• Garters, circular pieces of fabric used to hold up stockings, are tossed by brides at many weddings. This practice symbolizes superstitions and traditions dating back to ancient times.

    Good Luck

    In 17th-century England, wedding guests would tear off pieces of the bride's dress and wear them in their hats for good luck. To save their dresses from destruction, brides started to offer the garter in exchange.

    The Fling

    During the Middle Ages, wedding guests would enter the bridal chamber, remove the bride's stockings, and attempt to throw them at her, a practice known as "flinging the stocking." Whoever was closest to hitting the bride's nose would be the next to marry. In order to prevent guests from doing so, brides started wearing an extra garter for the groom to "fling" instead.

    Next To Wed

    At many weddings, the groom removes the garter from the bride's leg and tosses it to the single male guests. Whoever catches it is supposed to place it on the leg of the woman who caught the bride's bouquet. These two are said to be the next to wed, sometimes to each other.

    Innocence Lost

    In ancient times, removing the garter from the bride symbolized the loss of her virginity to the groom.


    In Jewish tradition, a bride's fidelity is symbolized by a blue ribbon. For this reason, some garters have a blue bow. This garter is usually kept by the bride and groom rather than thrown.


    "The Encyclopedia of Superstitions;" Edwin Radford; 1996

    Wedding Culture - History

    Wedding Traditions and Superstitions


    Wedding Garters: Steeped in Tradition

    Bridal and Wedding Resources

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