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The tradition of tossing bouquet & garter at the wedding

Today, the tradition of the wedding garter is tame in comparison to France of the 14th century. In North America, the bride wears two garters so she can keep one for memory and the other for the throw away for the single guest. Both garters are worn just above the knee, on the right leg. Before the removal of the garter, the bride first throws her bouquet to the single women. The bride would call out the single women to catch the bouquet.

Single ladies line up to catch bouquet

Photo by San Francisco Photographer, Andy Sandy


After the bouquet toss, then it's the garter throw. The groom removes the throw away garter from the brides leg, sometimes he removes it with his teeth , but more appropriately nowadays he uses his hands. He does this while the bride is sat in a chair, mostly laughing.

photograph by Andy Sandy, San Francisco Photographer

After the garter is removed, he then throws it to the single male guests. The fun part is that the male guest then takes the garter and places it on the leg of the single female guest who has caught the bouquet.

I love photographing these moment. Those that catch either item are said to be the next to marry.  In fact, In some instances, it is said that they will marry each other.

The keepsake garter is removed later in private during the honeymoon night.

The garter tradition date back as far as 14th century in Europe.  The guests of the bride and groom believed having a piece of the bride’s clothing was thought to bring good luck. They would actually destroy the brides dress by ripping off pieces of fabric. Obviously, this tradition did not sit well with the bride. To avoid dress being rip,  she began throwing various items to the guests – the garter being one of them. Originally, it's the bride who toss the garter to the men. But this also caused a great problem for the bride….sometimes the men would get drunk, become impatient and try to remove the garter ahead of time.  So it gradually change and adapt to let the groom remove and toss the garter to the men. With this change, the bride began to toss the bridal boutique to the unwed girls who were eligible for marriage.

Removing the garter also representing a symbol. Back in ancient time, When the groom removed the garter from the bride, this represented the bride’s relinquishment of her virginity.


Have you heard the saying “ Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and a Silver Sixpence in her Shoe”

Did you ever wonder where the custom “Something Blue” come from?

Wearing something blue dates back to biblical times when the color blue was considered to represent purity, faithfulness and fidelity. Back then the bride would wear a piece of blue clothing or a blue band around the bottom of her dress. The ancient Roman maidens also wore blue on the borders of their robes to symbolize their love, fidelity and modesty, while the Christians associated it with the purity of the Virgin Mary.

Thanks for reading, from San Francisco photographer, Andy Sandy

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