Should I Do The Garter Toss at My Wedding?

The Tradition

Serving as the male equivalent to the bouquet toss, the Garter Toss is an intimate display between the bride and groom. A garter is located on the bride's upper leg and is retrieved by the groom from under his bride's gown. Usually, she is seated in a chair in front of the wedding guests. The groom then tosses the garter into a group of all the bachelors attending the wedding. The man who catches the garter is deemed lucky, for he is the next in line to be married!

The Origin

In medieval Europe, it was considered good luck for a wedding guest to obtain a piece of the bride's gown. As the tradition goes, guests would follow the bride and groom to their sleeping chambers to snag a piece or her clothing following the wedding. A garter was implemented to ward off grabbing hands and the risk of the bride and groom's clothes being ripped to shreds. Initially, the garter was attached to the bottom of the bride's gown (so that it could easily be grabbed). This act transitioned into the garter being tossed into the crowd to distract guests while the happy couple made their getaway.

Why People Don't like it

Some people find the display to be raunchy or too intimate for a public scene. A common challenge for the groom is to remove the garter with just his teeth, which some people find makes for an uncomfortable situation. The garter's removal is sometimes seen as the representation of deflowering the bride, which makes some people turn their heads. Others find that the garter and bouquet toss puts too much emphasis on single guests, and some might find being put in the spotlight uncomfortable or embarrassing.


The Garter Toss is meant to be a fun tradition that engages wedding guests. If you feel your guests are comfortable with this display, then enjoy it! Why change tradition? If you would rather not partake, here are some alternatives that engage your guests and create fun memories:

A straightforward fix is skipping the removal of the garter and having it in hand to be thrown. Some grooms try to jazz up the process by sending the garter off like a slingshot or wrapping it around an object like a football. Or, instead of the bride's garter, consider tossing a piece of the groom's ensemble, like his boutonniere. You can toss a soft object or attach a masculine gift to something soft. [Remember, have fun, but be safe! Think about what you are tossing over the heads of people; is it hard or breakable? Avoid things that could result in injury or disappointment if broken on impact.]

Want to involve the kiddos? Consider tossing candy for everyone to enjoy (even the adults). A stuffed animal with a cute message can be a sweet present to catch. Or, step-up the adult fun with $1 lottery tickets, then multiple people have a chance of being lucky.

A new modern take is for animal lovers to toss a plush cat (any animal could work) to a group of wedding guests. Instead of putting marriage pressures on suspecting singles, the catcher of the plushie is encouraged to adopt a cat (or maybe any pet) from a shelter. This toss takes the emphasis off of single guests and encourages supporting a noble cause.

Some couples do away with the garter toss completely and toss the bouquet together. If that is unappealing, it isn't uncommon to put the bouquet in a vase on display and do away with both toss-traditions entirely. If your guests are not the dancing type, live music and other forms of entertainment such as professional dancers or magicians can bring an elegant touch to your wedding.

Don't want to toss anything at all? Have a balloon drop! You can place an object inside of, or attach an object (commonly used is a ribbon) to one of the balloons. This can be a game for bachelors, and the finder of the object is the next to be married. Feel free to play this game with all of your wedding guests, play a classic game to win a prize, like musical chairs.

Always Remember

It is important to remember that weddings are personal events that celebrate marriage. Ultimately, it is between you and your spouse whether you do the garter toss or not. Do what makes you happy and feel that represents you as a couple best. Ozark Mix is pleased to help you create an experience unique to you as well as beautiful memories with your guests.