Isn’t The Wedding Garter Tradition Dead?

stylish wedding garter for bride

Do you think the wedding garter tradition is totally over? Are you wondering why this wedding tradition that seems to freak everyone out – including the bride, the groom and your wedding guests – is still around? Let's get real: Is the wedding garter tradition dead?

I'm going to dig in deep in this post and give you the honest truth about the wedding garter tradition. So, all of you brides out there wondering about the future of the wedding garter tradition, listen up! This one is for you!

Remember you can shop my wedding garter collection anytime or email me at to discuss a custom wedding garter. I'd love to work with you to design the perfect wedding heirloom you'll love forever!

lace ruffled wedding garter with something blue couture bridal shoes


Is The Wedding Garter Tradition Dead?

Toss vs. Save

I have a lot of thoughts on the garter tradition matter, obviously being the stylish wedding garter designer that I am. But, before we get into it, which I will a little later in the post, I want to make a huge distinction between the garter toss and having a garter as a wedding keepsake. They are two totally different things.

There is the garter toss at the reception and then there is a wedding garter that brides get as a wedding day heirloom. These two do not go hand-in-hand for every single bride at every single wedding. Just because you have a garter, doesn't mean you need to toss it!

This right here – the destination between the garter toss and a garter heirloom – is where I think the confusion is for many engaged couples and people wondering about the purpose of a wedding garter.

Many people lump the garter toss in with the garter heirloom or keepsake, and then because of their negative feelings about the garter toss, they immediately think (or assume!) that the garter tradition all together is dead.

bride putting on lace and pearl wedding garter made from vintage wedding dress

Photo Credit: Renee Hollingshead


The Real Real

Let's get real about the wedding garter toss for a bit, shall we? The garter toss is always on the list for things to cut at your wedding. It always tops the list of wedding traditions to skip or do away with. Always.

(Now, before I get yelled at, let me make one point clear:  There are a significant number of brides and grooms out there who are really into the wedding garter toss. They are excited about taking part in all of the wedding traditions and can't wait to toss their garter at the reception! Bouquet toss? Bring it on! Dollar dance? Yes, please! Garter toss? Of course! These garter toss loving brides and grooms are not who I'm talking about in this post. For the record, those brides who want to toss their garter at the reception simply get a tossing garter (or a garter set) so they can save their heirloom garter and not lose it. I've certainly made my fair share of tossing garters over the years! But, I digress, back to the issue at hand….)

Why is the garter always on the list of things to skip at your wedding?

Because brides and grooms don't want to do the garter toss. That's it. They just don't want to do it. They are uncomfortable with going up the wedding dress in front of their friends and family. They are uncomfortable with stopping the reception fun to toss the garter. They are uncomfortable with singling out their single friends to be the ones to catch the garter. I could go on, but you get the point – there are lots of reasons to protest the garter toss!

something blue wedding garter made from vintage wedding dress on silver tray

Photo Credit: Renee Hollingshead

Meaningful Choices

I could go on with the list of reasons why brides and grooms are opting out of the garter toss.

But, I'll tell you what brides and grooms are NOT opting out of:  And, that is meaningful heirlooms to remember their wedding day. Those special pieces that they will love forever and save for their kids. The things that they can't wait to look back on and remember how amazing they felt on their wedding day.

Brides and grooms today are really taking the time to put thought and effort into making wedding choices that are reflective of their personalities and their love together. Choices that will be special and timeless and not trendy. (Click here to read my post on the secret to loving your wedding choices forever.)

Whether it is writing their own wedding vows and putting their vows in a bound book, or choosing cookie wedding favors in the shape of their dog, or having a family heirloom wedding garter handmade from the lace of the bride's mother's wedding dress, or designing a wedding reception signature cocktail in honor of their first date, there arecountless ways that couples are infusing their own unique love story into their wedding. Engaged couples are choosing to make their wedding meaningful to them.

The wedding garter is the perfect symbolism of this meaningful infusion that couples are prioritizing at their wedding. Brides are getting a wedding garter not to toss it, but to save it. She is designing her garter to be something that she loves and that is special to her. She will save her garter as a special wedding heirloom and pass it onto her daughter someday.

(For the record, this seems like a really great time to mention that this isexactly why I include an heirloom bag with each and every wedding garter that I sell. My garters are designed to be heirlooms and so they come with a bag so that you can save it for your daughter!)

bride wearing ivory lace bridal garter heirloom on her wedding morning

Photo Credit: Renee Hollingshead

Alive & Well

So, no, the wedding garter tradition itself is not over. It is very much alive and well in weddings of all shapes and sizes all over the world. There are many, many brides out there who are choosing a wedding garter and are saving it as an heirloom.

What is different about the garter tradition at weddings today is that brides are skipping the toss at the reception and instead choosing to save their garter as a meaningful and personal wedding heirloom.

Bottom line: the garter tradition is by no means dead. The garter tradition has changed. But, it isn't dead!


What do you think? Is the garter tradition dead for your wedding?

For just about anything any everything you need or could want to know about a wedding garter, be sure to check out my wedding garter 101 blog series. I answer any and all of your questions!

If you are looking for that special wedding heirloom, I'd love to hear from you! You can shop my wedding garter collection or check out my custom wedding garter designs. Get in touch with me via e-mail, I'd love to work with you to design a beautiful wedding garter heirloom for you to save that you'll love forever!