Weddings are full of traditions—some that are still going strong (think carrying a bouquet and sharing the first dance), some that have gotten flexible (like wearing a white dress), and some (like the garter toss) that aren’t quite as popular as they used to be. It is your wedding, after all, so you and your partner should feel comfortable personalizing it as you see fit.
The garter toss is so time-honored, it’s downright medieval (seriously). Back in the olden days, guests would tear at the bride’s clothing, trying to snag a piece of fabric said to bring them good luck. Yikes! Brides of the Middle Ages wised up and started stripping off their stockings and garters, throwing them into the pack so they could escape relatively unscathed—literally tossing her garter.
Thankfully, guests have become much more civilized as the centuries have passed and are no longer prone to ripping a wedding dress to pieces. Instead, the groom gets the honor of removing the garter (often to ‘90s slow jams or Def Leppard hits), then tosses it into a pack of single bros. Less destructive? Yes. Beloved by modern brides? Not so much.
If this practice feels more campy or tacky than traditional to you, there are a few alternatives that are fun or sentimental but don’t involve you flashing a room full of family and friends. We’ve rounded up a few you might love.
Skip the Removal, Keep the Toss
The uncomfortable part of a garter toss isn’t the toss itself, but the process of removing it (you know, the part where a groomsman yells “no hands!” as your groom is under your skirt). Save that for the honeymoon suite. Instead, have a garter on hand that was never around your thigh, explicitly for the garter toss. Your groom can sling-shot it, wrap it around a football and throw a touchdown pass, or launch said garter however else he might see fit, all while you maintain your dignity and cheer him on, fully dressed.
Make the Bouquet Toss Coed
Don’t want a garter at all? You can still watch your friends battle it out. Invite all the single ladies and single gentlemen onto the dance floor when it’s time to toss the bouquet. If your groom wants to join in, you could even toss it together!
Award a Prize
Instead of tossing anything, use the bouquet as a prize. Give it to your grandmother or a friend who was a huge help during the planning process. Have your DJ play a “married-only” song, asking all married couples to come to the dance floor and then slowly releasing them based on how long they’ve been married. Start with eight hours or less (that’s you), then a year, then 5, 10, and so on until there is only one couple left standing—then present them with your bouquet.
Of course, there’s nothing saying you have to toss or give out anything during your reception. Instead, place a vase somewhere noticeable, such as on the cake table or on the corner of the bar, put your bouquet on display for the evening, and leave it at that. No need to interrupt the fun on the dance floor. Of course, you can still wear a garter if you wish. When (and how) it gets removed? Well, that’s up to you and your new spouse.