Dear Shaun McQuaid, Answer King of the Scots,
I recently attended a wedding in which I witnessed the tradition of the boquet/garter tossâ€¦ could you explain where this tradition came from? Why do the bride and groom get more luck if the garter is placed higher?
Let’s address each portion of the question individually. First, the bouquet toss.
Actually, this is really weird. As I research I become more and more disturbed.
The bouquet toss originated back in the 14th century. Brides were considered to be good luck, and, after the wedding, the guests would tend to throng the bride, trying to take a piece of her dress or her flowers, or even to remove the garter (it was thought that any man who gave his girl a bride’s garter would ensure her loyalty forever). In an attempt to distract the throng of pushy folks, the bride started to toss her bouquet into the crowd, who would then resemble Christmas shoppers jumping on the last “Tickle Me Elmo”.
The garter toss came from…okay, even more disturbing. Again, in the 14th century, wedding guests would FOLLOW THE BRIDE AND GROOM TO THE BEDROOM! Then, they would wait until they took off their stockings, and THREW THE STOCKINGS AT THE BRIDE AND GROOM. Whoever HIT ONE OF THEM in the HEAD would have good luck. The bride eventually developed a countertechnique, similar to the bouquet toss – she threw the garter (which is supposed to hold up the stocking) at them beforehand to cause a mob, so her and her new hubby could get it on in peace.
As far as the reapplication of the garter goes, there’s no ancient source for the tradition. It’s just funny, I guess.
I wish you hadn’t asked this question. The answers are too disturbing.