Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A History of The Wedding Garter Belt

                  A Tradition to Cherish        

It can be tough to track down traditions.  And, when it comes to weddings and traditions many people just do them and don’t ask why.  As a designer of stylish wedding garters, I thought it only fitting to share with you what I discovered about the history of wedding garters.
The wedding garter is said to be one of the oldest wedding traditions, dating back to the Dark Ages. After the wedding festivities, guests would accompany the bride and groom up to their bedroom to ensure that they arrived safely and to wish them well.  It was considered good luck for a guest to take home a little piece of the brides clothing.
Over time, this ritual evolved into a wild wedding night romp where guests would tackle the bride, ripping her clothes off hoping for a piece of her attire. (It is also said that wedding guests did this to “help” the new couple along.) In the melee, the garter, which at that time was used to hold up a woman’s stockings, would get tossed and it was considered good luck for whoever caught it. Whoever caught the garter was the next to be married.  And in those days, I guess you couldn’t leave anything to chance!
I can only imagine that as a way to class up weddings a little bit and get the audience out of the newlywed’s bedroom, the wedding garter toss was eventually incorporated into the reception to help keep guests at bay and pass on the good fortune.
Over the years, the garter itself has evolved in form and function.  Garters were worn by men and women to hold up their socks.  As the hemlines got shorter, women began wearing garter belts around their wastes so their stockings would stay up discretely.  In fact, many ice hockey players today still wear a form of a garter to prevent their socks from rolling over their ankles.  I love this vintage photo from the 1920s of a woman using her garter to hold up a hidden flask during prohibition.
Since the invention of elastic and pantyhose in the 1960s, ladies (and men) don’t really need to use garters or garter belts to help them hold up their socks anymore.  But still, wearing a wedding garter and the garter toss ritual at receptions has remained a part of many modern weddings.
So, if you flaunt it, toss it, or keep it as your little secret – remember that wearing a garter on your wedding day is like wearing a little piece of history!

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