Is Doing the Garter Toss Tacky?

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My fiance thinks that he is Justin Timberlake. Because of this, he doesn’t want to take part in anything that will cut into our dancing time at the reception. For instance, he says that the garter toss is a waste of time b/c we could listen to both “Thriller” and “Sexy Back” in the amount of time it takes to slip the garter off my leg and fling it to the single guys. He also says that it is awkward and tacky.  Do you think it’s OK to nix this tradition, or is my dancing-fiend of a fiancé being unreasonable?


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The garter toss is one of the oldest wedding traditions that is still done. The toss symbolizes the groom giving up his old life in exchange for his new married life. The tradition is that whoever catches the garter will be next in line to have his good fortune (getting married).

If done discretely, the garter toss can be a fun way to celebrate tradition. However, it’s very important that proper etiquette is followed. Here is some advice to keep it traditional and classy:

1) The bride should be seated and should not face the crowd of single men behind her. The best way to do this is to have her seated to the side.

2) The garter should be moved below the bride’s knee just before the garter toss. She could also remove the garter and hand it to the groom discretely just before he decides to toss it.

Does this look classy to you?

3) Never, and I mean NEVER remove the garter with your teeth. This is the definition of tacky. Instead, delicately lift the bride’s dress just enough so that the garter can be removed.

4) It is tradition for the girl who catches the bouquet and the guy who catches the garter to share a dance or at least a photo for the album.

As for your question about whether or not you want to include the tradition in your wedding, that is totally up to you and your fiancé. It’s YOUR day and there is no right or wrong answer. If your fiancé really doesn’t want to do it, then don’t. You can always wear a garter and put it in your wedding album as a nice memento. However, if it’s really important to you, then let him know that. You can also use the “grooms have been doing this for hundreds of years” excuse. It may just work. :-)

-V

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