The wedding garter has become a staple in traditional weddings. Many guests look forward to the time during the reception when the groom will get down on one knee and slip his hand up the leg of his new bride to find the garter waiting on her thigh. This tradition has been in place for such a long time that most people have no idea what the history of the wedding garter is and why it is thrown out into a crowd of eager bachelors during the reception
The History of the Garter
In times past a garter was a garment that all women wore every day of their lives. It was used to hold up their stockings. Before the invention of elastic women had no choice but to wear a garter or have their stockings fall down around their ankles which would have been scandalous. As the styles of clothes changed and the hemlines on the dresses got shorter the garter moved from around the calf to up around the thighs. Then once elastic and nylon was invented women no longer had to wear garters to hold up their stockings. Now they could just wear pantyhose. Garters became a novelty.
The History of the Wedding Garter
The history of why we see the groom at a wedding taking the garter off of the bride and throwing it into an anxious crowd of bachelors is an interesting story. In the dark ages people were very superstitious and they somehow got it into their heads that if a person was able to take away a piece of a brides wedding ensemble then they would have good luck. You can imagine how horrible this would be for the brides as people tried ripping at her clothes in an effort to get some good luck. This practice got so out of hand that some people began following the newlyweds into their wedding chamber and tearing at the brides clothes. The garter was considered to be especially lucky to get. Many people believe that the practice of throwing the garter during the reception was a way to allow the wedding guests to take home a piece of the brides clothing and thus, a piece of luck as well, without following them to their chambers and tearing at her clothes. The person who got the wedding garter was said to be the next person to get married and was expected to have extra luck as a result.