The Origin Of The Flower & Garter Toss

There are many small nuances that brides take into account the days leading up to the wedding day. Every tradition to follow or not follow is painstakingly discussed and dissected as the details start coming together. The inclusion of one, two, all or no traditions forms the picture of what will be one of the most memorable days in an individual’s life. Two traditions, originating in England, is the tossing of the garter and the bouquet. These are gender specific traditions as the garter toss is aimed at the men and the bouquet for the women. But how did these traditions get started?

The Garter Toss

The removal of the garter was a sign of intimacy between newly wedded couples. The husband would remove the garter during the consummation of the marriage, and this would be proof that they had physically moved forward as husband and wife. Over the years, this tradition has evolved into the groom removing the garter during the reception and throwing it to the single men. The man that catches it destined to be the next one that will be married.

The Flower Toss

Unlike the purpose of decoration in today’s world,  bridal bouquets in the 14th century had a more practical purpose. One of the worst plagues in history, known as the Bubonic Plague, covered Europe, killing 5 million people per year. The Plague was never far away, even on joyous wedding days. As a result of it, brides would carry bouquets with garlic and herbs. The strange bouquets were designed to protect her from the Plague, evil spirits, and foul odors.

The tradition of tossing the bouquet originated in England as a way for the bride to pass along her good fortune to others. But the reason for tossing the bridal bouquet goes back to rude, immature, and rowdy guests. The bouquet toss was born from the need of the bride to get away; after the wedding, women used to try to rip pieces off of the dress or the bouquet in order to have good luck in their own love affairs. The bride began to toss the bouquet into the crowd so that the guests would scramble over it, therefore enabling her to leave, no pun intended, in one piece.

What we see today in weddings is a ceremony that has evolved over centuries. While most traditions started off as somewhat barbaric, these traditions are seen now as a fun way to keep the guests engaged. Some couples choose to forego the garter and bouquet toss completely, while others maintain the tradition and even add their own special touch to it in order to make it unique. There is no wrong or right way to include these traditions in your wedding, as these are just small details that make up the larger picture of a true love story.

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