How the Garter Toss Became a Tradition

While it’s fallen out of favor with many brides (and isn’t our favorite custom, either), back in the Dark Ages, the garter was a hot item.

Associate Editor
Photography by: Bryan Gardner

It’s said that family and friends would wait outside the nuptial bedchamber until they were shown evidence -- sheets, stockings, a garter -- that the marriage had been consummated (seriously). In time, the garter came to symbolize good luck, and rowdy guests began making a game of trying to strip the bride of that little fabric band. To distract the mob, brides began tossing it into the crowd. Today, the practice usually involves the groom throwing the garter to a group of single men; whoever catches it is believed to be the next to marry.