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Garter Under Wedding Dress - Is This Tradition Outdated?

Posted by Antoinette Abrahamsen on

To garter or not garter, that is the question. For so long, garters have been a pinnacle of wedding tradition...and a big feature of modern romcoms! Now, you are very excited to plan your own special day, but you’re not sure if you want a garter. Is it really something people are still doing? Is having a garter in a wedding still popular?

Not to worry, we hear you.

Wondering if the garter is “still in” or if it’s the right fit (pun intended), this wedding detail is weighing on your mind. To help out, we’re weighing in.

Let’s decide if a bridal garter under your wedding dress is the best decision for you.

So, How Did this Garter Thing Start?

As with most traditions, there is the question of how this thigh-wearing, bouquet-like tossing ritual even got started.

There are a few potential origins for the garter - here’s one of the most prominent. It was Europe in the 14th Century. For a moment, imagine cobblestone streets. A world where Vera Wang dresses do not yet exist. It’s the Middle Ages and luck is a big topic of conversation.

Well, someone got the idea that bridal dresses were lucky. Once the couple had been wed and they were en route to the wedding night, guests would snatch at the dress, trying to grab a piece for good luck. It’s suspected the guests felt they were even, well, “helping” along in getting the couple ready for their wedding night. Some sources say that the garter was extra lucky because it was so much...trickier to get at. Others cite that there was a melee to get to the couple and rip away clothes. The garter under the wedding dress would be the final step - and tossing it would be a lucky catch for anyone!

A lot has changed since. Traditionally and functionality-wise. When elastic came into the picture, garters became a predominantly aesthetic piece rather than functional for keeping up stockings.

However, the traditional and aesthetic aspect to a garter in a wedding lives on.

The Garter Goes Mod

Thankfully, certain wedding traditions have come along way. With no one grabbing at your gown (phew), you can focus on the question at hand - to have a garter or not.

Because traditions have transformed, the good news is that there are options. (If all this planning has you considering a wedding planner, heads up, we have the perfect guide for you. Explore Planning Your Own Wedding vs. Using a Wedding Planner)

Do I Have to Toss It?

No, if you do have a garter, it’s up to you. Decide how you want the garter in wedding agenda! You can certainly wear a garter and not do the garter toss- not all brides decide to do a bouquet toss, after all!. Keep the garter under your wedding dress the whole time if you like, after all it’s your day!

Where Does the Garter Go?

Typically, it is recommended that the garter be worn just above your knee. This is especially ideal if you are wearing a fitted dress like one that is mermaid style.

What Does a Modern Garter Look Like?

There is a wide variety these days. Yes, it may be a satin band, it may also have a variety of lace. You can also find a variety of ornate and colorful options. From playful to conservative, you can find a style that matches you and your wedding or personal style.

Is There Something Called a “Toss Garter”?

Indeed there is. It’s similar to a tradition in Denmark. In Danish culture, wedding guests cut the bride’s veil (eek!), so brides often have a second, backup veil that’s cut rather than her cherished, more expensive veil. The “toss garter” is a similar concept where the secondary garter can be tossed. It’s a way to ensure you get to keep your memento (garter #1) - as well as have one thrown out into the crowd.

How Can I Make Sure the Garter Stays On?

This is a common fear for many brides. Garters tend to stay on no problem but, to quell any nervousness, it’s often recommended you test it out. Take a few nights to wear the garter underneath a skirt and try it out on either leg to see what feels right. Walk around - even if just at home. This will help you feel sure the garter under your wedding dress will stay on, as well as get you used to the feeling of wearing one.

So...Yay or Nay?

As with most aspects of wedding planning, it comes down to you, fair maiden. Each bride has their own style and preferences. Try talking about it with your bridal party if you're having a difficult time deciding. But remember it is your choice whether to stick to the tradition of having a garter under your wedding dress or not, some brides even choose not to wear a white wedding dress and that’s okay too!

But that’s the beauty of a wedding, too. (Speaking of beauty, make sure to check out The Best Pre-Wedding Beauty Treatments for Brides.)

Each detail is about what feels best for you. If you’d like to give a nod to tradition, the bridal garter in wedding ensembles is a great option. Do the garter toss only as it feels right to you. There is no right or wrong here. It is your special day, remember that, beautiful bride and whatever bridal undergarments you choose to wear or not to wear is your decision.

Speaking of details, there is a way to spice up your wedding planning without having to make ANY decisions. Our Bridal Boxes are sent to your door once a month with hand-picked wedding surprises so you don’t have to worry about the details!

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