The garter toss, where a groom takes off a bride’s garter and throws it to an angling mob of single male guests, is one of the oldest wedding traditions practiced today. But, while it may date from medieval times, there’s no reason why you can’t put a fresh and fun spin on it today. Here are some unique ideas to consider as a garter toss alternative.
Make the groom dance to a fun or silly song to receive approval from the bride before the garter removal. When the dance is over, the bride will give a thumbs up (meaning that he can proceed with the garter removal) or thumbs down (meaning that he has to try again).
For sports buffs: Attach the garter to a ball, have the DJ put on a familiar sports theme, and throw it (gently) into the crowd.
Fasten some money or lottery tickets to the garter to intensify the motivation for guests to go for it. Including a bottle of wine or booze for the garter winner can also amp up the enticement.
Place the garter in a piñata (filled with glitter, candy, etc.) and have blindfolded guests take turns giving it a whack.
An idea for the jokesters—make it a garter toss that guests will remember. Hide other items under the bridal dress: a rubber chicken, old newspapers, a bowling ball, anything really! Remove them with a flourish before finally producing the garter.
The entire point of the garter toss is to make a winner out of one of the single ladies or men. (The idea goes that the person who catches the garter will have good luck and be the next to be married.) But if you feel less than comfortable with the idea, choose another item to throw: the boutonniere; a hat or veil; a small pillow (the ring pillow, perhaps) or stuffed animal; a bag of your favorite coffee, tea, or candies. It can be anything not too heavy or fragile that has meaning for you.
See how well wedding guests know the bride and groom with a short series of trivia questions about their habits and tastes, how they met, etc. Whoever answers the most questions correctly wins.
Gather up the kids at the wedding, and affix a small bill to the garter before throwing it toward them.
Pass the garter around, as the DJ, blindfolded, plays a song. When the DJ pauses the song, whoever is holding it is out. The last person holding the garter is the winner.
Present the wedding bouquet to the couple that’s been married the longest and the garter to the couple married most recently.
Ditch the garter, but keep the competitive spirit. Have a dance for the ladies and one for the gents. (Or have a free-for-all dance with everyone on the floor.) Let the crowd pick two winners by applause, then have a dance-off between them.
Remember that wedding customs ebb and flow with time; they’re not set in stone, and couples should make their wedding feel personal and individual, instead of blindly following practices that mean nothing to them. Don’t forget that this is your wedding, and you have the right to tweak any wedding tradition you like—or even do away with them completely if they just don’t fit your wedding day style.