Much to the chagrin of single people everywhere, two of the most common wedding traditions are the tossing of the bouquet and garter. You know the routine…the single ladies gather on the dance floor and, after counting to three, the bride tosses a small bouquet over her shoulder to the waiting women. Whoever catches it is rumored to be the next to be married. The same thing goes for the garter toss, only the men are the ones doing the catching. Since these two traditions are observed at nearly every wedding, where did they begin?
Both traditions actually date back to the same custom from the 14th century. At that time, brides were believed to possess a surplus of luck therefore everything they touched was filled with good fortune. At wedding ceremonies, guests would actually attack the bride in an effort to steal an item from her. They would clamber around her, pulling at her dress and flowers, in hopes of securing a lucky souvenir for themselves. Many brides actually had their dresses torn to pieces before the end of the wedding celebration by greedy guests hoping to find favor and luck. Not surprisingly, over time this tradition evolved into a more refined, less dangerous custom: the tossing of the bouquet and garter.
Tossing of the bouquet and garter is a more civilized way for brides and grooms to pass their good fortune onto others. It’s believed that whichever man and woman catch the bouquet and garter will be the next to find love, quite possibly with one another.