mentioned, the groom should not remove the garter with his teeth.   It makes everyone watching a little uncomfortable (especially your grandma!).
  • The groom should move the brides dress up just enough to discreetly be able to remove the garter.  No flashing!
  • The bride should be seated while the garter is being removed.  This can prevent her falling on her butt as the groom yanks the garter off (which, might be amusing for the guests but could cause a Bridezilla to go on a rampage).
  • The bride should also move the garter a little lower on her leg than where it traditionally sits (on the upper thigh) to make removal by the groom that much easier.  She can even choose to remove it herself and simply hand it to the groom.
  • The groom should then stand with his back to the crowd of single men and toss the garter, just like how the bride tosses the bouquet!
  • Whoever catches the garter is supposed to get good luck.  However, as the good luck means they are the next to be married, some men might disagree with how lucky that is.
  • The man who catches the garter not only receives good luck, but, the duty of having to stand there with a big, cheesy smile, holding the garter up for official photos.

If you want to keep a garter for sentimental reasons or are uncomfortable with the whole thing, it is completely acceptable to skip that part of the reception.  Or, you can always buy a second garter for your scrapbook!

Further Reading: hccgarters.com

Photo: dreamstime/Felix Mizioznikov

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