The Wedding Garter

The purpose of a wedding garter today is largely to continue one of the oldest wedding traditions, but the garter's long history includes significant symbolic meaning. Like most traditions, the meaning and purpose of the wedding garter has changed over the years, but what has remained constant is the blushing bride who wears it.

Hundreds of years ago, wedding garters were seen as a symbol of the bride's virginity. When the groom removed the garter from his bride's leg, it represented the bride's surrender of maidenhood. As a result, garters became symbolic of fulfillment and fertility. In time, this item became coveted, particularly by men.

Similarly, people believed that if they had a piece of the bride's wedding dress they would then have good luck both in love and in life.  It was because of this the bride's dress would end up torn to bits. Bridal garters were initially thrown to wedding guests as a way to give the public what they wanted - a bit of the bridal outfit - while also protecting their dress and body from eager guests looking for a little luck.

Over time, the groom came to be the person who removed the garter to protect his bride from eager and sometimes wandering hands. This is the tradition that people today are more familiar with: the groom removes the garter and throws it to the eligible bachelors while the bridge throws her bouquet to the bachelorettes in attendance.

Today's garter tradition is more about tradition than symbolism. Many modern brides wear a wedding garter set so that they are actually wearing two garters. This way, there is one garter to be thrown and one that can be a keepsake that is removed in private and then saved. This keepsake garter is generally worn higher on the thigh. 

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