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History of the Garter Toss

Garters were originally used to hold up stockings and are still regarded by many brides as an essential wedding accessory. Often brides choose a blue garter to represent "something blue". In biblical times the colour blue represented purity. The garter is traditionally worn on the right leg. Some brides choose to wear two, one to keep and one to toss.

The tossing of the wedding garter is an old tradition that dates back to the 14th Century. According to some, the garter toss evolved from an earlier tradition of "flinging the stocking". On the wedding night the guests would enter the Bride and Grooms' bedroom after the couple had undressed. The guests would then proceed to steal the couple's stockings and fling them at the Bride and Groom. The first of the guests to hit the couple in the head would be, according to superstition, the next to marry.

In France it was considered "lucky" to have a piece of the bride's dress. At the end of the ceremony guests would rush to her to try to tear a piece of her clothing. However this often resulted in the bride or guests getting injured. In order for brides to save themselves and their dress they began tossing the garter.

When the "garter toss" was first developed it was traditionally the bride that tossed the garter to the male guests. However the custom changed as frequently the male guests became rowdy and would try to remove the garter themselves. The tradition then became for the bride to toss the bridal bouquet.

The garter toss was revived in the 20th century. In modern times the garter toss is more sanitised with the bride seeking a quiet spot, slipping the garter down to just below the knee before returning to the reception. The groom then removes the garter and tosses it to the male guests.

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