What is the Difference Between a Garter and a Garter Belt?

What is the difference and purpose of a garter belt compared to a regular garter?

I often hear people mix up the terms "garter" and "garter belt." There is a subtle, but distinct difference between the two, so I thought I'd explain the difference between a wedding garter and a garter belt. I'm going to share, hopefully (maybe!) once and for all, the difference between a garter and a garter belt. These are confusing terms, I totally get it!

Sometimes a garter can be called a wedding garter or bridal garter. These terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same thing – just a garter. And these are what I hand make here at The Garter Girl, wedding garters, or bridal garters for brides to wear on their wedding day, which are different than garter belts. 

custom wedding garter hand made from the bride's mother's wedding dress with pearls, tulle and lace by The Garter Girl

Shop this wedding garter:
Custom garter made from mother's wedding dress
Made by: The Garter Girl

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But, it is important to know the difference, because if you go to a store or a bridal dress shop, and ask for a garter belt, you might get something totally different than if you go to a lingerie shop asking for a wedding garter! This is about knowing what to ask for in the right location!

What Is A Garter Belt?

First off, a garter belt. A garter belt is a piece of lingerie that goes around someone's waist. It is usually made of lace, but not always. The garter belt uses clips or snaps to hold up pantyhose or stockings. It's quite literally a belt that goes around your hips or waist, and just like a belt holds up your pants, a garter belt is used to secure panty hose or stockings so that they don't fall down.


Embroidered Lace Garter Belt Detail

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Lace garter belt with embroidered flowers
Made by:  desirex

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The garter belt started back in the days before elastic when holding up stockings was a lot harder and thus anchoring it around the waist made the most sense. Over time, especially as elastic and stretchy fabric came onto the scene in clothing production, I think we can all agree that garter belts have grown into a sexy symbol of femininity.

In both of these photos of a lace garter belt, you can see the beautiful lace band or belt that goes around the waist and the straps that hang down to clasp onto the panty hose.

When you wear a garter belt, you need to use panty hose or stockings that don't go all the way up your leg and over your hips, like thigh high stockings, or specialty panty hose designed to be worn with a garter belt.

Embroidered Lace Garter Belt

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Lace garter belt with embroidered flowers
Made by:  desirex

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What Is A Garter?

The second thing that I'm going to explain is the garter. (Remember, the garter is also called a wedding garter, or a bridal garter. But, for the sake of this blog post, we are just going to call it a garter!) A garter is different than a garter belt (see above!).

The garter represents the oldest wedding tradition. It is a small piece of decorated material that is worn around one of the bride's legs during the wedding ceremony and reception. The garter is usually made with elastic, so that it holds up while she is walking and dancing. 

difference between garter and garter belt

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Beaded sparkle wedding garter
Made by: The Garter Girl

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Often times, but not always, the couple who just got married will participate in the wedding garter toss tradition at their wedding reception, in which the garter is removed, and thrown to an awaiting wedding guest as a sign of good luck. Just like with the bouquet toss, once the garter is removed, it is also thrown to single guests waiting.

Tossed or not, the wedding garter is as a small little expression of a couple's big day, and it is a keepsake meant to be cherished and passed on through generations. Simply put, the wedding garter tradition has evolved over the years and is a special wedding heirloom for the bride!

what is difference between garter and garter belt

Shop this wedding garter: 
Champagne satin & ivory lace wedding garter
Made by: The Garter Girl

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Now that you know the difference between a garter belt, and a wedding garter, let's get to the fun part! Let's go shopping for each of these beautiful items. A garter belt would be suitable for your wedding night, or honeymoon, or anytime, really! 

Let's Shop Garter Belts

If you're wondering where to shop the most beautiful garter belts, from lace to illusion, and every style in between, look no further. I've done the research for you when it comes to elegant and feminine garter belts. Because, let's be honest, these pieces of lingerie can go from beautiful to not-so-much really quickly!

First up, a list of beautiful garter belts you may just love for your next special occasion. Remember when I said, when wearing a garter belt you'll need to wear specific types of panty hose that don't go all the way to your torso? Garter belts are often worn when you have a special occasion dress you're wearing and we all know there are plenty of wedding related events where you'll be dressing up!

Because a garter belt actually serves a function and isn't solely for show, aka holding up your stockings, you'll want to invest in a quality one.

Oh, and please, pretty please, make sure that you try on your garter belt before wearing outside of the house. Try it on and walk around at home for a bit with it on. The last thing you need is it to be out of the house and have a garter belt malfunction. It just sounds uncomfortable and embarrassing thinking about it! 

So, let's take a look at the variety of garter belt styles that are available from various retailers online and even some from Etsy

Lace Bra and Garter Belt Set

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Lace Bra and Garter Belt Set
Designer: Mapale, Sold by: Nordstrom

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White Lace Bridal Garter Belt Set
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Made by: desirex

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Blush Garter Belt
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Made by: Mon Paradis Lingerie

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Wedding Garter Belt Set
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Made by: desirex

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Something Blue Garter Belt Set
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Designer: Coquette, Sold by: Nordstrom

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Journelle White Lace Garter Belt
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Designer: Journelle, Sold by: Nordstrom

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Plus Size Lace Garter Belt Set
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iCollection, Sold by: Macy's

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Chic Black Garter Belt Set
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Designer: MeMoi, Sold by: Macy's

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Wine Pink Garter Belt Set
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Designer: iCollection, Sold by: Macy's

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Now that we found you a beautiful garter belt - maybe for your engagement party, rehearsal dinner night outfit or your honeymoon - don't miss our own wedding garter collections. We have two pre-designed bridal garter collections: the Couture Collection and the Just Say Yes Collection.

All garters here at The Garter Girl are handmade by yours truly (that's me!) and crafted with care. Each garter order includes a keepsake bag so that you can save your garter after your wedding is over, because remember, wedding garters are not for tossing. Also, each heirloom also arrives in a beautiful gift box, making it a perfect bridal shower or wedding morning gift for the bride. It's the little details that make the difference for such an important heirloom that will be part of your big day and a cherished item you'll keep for years to come.

Let's Shop Wedding Garters

Shop The Couture Collection

I have two different collections of wedding garters, in addition to custom wedding garters. First up, is the 'Couture Collection' of bridal garters, which feature the finest laces, the softest tulles, and the most intricate of sparkle details. Dripping with luxury and personalization, al garters in the 'Couture Collection' include complimentary hand embroidery, so if you wanted to add your new monogram or wedding date, it's the perfect customization to add onto the inside of your garter to give it that extra special touch.

Here are two of my personal favorite bridal garter designs from the 'Couture Collection' It is very hard to pick just two, so be sure to check out the full 'Couture Collection' to find your most perfect style.

Luxury Lace Bridal Garter

Shop this wedding garter:
Made by: The Garter Girl

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Something Blue Wedding Garter

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Made by: The Garter Girl

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Shop The Just Say Yes Collection

My second collection of wedding garters is the 'Just Say Yes' Collection, which is perfect for when you're tight on time (aka the wedding is next weekend!), or the bride has a simple, clean bridal style, and you need a wedding garter that is more suited to her taste.

Garters in the 'Just Say Yes' Collection are still all handmade by me, but they feature a sleek, modern style with elegant yet traditional details. The 'Just Say Yes' Collection is offered at an affordable price point, and is ready-to-ship, making them the most perfect bridal shower gift or the "whoops we totally forgot about this until now" last minute gift for the bride. 

Here are two personal favorites of mine from the 'Just Say Yes' Collection, but just remember that if these aren't your bridal style, you can shop the full collection with tulle, sparkle, lace, satin and just about every detail in between.

White Lace Bridal Garter

Shop this wedding garter:
Made by: The Garter Girl

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Luxury Lace Bridal Garter

Shop this wedding garter:
Made by: The Garter Girl

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So, there you have it... the difference (according to me) between a garter belt and a wedding garter! Plus, our handmade wedding garter heirlooms for you to shop for your big day...and some of our favorite garter belts for those other wedding related events and times you'll need the garter belt under your attire!

Remember, you can shop for a wedding heirloom anytime in my garter shop or get in touch with me at info@thegartergirl.com for information on custom designing a garter just for you!

Looking for more inspiration for your wedding planning process? Check out the Garter Girl Loves series of blog posts or find all of my wedding planning advice here on my blog.

With love, The Garter Girl

 

 

Some of the above product links are affiliate-connected and purchasing through these links helps to support the blog.

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