Pros and Cons: The Wedding Garter Toss Tradition

Pros and Cons: The Wedding Garter Toss Tradition

Traditions like the first dance and the infamous best man speech hold a special place at every wedding, but there’s one that tends to spark a bit of controversy in the wedding world: the garter toss.

In wedding days of old—circa the 14th century—leaving the celebration with a piece of the bride’s garment was considered good luck, resulting in what likely led to outbreaks of random violence in order to snag a scrap of lace or tulle. Like many traditions that evolve (thank the wedding gods for that), the garter toss has transformed into something a bit more civilized and which remains alive today. Like the beloved bouquet toss for the ladies, the eligible bachelor who catches the bride’s garter is destined to marry next.

We can’t help but wonder, given brides’ previous susceptibility to attack—did the garter toss start as a way to sic guests on one designated piece of fabric rather than the bride? Either way, with this constant change that seems to gradually occur within steadfast traditions, we’ve investigated the pros and cons of the garter toss so you can determine if it lives another day at your wedding … or if you should “toss it.”


  • Priceless photo opportunities!
  • It’s a fairly quick, fun activity that can nicely break up the reception and get guests engaged (hopefully not to each other).
  • A nod to an age-old tradition that can give a sense of comfort/familiarity to your older-generation guests (so long as you’re keeping things PG).
  • As a singles-only activity, this can be both pro and con. On the bright side, you’ll give your single gal pals a chance to see if that cute groomsman they’ve been eyeing is available.


  • Let’s face it. The groom reaching up the bride’s dress in front of friends and family is a surefire way to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
  • As a con, some guests would prefer to not be called out by having their single status broadcasted to the crowd … especially if there are but few.
  • Many brides put a lot of thought and care into buying or creating their garter in order to preserve it as a keepsake. If you toss it, who knows where it could end up.
  • A boisterous group of wedding guests fighting over the garter (or bouquet, for that matter) could still potentially lead to injurious situations.
  • Why are we breaking up the dance party for this?

Uncomfortable guests and impromptu singles’ mixers aside, the most important thing to remember is that it’s your wedding. You can either forgo the garter toss altogether, or put your own creative spin on it that suits you and your wedding best. As so many traditions have adapted and evolved over the years, who knows? The next big wedding tradition could start with you.

Originally written and posted by Essence of Australia


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