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Weddings have long been associated with customs and rituals, such as the bride carrying a bouquet, cutting the cake, and the newlyweds’ first dance. However, nowadays, these traditions have become more flexible, and there is no pressure for couples to adhere to a conventional wedding if they do not wish to.
The rule is, there are no rules! Remember that it is your wedding and you as well as your partner should be comfortable with every aspect of the wedding whether they are traditional or not.
One of the oldest traditions when it comes to weddings is the throwing of the wedding garter. Some brides and grooms may love it, while others may hate it, but if you are thinking of alternatives to the throwing of the garter then look no further because this article is for you.
The History Behind the Wedding Garter Toss Tradition
Alright, let go back to the beginning. The tradition of the garter toss started decades ago. During a wedding reception, the guests would try to do anything to get a piece of the bride’s dress. This was because retrieving a piece of the bride’s dress was considered to be a token of good luck.
Unfortunately, couples would be left feeling quite anxious throughout the reception as they would not know when guests were going to try and attack them to steal a piece of the bride’s dress.
This is essentially where throwing the garter and bouquet into the crowd became the safest option for the new bride and groom!
Nowadays this tradition is a little more civilized. Or is it? Although the bride and groom are not fighting to prevent the wedding dress from being torn to pieces, they are still having to endure the tradition of the groom having to remove the garter.
This is often while a cheesy song is being played and the groom is being jeered at by a rowdy crowd of male guests just before the garter is slid off the bride’s leg and tossed.
The Traditional Garter Toss at Modern Day Weddings
When it comes to the garter toss at a traditional wedding the bride usually sits on a chair or on the best man’s lap while the groom gets her garter from underneath her dress with his hands or sometimes teeth if he does not suffer from stage fright.
Once the groom has managed to retrieve the garter a circle of single men forms a circle around him. The groom is often blindfolded during this process. He then spins around a few times and throws the garter into the circle of men waiting to catch it.
During the garter toss, there is usually a manly man song playing such as “Eye of the tiger” or something similar to create a masculine vibe.
While the garter toss itself is not very uncomfortable, sometimes the bride or groom may feel a little bit violated by the retrieving of the garter from the bride’s thigh.
It is for precisely this reason that many bridal couples these days decide on other alternatives to the garter toss. These alternatives are chosen to best suit the couple’s unique personalities and can be just as fun as the traditional garter toss.
Breaking The Tradition: Garter Toss Alternatives
With so many garter toss alternatives brides and grooms no longer need to do the traditional garter toss and can find many different and unique ways that resonate more with who they are as a couple. It is important to remember that traditions are not always necessary, and the day can still be a success if you decide to change it up a bit.
Here are some ideas worth looking at if you have decided on changing up the traditional garter toss to what more suits you.
1. Gift It
Now here is something different. Instead of tossing the garter rather throw a bouquet of lottery scratch tickets into the crowd. This is the perfect way to gift your guests with something and add a little bit of fun to the occasion.
2. Game It
The Cake Pull Game
Remember the days where mom would hide coins in the Christmas cake? |The cake pull is something like that. In this variation, some small charms are placed into the wedding cake. These charms or tokens are used to indicate different prizes that the guests have won.
Remember to advise the guests before they start to eat the wedding cake so that you do not land up with guests who have chipped or broken their teeth.
The Switch Around Game
In this game, tradition is challenged by totally uprooting and changing the rules of the garter and bouquet toss. In this toss, the guests have to be switched around and the ladies have to try and get the garter while the men have to try and catch the bouquet!
Besides being different and not conforming to tradition it can contribute to some of the best wedding photographs!
The Hot Potato
Like the childhood game musical chairs, the guests are to remain seated in a circle of chairs and pass around the garter until the DJ stops the music. The lucky guest who is left holding the garter gets the prize!
3. Win It!
The Garter Dance Off
All the men can take part in this one! Have the master of ceremonies announce a dance-off between all the single and unmarried men at the reception. Guests will be left giggling at these men trying their best to show off their special dance moves to win the garter.
The Treasure Box
If you are hosting a relatively small wedding, then why not have your guests pick out a key from a mixed pile of keys. The guest that has the key to unlocking the box wins the prize!
The Balloon Drop
If you do not want to toss something into the crowd then this idea is sure to be a hit for your guests. A very different idea would be to have a balloon drop! This works by hiding the garter in one of the balloons and having your guests scramble once the balloons have been released to see if they can locate the garter
If you want to confuse the guests even more then put some ribbons or lace into the balloons that do not have the garter so that they think they have found the garter until they pop the balloon!
4. Toss Something Different into The Crowd
There are many things that the couple can use to replace the garter while still following the tradition of tossing something special into the crowd of guests.
Keep a Second Garter Aside for the Toss
This is an ideal way to keep to tradition without any discomfort that the groom or bride may feel when being jeered at while removing the garter from the bride’s thigh.
Celebrate the same tradition with a second garter that can be kept aside for the garter toss. This means less discomfort for the bride and groom that are not comfortable with the traditional garter removal and toss. This way all they need to do is toss!
Make sure that the second garter matches the wedding attire but there is no need for the bride to wear it during the day. Simply use it for the groom to throw into the crowd.
The Candy Toss
Everyone loves candy, and if they do not love candy, they will still want to catch some candy for their children or grandchildren. Most guests, however, will love the idea of catching candy that has been thrown into the crowd of guests as a wedding garter throw alternative.
Mix up different types of sweets and flavors and leave the guests scrambling for their favorite sweet.
The Sport Toss
This toss is a perfect creative spin for the garter toss especially if you are having an outdoor ceremony or reception. There are so many options to choose from when doing the sports toss, especially if you are not confined to being indoors at a venue where expensive things could get broken!
Tie the garter to a soccer ball, football, or tennis ball and then toss it into the crowd. You can go one step further by having a net available and getting the person who has caught the ball to throw it through the net. If the guest does not get the ball through the net, then he must hand the ball back to the groom and allow the process to start again.
The Boutonniere Toss
If you as a bride do not want to include wearing a garter as part of your wedding attire, then you should not have to! Why not ask the groom if he is happy to toss his boutonniere into the crowd instead.
The boutonniere toss can work well in combination with the bouquet toss. Just remember to remove the pins before you toss it to avoid any casualties.
The Ring Pillow Toss
A lovely and romantic alternative to the garter toss. The bride and groom get to keep the garter and instead thrown the ring cushion into the crowd. Tie a gift card or some money onto the rung pillow to add to the competition.
If you would like to keep your original ring cushion as a memento from your special day, then have another one made or buy one that has a romantic or funny quote on it to throw into the crowd.
The Stuffed Toy Animal Toss
Find a stuffed animal toy that represents a part of your relationship together a couple. This could be a stuffed animal that the groom won for the bride on their first date. If the couple would like to get the stuffed animal back, then they should attach a gift card to the stuffed toy and allow the guest to keep the gift card.
Advise the guests in advance that they are catching the gift card attached to the stuffed animal and are not keeping the actual stuffed animal if you are dead set on getting it back.
5. Some Other Alternatives to The Garter Toss
Make the Garter and Bouquet Toss Co-ed
This is a great idea for couples who want to do something different with the bouquet and garter toss and stick to tradition while at the same time making the toss even more memorable for the guests.
The nice thing about this alternative is that everybody gets to be included in the festivities and not just the single men and ladies. Instead, all the guests get to battle it out for the garter whether they are male or female, married or unmarried.
Nobody will feel left out during the co-ed toss and better yet nobody will be in the spotlight if they land up winning the prize and being deemed as the next one to marry.
The Anniversary Dance
This alternative is both funny and romantic. The master of ceremonies will ask all the couples at the wedding to come up and dance with the newlyweds. Intermittently during the slow dance, the DJ will ask guests that have been married for less than a day to leave the dance floor. This is where the bride and groom will take their leave and go back to their table.
Slowly the master of ceremonies will increase the length of marriage through the duration of the song until the couple who has been married the longest gets the garter or another gift as a prize!
Skip It Altogether
No set rule states that the groom must toss the garter at the wedding reception and if the couple does not want to do it then they can skip the entire thing altogether! The same applies to the bouquet toss, if the bride decides to skip it then that is her prerogative. Having or not having a garter toss should be something that both the bride and groom are comfortable with. If they think that it is a tradition that is not worth keeping when it comes to their wedding day then they must remember that it is their wedding, and the choice is entirely up to them.