Weddings are traditionally celebrated to signify and unite a couple based on the love they have for each other. Some wedding traditions, however, like the garter removal, are at times deemed awkward and embarrassing by some couples, and they may choose to skip it.
What is garter removal? Garter removal is a wedding tradition whereby the groom, using his hands or teeth, removes a garter from the bride’s leg and tosses it to his single friends. For whoever catches it, it is often regarded as a sign of good luck.
Some couples and people often find this funny and it brings some excitement when being done. On the other hand, some couples do not enjoy it at all.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of ideas to make the tradition exciting or replace it entirely, making it comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.
How Does Garter Removal Work?
As a bride, there are no specifics on how you should present the garter to your groom for the toss, only that it should be worn above the knee to avoid slipping off. This will help the groom not to reach up too far when looking for it. You can also either have it ready at hand or slip it on when the occasion approaches.
The groom removes it either by hand or with his teeth and traditionally tosses it to a bunch of waiting bachelors. This tradition lightens up the mood in any formal wedding and even gives hope to the singles at the event.
What Does the Garter Toss Symbolize?
Although it is nowadays more civilized and organized compared to how it was done before, it has always been a sign of good luck to whoever catches it that they will hopefully be the next person getting married.
Traditionally, guests scrambled for a piece of the bride’s wedding gown as a token of good luck. Since this would at times escalate out of hand and get nasty, people nixed this and adopted the garter idea, where the groom could only toss the garter to the guests once the wedding was consummated.
After a while, people outgrew this last requirement, and now the garters are either tossed at the reception or are not tossed at all.
9 Garter Removal Ideas and Alternatives
In a contemporary wedding, what can you do to spice up the garter removal and keep the guests excited during the reception? Below are some creative ideas. Let’s take a look.
1. Garter Dance Off
This is a dance performed by the groom to get approval to go for the garter beneath the wedding gown… in front of everybody of course. Before going for it, the DJ plays a theme song for the occasion or one to suit the exact moment.
Then the groom goes on to show off his favorite dance moves to woo and impress the bride in a bid to convince her to let him remove the garter.
After the song, the bride gives a thumbs-up as a ‘Yay!’ or a thumbs down for a ‘Nay!’ depending on how much she is impressed. The groom may have to do this a couple of times until the bride is satisfied, then he can go for the garter.
2. Reception Games
Wedding reception games like the limbo stick or musical chairs are also exceptional sources of fun for garter removal.
With musical chairs, for example, single men dance around chairs that are less their number by one, and whenever the music suddenly stops, everybody sits, meaning one person gets eliminated, then the chairs are reduced by one, and this goes on and on, till the winner is left.
This will undoubtedly keep the guests entertained and a garter winner is found without the disaster that can come with much scrambling and commotion.
3. Balloon Drop
The balloon drop is especially for couples that don’t want to throw anything at the guests.
You only need opaque balloons, preferably in a color that compliments your wedding theme.
Since not all balloons will have garters, you might make it more interesting by stuffing the balloons with personal notes for the guests, or gifts cards, candy, and so on to make them feel appreciated, even if they miss the garter.
Confuse them more by lacing ribbons on several balloons to trick them into popping them first and watch your guests have a fun few moments that make your wedding memorable.
4. Populate the Garter Toss
Although garter toss has traditionally been associated with single people, remember, there are no rules, so you can choose to welcome everyone to participate.
This technique works well for a couple who wishes to use a garter alternative for the garter toss, such as throwing a bouquet, multiple boutonnieres, or candy to the eagerly waiting guests.
Having a breakaway bouquet that splits into a bunch of other smaller bouquets or even into individual flower stems, or using other options like throwing candy or boutonnieres is especially helpful in making the single people feel more comfortable and secure compared to how they would if they were the center of attention.
Besides, populating the garter toss is inclusive for everyone, and in the end, everyone feels like a winner. You can also attach good luck notes to every candy, boutonniere, or chocolate so that each guest gets a nice keepsake to commemorate the event. Remember, everyone leaves a winner.
5. Have a Second Garter to Toss
Although it can be embarrassing removing the garter in front of the guests, you don’t necessarily have to remove the tradition from your colorful celebration.
Instead, you can opt for a second garter for tossing to the guests, while retaining the original garter. You can either wear it or entrust it to a bridesmaid to hand it over when the time comes.
6. Have a Themed Toss
Depending on the color schemes used in planning the wedding, most weddings are themed, and if in case you are not comfortable with the garter toss, you can opt for something that matches your wedding theme.
You can use themed boutonnieres, stuffed animals or pillows, or an autographed ball, signed by the couple if you opt for an outdoor wedding.
If you choose to go for the boutonniere toss, remember to remove all the pins before tossing it to the guests.
Alternatively, you can tie the garter around a football, or any ball depending on the event planning and setting, before throwing it to the excited guests.
For a stuffed animal or pillow, stuff the garter in, and maybe add a $20 or $50 dollar bill in the chosen piece, and make sure there are many stuffed animals, and watch the crowd go wild looking for the right one.
If you don’t have anything to match the theme of the day, you can go for something entirely unrelated to the theme, but special to you, such as custom-made bracelets.
7. Anniversary Dance
Traditionally, the dance begins with all the married couples on the dancefloor, and every little while as the dance goes on, the master of ceremony will often call out and eliminate couples based on how long they have been married, eventually leaving the longest-married couple as the winners.
After the dance is when they are handed the garter or the bouquet, and if the new couple is lucky enough, they may even have a dance with the older couple.
8. Inherit/Pass it Forward
Instead of letting the guests compete for the garter, you can choose to pass it forward to your siblings, best man, or one of your single friends if they plan to wed soon.
On the other hand, you can choose to keep it as a token or keepsake for your special day, and maybe later pass it on to your daughter.
9. Toss it Anyway
Instead of skipping the task entirely, you can include it in your wedding tasks, regardless of how you present it to the groom to avoid all the weird stuff.
You can either have your bridesmaid hand you the garter when the moment is right for the task or wear it anyway. Garters can be customized to fit the theme, or embroidered with the bride’s name or initials to make it more personalized.
There are no rules with the garter toss, and the sky is the limit with the possibilities and combinations you can do with the tradition to spice up your wedding reception.
Regardless of how you choose it to be, whether just tossing the garter or complimenting it with a bouquet, be creative and make it fun.