The garter toss, where a groom takes off a bride’s garter and throws it to a jostling pack of single male guests, has been a part of weddings since the Middle Ages. And even brides who don’t choose to include the custom in their wedding may buy a garter to wear as a sexy accessory on their wedding night. Here’s what you need to know about who usually buys the bride’s garter.
There’s no specific tradition around who buys the bride’s wedding garter. The mother of the bride can buy one for her daughter, perhaps fashioned from material from her own wedding dress. A maid of honor or another friend can buy the bride a garter as a thoughtful gift at her wedding shower or bachelorette party, or the bridesmaids can get together and design a meaningful one for their friend. Even the spouse-to-be can buy it. It’s also perfectly fine to buy your own bridal garter.
Blue is a common color for garters, so that it can also fulfill the “something blue” custom, but they come in every color; white is most traditional. Back when garters were worn to hold up stockings, they were worn on each leg. So, the wedding garter can be worn on either leg, and it’s typically worn at the top of the knee or as a garter belt. This is the narrowest part of the leg, so it shouldn’t fall down, and it’s less likely to rub your other leg when you’re walking or dancing.
They range in price from $15 to more than $100 for more elaborate styles, but they usually fall into the $20 to $35 range. They are typically made of lace or satin with some sort of stretchy or elastic material, and they can feature ruching, bows, appliqués, embroidery, beading, ribbon, crystals, feathers, and other accouterments.
Brides should be sure to try on the garter before the wedding to address any fit issues. It’s fine to put the garter on yourself, or ask a friend to help you. And, don’t feel like you must wear it the entire day—it may affect the line of the dress or make it harder to sit and move around, depending on your dress. Feel free to slip it on before the garter toss or keep it with your wedding night bridal lingerie for after the celebrations. You don’t even have to wear it at all—you can just keep it as a special memento from the wedding, or as an heirloom to pass down from one generation to the next. If you’re having a garter toss, you can buy one to throw and one to keep.
It’s not mandatory to do a garter toss at your wedding, or even for the bride to wear a garter. Select the wedding customs that feel right for you as a couple, as a way to make your wedding feel personal and individual to you. It’s completely up to you to tweak any traditions you like—or get rid of them completely, if they just don’t fit your wedding’s vibe.