What is the Tradition of Bridal Garters?
This tradition has evolved greatly over the years
By Andrea Campbell
Historically, the tradition of removing the bride's garter originated from the idea that taking an item of the bride's clothing would bring good luck. In earlier times, wedding guests attempted to tear off a piece of the bride's clothing. The obvious issues with this custom led to different methods being employed to preserve propriety during wedding events.
In earlier versions of the practice, guests used to rush the bride at the altar -- some say bedroom -- to secure one of her garters. She eventually started taking it off herself for self-preservation.
The garter throwing soon took on a superstition. The man who "won" the bride's garter received good luck and if he passed it on to a romantic partner, had a guarantee of loyalty from his lover.
Carrying it too far
Eventually, the tradition evolved into the best man becoming the one to take the garter and rip it into pieces to throw out to the wedding guests. The rush to get the remnants could become over-exuberant.
Around the 17th century, a sash-like garter was a trophy and the "capture" meant that the winner could wear the good luck charm around his hat all through the celebration.
Today the groom removes the garter as part of the reception and a photo opportunity. He often shoots it out like a slingshot toward a waiting group of men -- and some reluctant ones too.
How to Wear It
Wear the garter on the right leg, above the knee. In many cases a bride will wear two, one to give up and the other for the wedding bed.
About the Author
Andrea Campbell is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been writing professionally since 1991.
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