Garters are narrow bands of fabric fastened around the leg used to keep stockings up. These dainty accessories are just a few inches in width and are usually made of leather, lace, cotton, and silk. Wedding garters are adorned with small belts and ribbons to add decor. In the 18th and 19th centuries garters were tied just below the knee which was the most slender part of the leg to keep the stocking from slipping out of place.
Garters can be as simple or as complex as the bride wants them to be. Vintage lace garters are becoming more popular with modern brides. These vintage garters are usually made of lace and have some silver detailing or beadwork on sides.
Garters range is pricing – DIY brides can make their own with lace and elastic or find them on DIY websites for a reasonable price. You can also pay larger amounts of money for more intricate garters such as the thin one featured above. Garters can have diamonds, gems and jewels in the detailing…it all depends on what kind of style you have!
The Garter Toss
The tradition of the garter toss originated in Europe and is one of the oldest surviving wedding traditions that evolved from the Middle Ages. Towards the end of the wedding reception, the groom removes his new partner’s garter then tosses to the unmarried male guests. This tradition relates to the belief that taking an article of the bride’s clothing would bring good luck. In the Middle Ages, the groomsmen would rush towards the bride to take her garter off as a prize…this often resulted in the destruction of the bride’s dress. Yikes! Nowadays, the privilege of removing the bride’s garter is reserved for the groom.
According to the superstition, the unmarried male wedding guest who catches the garter will be the next man to get married. The bride’s bouquet toss has the same notion as the garter toss… whomever catches the bouquet will be the next to get married. Traditionally, the two people who caught the bouquet and garter would share the next dance.
Garters were very popular in the 30s and 40s for their convenience of storing small valuables in place of a small purse. In Elizabethan fashions even men wore garters. They wore them with their hose and colorful garters were an object of display.
Since the 1960s, men’s magazines have featured images of women in underwear and the garters have added an erotic element to these photographs. Brides have been known to include their “something blue” on their garter with a small ribbon or bow for an intimate touch.
Today, most brides wear two garters – one to keep and one for the groom to throw during the garter toss. The wedding garters are usually placed on the bride’s right leg by her father. It was popular for the groom to remove the garter with his teeth…in more recent years it has been viewed as more appropriate for the garter to be removed with their hands.
Wedding Garters by First Class Weddings
Black & White Garter Shot from Juxtapose
Diamond Studded Garter from Classy Bride
Thick Tulle Garter from Indulgy
Vintage Lace Garter in Hands from Style Me Pretty
Offwhite Dress & Garter from Etsy
Blue Fabric Flower Garter from Love & Lavendar
3 Individual Gem Garters from La Gartier