Wedding garter FAQ’s
Why do brides wear a wedding garter?
It has been a tradition in the UK to wear a wedding garter for hundreds of years and anywhere that British people have settled around the world, they have taken the tradition with them. It’s particularly popular in Britain the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
What does a wedding garter mean?
It was considered lucky to have a piece of the brides wedding dress as a souvenir, but in the 1800’s, this led to guests tearing pieces off the dress! Unlike modern brides where a dress is often chosen that you only wear once, brides chose a dress they would keep and wear later as a best dress. So what could she do to avoid having her special dress ruined!???
Garters were traditionally used to hold up stockings, so the bride had two, a compromise of tossing one of her bridal garters was made, she still kept the other as a keepsake…
Why two wedding garters?
So traditionally, the bride wore two garters to hold up her stockings. In 1820, a ‘race for the garter’ is documented, where guests raced to the brides’ house after the church ceremony, the first there could claim the prize of a wedding garter. The winner would remove it himself! The bride kept the other garter as a keepsake.
A wedding garter set
So both garters would have traditionally been in the same design, they may have had embroidered poetry text continuing from one garter to the other (Marie Antoinette’s garters) Now the toss garter is usually a plainer version of the main garter, although it can be lovely to have both the same too.
Which garter do you keep? Which one do you toss?
If you have a modern wedding garter set where one garter is simple, you keep the more elaborate one and toss the plainer one.
Which leg do you wear your wedding garter on?
Whichever leg you feel comfortable wearing it on 🙂 Traditionally they were worn to hold up stockings and would have been worn on both legs.
Wedding garter toss
The wedding garter toss has continued to be popular across the world but in Britain, it lost popularity in Victorian times. Queen Victoria was so young when she came to the throne, that it was felt she should be sheltered from anything slightly raucous or that could be considered vulgar. Her own wedding was also hugely influential; it is where the tradition of a white wedding dress came from.
How does the groom take off the garter?
How you choose to include any rituals in your wedding day is up to you and your partner, it’s your day, don’t feel you have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Some brides will love to have their groom remove the garter with his teeth, with their guests all singing and clapping along, she’ll just see it as a bit of fun. Other brides will discreetly remove the garter herself for her groom to toss and others will save it for his eyes only on their wedding night 🙂
Can the groom see the garter before the wedding?
At Silk Garters, I regularly have orders placed by the groom, with lovely ideas behind some of the most romantic choices. The teal garter set I’m making above was ordered by a groom. He had spoken to his future mother in law about making it an extra special gift… I was asked to take the small bows from her garter and include them on her daughters wedding garter set. Isn’t that lovely!
Garters ordered by the groom for his gorgeous bride Nourah and their wedding over two days in Dubai. Embroidered with their names and wedding dates 23rd & 24th January, ‘Now we are one’. So romantic…
Where to buy?
Where you buy your garter may depend on what you’re looking for, almost any department store will have a token wedding garter for sale, but if it means more to you, there are wedding garter specialists like me at ‘Silk Garters’, excited to make something special for you!
What size do I need?
This can depend on where you choose to wear your garter. If you’re taking part in the garter toss or having a garter photo, it’s a good idea to wear it just 4” – 10cm above your knee, that way you shouldn’t end up showing off more than you intend to!
If you’re not showing your garter off you may like to wear it higher, but do take into consideration whether it will show through your dress…
Measure around your leg where you intend wearing your garter
If you can’t find a tape measure this can be done with a strip of paper or string, but not anything stretchy. Put the strip of paper around your leg where you’d like to wear your garter, then measure this length against a ruler.
Will it show through my wedding dress?
Traditional style wedding garters are unlikely to show through full-skirted wedding dresses with full petticoats but fishtail hems or light fabrics, may be better with flatter garter designs, we have a whole section for you to choose from. If your fabric is very delicate, you may decide to wear your garter in the slim part of your leg just below your knee, this is where they used to be worn 🙂
Thank you Maxine and Martin for this fun photo at Woburn Church. Martin loved having a lamborghini for the day!
I hope you’ve found this useful! If you need any help, just contact me 🙂