Let's get real today, and I mean real serious with the wedding garter toss. If you want to avoid those awkward moments at your wedding reception and have a stress free garter toss, you've come to the right place! I'm going to give you a few tips on how to make the whole garter toss go as smooth as possible. And, dare I say, have the garter toss be a fun experience for everyone involved, including your wedding guests!
How to have a pain free garter toss at your reception and avoid those awkward moments is next up in my wedding garter 101 series. In this wedding advice series I talk about all about garters and answer all of your bridal garter questions. And believe me, there are many! From start to finish, your wedding should be a fun and celebratory day, but it does require quite a bit of planning to make sure that it all goes off without a hitch. This planning and forethought also applies to the wedding garter toss ceremony at the reception.
Photo Credit: Renee Hollingshead Photography
The garter toss is purely optional, you don't have to do it at your wedding. If you don't want to do the garter toss, don't do it. End of story. In fact, more and more brides are getting a garter, skipping the toss and instead saving their garter as an heirloom and keepsake from their wedding. But, if you are planning on tossing your garter, I'm going to give you a few pieces of advice for how to make sure that your garter toss is the fun wedding tradition it is supposed to be!
You want your wedding and your garter toss to be memorable…in a good way! Not in the awkward, "I can't believe that just happened" kind of way! (And, if you've ever been a wedding guest, I think you might know what I'm talking about!) Here are my tips for how to make the wedding garter toss pain free and not at all awkward for yourself or your wedding guests:
Make Sure Everyone Knows
If you want to do the garter toss at your wedding, make sure that the garter toss is included in your day-of-the-wedding timeline and that all of your wedding vendors know. Your wedding planner, your DJ, your band leader, your venue coordinator, your catering manager, they all need a copy of your wedding timelines and they all need to be in the loop on how you want your wedding day to flow, especially the different wedding reception elements like the first dance, cake cutting and, of course, the garter toss. If all of your wedding vendors know, they will help to prepare you and your guest, and help to keep everything running smoothly.
Make An Announcement
Have your wedding DJ or band leader make an announcement that you are going to do the garter toss ceremony and that everyone should gather around a pre-determined location (see below for advice on this!). My recommendation for the garter toss is to have the DJ or the band leader also invite everyone – all the wedding guests – to participate in the catching of the garter. If all of your wedding guests crowd around to see the garter removal, then they will all be there for the toss. This way the single guests aren not singled out and the garter toss becomes something fun for all of your wedding guests and not something awkward for everyone, especially the single guests.
Put The Traditions Together
Nothing is more frustrating to your wedding guests is when the night is constantly interrupted with different traditions, like the first dance, toasts, speeches, the cake cutting and the garter toss. Your DJ is butting every half hour with a new break in the action, or a new reason for them to pay attention to what is going on or be in a certain spot. You want to have as few wedding reception interruptions as possible. Try to group your traditions together as much as possible so that there is enough time for your guests to enjoy themselves, the music, the food and spending time with you. The garter toss goes well with the cake cutting and the bouquet toss. Talk to your wedding planner and your DJ about their experience with blending these wedding reception traditions together seamlessly.
Make It Later
You want to time the garter toss ceremony for when your wedding guests have had a chance to settle into the reception and enjoy a few adult beverages. You don't want to make the garter toss too late that guests are tired or inebriated, but you don't want to make it right after the cocktail hour either. Give your wedding guests some time to get settled and relax, and then you can do your wedding reception traditions.
Have A Plan
Both you and your partner need to be on board with the wedding garter toss ceremony. If so, talk about it before the night of your wedding, right before it is about to happen. When you are going over your wedding day timeline is a great time for you two to discuss what you are thinking for the garter toss. Do you want to sit down? Where will the garter toss be? Do you want to include any fun surprises? Are you nervous? Are you really excited about the garter toss? Talk through some of the issues and have a little plan between the two of you for how you want the garter toss to go at the reception.
If you are nervous for the wedding garter toss, it will show. It will show in your body language, it will show on your face, your wedding guests will be able to feel it, and most importantly, the garter toss nerves and awkwardness will show in your photographs. Take a deep breath and do your best to relax. Remember that the garter toss is supposed to be something fun to do at the wedding reception, not a source of stress and drama.
If you are really nervous for the garter toss, read the next tip…
Don't Do It
You are scared or feeling funny about the wedding garter toss, don't do it! You can easily skip the wedding garter toss and just wear your garter on your wedding and save it as a special keepsake. You don't have to toss your garter if you don't want to do it! And, this goes for both of you. If you partner isn't into the garter toss, but you are, or vice versa, I'd say consider skipping it all together. This is a great chance for a marital compromise, because nothing is more awkward when one person is into the garter toss and the wedding guests can see that the other is not so much having fun.
Those are my tips for how to avoid those awkward moments during the wedding garter toss ceremony. What did I miss? Have you been a part of an awkward garter toss? What could have been done differently? Leave a comment and let me know!
Don't forget, you can find a unique wedding garter here in my shop, or look through all of my wedding garter 101 advice blog posts for lots more garter help and info. All of your wedding garter questions are answered in this series!