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Wedding Traditions: Bouquet and Garter Toss

August 4, 2015 by The Marquardt Ranch

We’ve all been there.  “Single Ladies” by Beyonce starts blaring through the speakers at your high school friend’s wedding and you are summoned to the dance floor. The DJ calls for all the single ladies in the room while the bride makes her way to the front, turns around and lets her beautiful bouquet fly.  You abandon all sense of dignity and race all the other girls to the trophy of all trophies: the next one to be married.

This seemingly silly tradition has its roots in 14th century England and has long since been regarded as a surefire way for brides to pass on their fortune to others.  It’s a celebratory way to pass the torch. Over the years, it’s become much more civilized than its start in England.  In the olden days, female wedding guests treated brides like rock stars, tearing at their dress and bouquet to take home a piece of the bride’s good luck.  The evolution of the bouquet toss was simply a defense mechanism for brides who didn’t want their gorgeous (not to mention, pricey) gowns destroyed by frenzied wedding goers.

Following the bouquet toss at most weddings today comes the garter toss.  The bride spends all day wearing a garter (usually her “something blue”) and is seated on the dance floor toward the end of the reception.  Her groom slips the garter off, all the single men are called to the dance floor and the groom launches his garter into the sea of eager men.  The lucky bouquet winner and the subsequent garter winner are paired together for a photo with the bride and groom, assuming the two will eventually end up together.

The garter toss is another civilized way to pass on good fortune from the happy bride and groom.  Instead of tearing at her clothes, guests are instead handed a piece of her attire.  Both the bouquet toss and the garter toss originally started to keep guests from pestering the bride and groom during their reception.

Bride friends, let’s all rejoice that some wise bride many moons ago thought up the idea of the bouquet toss.  Now you can enjoy your wedding in peace, without fear of a wardrobe malfunction or a trashed bouquet.  On your wedding day, you can sit back, relax and wait for the next round of “Single Ladies” to hit the playlist.

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