The wedding reception is drawing to a close. Everyone has enjoyed their food, the open bar, dancing, and toasts – what more could there be to do? Suddenly the DJ clears the dance floor. “Single Ladies” starts blaring through the speakers. The bride steps into the middle, waving around her bouquet.
Ah, yes. The bouquet and garter tosses.
All the single women line up and vie for a chance to catch the bouquet and be declared the next to wed. Once the bouquet has been caught, the single men are commanded to the dance floor to determine who will be the next man to marry. Often (either jokingly or completely sincerely) the males will avoid catching the garter.
But here we are, you’ve reached out, you’ve caught the garter, and there it is! You’ve won! Now what?
We’re here to answer exactly that: What do you do once you’ve caught the wedding garter?
1. What Does it Mean?
The wedding garter toss and catch is one of the weirder wedding traditions, but still remains a staple at modern weddings. Basically, it came from a time when it was believed that the bride’s wedding day attire was good luck, and guests would fight to keep a piece for themselves. As time went on, the groom would toss her garter back to them, as a way of keeping the crowd at bay.
Nowadays, the tradition has become more of a Magic Mike-type show. The groom will sit down his bride, do a little dance, and remove the garter, either with his hands or teeth. Then he’ll toss it to the group of waiting single men, and whoever catches it is believed next to marry.
If you’ve caught the garter, congratulations! You are now legally obligated to get married next! Just kidding of course, but depending on the wedding you may be expected to do a couple of things.
2. Placing it on the Bouquet Catcher
If you’re at an adults-only reception, it’s possible you’ll be told to place it on the leg of the woman who caught the bouquet. This definitely d epends on who caught it, whether they feel comfortable with it, and whether the bride and groom want the show to continue. Obviously if the bouquet or garter catcher was not an adult, this will not be happening.
But if you’ve got 100% consent from the adult bouquet catcher, you feel completely comfortable, and the bride and groom are rooting you on, most likely you’ll place it on her leg to keep. At some point someone made up the concept that every inch above the knee is a year of good luck, or each inch equals a child you’ll have, etc. Most of this will be dictated by the bride and groom and announced by the DJ. Just roll with it, and make sure that both you and the bouquet catcher are good with what’s going on.
Keep in mind all of this is meant to be fun and lighthearted, and if at any point it gets icky or weird, just let them know. No one wants part of their wedding to be uncomfortable to watch!
3. Get a Picture with the Bouquet Catcher and the Newlyweds
Whether or not you’ve placed the garter on the bouquet catcher, most likely the bride and groom will want a picture with the two of you. Once again, this is something that will be orchestrated and not something you’ll have to figure out yourself. Most likely the four of you will be corralled together on the dance floor for a quick series of photos. Just keep this in mind before you take the garter and run – they probably want a few more minutes of your time!
4. See if the Bride Wants it Back
If you didn’t put the garter on the bouquet catcher, you’re now left with a garter that the bride wore all day on one of the most important days of her life. Probably a good call to offer it back! While most modern brides know that the tossed garter is gone forever, some may not have thought it through, and will greatly appreciate getting it back as a keepsake.
However, it’s become more common for brides to purchase two garters instead of one, and they tossed the one that has no value to them. So what do you do with it? – See all our of our wedding garter sets here
5. See if Anyone Else (Family, Friends, Planner) Wants It
If the bride doesn’t want it back, ask around! Maybe one of her bridesmaids wants to keep it, the wedding planner will hold onto it just in case the bride decides she wants it back, or a family
member wants to hold onto it as an heirloom. Maybe a groomsman wants to wear it on his head for the rest of the night! You never know.
Of course, you are also welcome to keep it yourself! It’s yours, you caught it fair and square.
6. Let it Go
Your last option really is to just leave it somewhere and let it land where it may. We understand; it can feel weird to be holding onto something that the bride wore on her thigh all day. So either hand it off to someone, leave it on a table, or even just toss it on the dance floor. Most likely, it will end up with someone that wants it, or it’ll get cleaned up with the dishes. Either way, don’t feel like you have to find it a home. If the bride doesn’t want it, none of the friends or family want it, and you don’t want it, there’s no use holding onto it.
We hope that this was a helpful guide for you as the garter catcher or a bride/groom figuring out their wedding garter toss plans! Keep in mind that all wedding traditions are optional. A new trend arising is letting anyone – single, married, male, or female – catch the bouquet or garter,
which could be even more fun! Like we said earlier, the point of the reception is to have fun, not to keep perfectly to tradition. So do what’s fun for everyone!