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Wedding: The Garter

by Meghann on July 30, 2012

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

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My garter!

err.. garterS.

Something I didn’t know before I started planning my own wedding? Most brides wear two garters – one to toss and one to keep. Not all brides, but it’s apparently a fairly common practice. Even my grandmother (who was married in 1963) told me she wore two garters on her big day. And most garters I found on etsy were sold in pairs. Must be every bride’s little secret.

Check out both my sister and sister-in-law warning their new hubbies they were wearing two garters right before they went for the grab.

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And, because I was looking through the photos, I found it funny they both went for the garter-retrieval-by-mouth method.

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Classic.

I knew I wanted an FSU themed garter from the beginning. Derek and I met at FSU and reconnected several years later at an FSU football game. It’s part of our history as a couple and as individuals.

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Wow, we looked young then.

I had a faint memory of once seeing FSU garters at Bill’s (the popular off-campus bookstore) and remember seeing a few girls wearing them to various football games back in the day. I was hoping to find a cheap garter through Bill’s online store, but had no such luck. I did a google search to see if any other online sports-themed stores sold them, but again, nada.

However, when I did google “Florida State Garter” several etsy shops popped-up in the search. I should have known – etsy rules all. Obviously. :)

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I wanted something fairly simple, and found myself a little overwhelmed with all the options. Some cute. Some ridiculously over the top.

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Most were made of tulle, which I wasn’t a big fan of, but I did stumble upon a lace version the caught my attention. I loved the lace and I loved how it wasn’t anything crazy.

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And $19.99 for two garters? Sold!

I asked the seller if he could trade out the baseball with a flower and he said that wouldn’t be a problem.

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When it arrived I was torn on whether to show Derek the garters or not. Part of me thought it would be a fun surprise during the reception, the other part of me hates surprises (I get so excited that I usually can’t hold it in).

Sure enough, I couldn’t hold it in. I showed him the garters the day they arrived and he was genuinely impressed. The idea of a themed garter never even occurred to him and he was touched I went the FSU route. :)

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Now, the questions remains, which one to toss and which one to keep?!

Did you have a themed garter? Did you show your hubby-to-be before the big day or did you keep it a surprise?

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sarah jane July 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

you’re supposed to throw whichever one you wear lowest, which in your case is the bigger one with the logo.

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2 Army Amy* July 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I purchased a garter that matched the rest of my undergarments, but I didn’t end up wearing it. I put it on (for the photo op) then took it right off. Uncomfortable! Plus, my wedding was small, so we knew we were skipping the garter toss. (The only single guys in attendance were my brothers and my husband’s grandpa.)*

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3 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats July 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

those are so cute! I think it’s great to do little themed things that are hidden like that, like when brides wear blue shoes! It makes the little things more special!

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4 Aneta July 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

What a great idea! this idea never crossed my mind but it think its excellent! thank you!! i am going to do that for my husband as well! he loves the new engand patriots and I was wondering how to incorporate that into the wedding but now i know how! yay!

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5 Jill July 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I LOVE THE FSU GARTER! Go Noles >>—>>

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6 Shanna, like Banana July 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I like the idea of a themed garter to make it more unique to the couple.

However, did you know the real meaning behind garters? Apparently the Father of the Bride is supposed to put ON the garter as a way of symbolizing their purity and then the groom takes it off as a symbol of taking that purity. Sooo, that kinda grossed me out and tipped the scales for me not doing the garter..haha. Thankfully that’s not well known so it’s just a fun wedding event and not some uber creepy thing!

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7 Sarah July 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

That is pretty gross. Ick.

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8 Rachel Wilkerson July 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I’ve actually read a different explanation (though it’s no less disturbing): http://archielevine.blogspot.com/2008/11/traditional-marriage-perverts-tradition.html

I don’t plan to do a garter for a lot of reasons and the ick factor is one of them, but I understand that tons of wedding traditions are rooted in pretty messed-up patriarchal shizz and I figure most brides and grooms pick and choose which to keep and which to skip for their own personal reasons.

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9 Emily @ Relishments July 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm

We skipped the garter and the bouquet toss, partially because I think they’re strange and partially because we weren’t inviting a lot of single people. I still don’t regret it.

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10 Emily July 30, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I also skipped the garter and bouquet toss. I think the garter idea is really trashy, particularly when the groom gets it with his teeth. Would you EVER think of doing such a thing in front of your parents, grandparents, boss, etc. on any other day?! No? Then why do it on one of the most special days of your life? No one needs to see my husband’s head up my dress, thank you very much.

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11 Kimberly July 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I have to agree Emily! I’m by no means a prude or get embarrassed easily, but I think it’s so uncomfortable for the guests when I go to weddings and the groom goes under the bride’s dress with his mouth to get the garter. Usually at least one person at the table I’m at will turn to the other people and give the big eyed looks or mouth the word “Wow”. I mean, I think we all know what happens on the wedding night, parents, grandparents, and guests don’t need a preview.

Cute garters though! I’m not doing a garter, mainly because of the lack of single guys (that’s what happens when you’re 30 and getting married).

12 Tamara July 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Agreed…my husband and I skipped the garter toss because it seemed so inappropriate. We also skipped the bouquet toss to save $$ since we would’ve had to pay for that.

I did have a garter that my sister had brought back from Belgium but I just kept it as a memory of the wedding.

13 Brittany July 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I got my Virginia Tech garters from Etsy as well! So far, I’ve done a good job of keeping it a surprise from my groom-t0-be, but I have the hardest time keeping secrets too!!! :)

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14 Laura @ sweatingforit July 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I wasn’t really into the garter thing so I just bought the cheapest one I could find and used it. I love the story that goes with yours though!

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15 Vivian July 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

love the garters! my husband and i met at fsu as well. we didn’t do the themed garter because we didn’t care about the garter part of the ceremony. i don’t even know where mine is any more. if i had the fsu themed garter though, i bet i’d remember where i put it!

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16 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Not married yet – but I would love to get themed garters for the big day!

My boyfriend’s a big batman nerd…I think a batman garter would be perfect .:-)

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17 Solana July 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I also wore a sports themed garter! I had a local seamstress add blue & green ribbons to a white lacy garter and then added our teams logo pin to it! I had her make 2, and I did keep 1, but I only actually wore 1 on my wedding day. And I only put it on after dinner, because it was annoying to wear all day!

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18 Amanda July 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

So funny – my garter just came in the mail this weekend! My bridesmaid ordered it for me from etsy – it’s lace with light blue flowers to serve as my “something blue”. I decided to forego the set and just get one because we’re not doing the garter toss. I want one because I think it’s fun and sexy!

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19 Melissa July 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm

My keep garter belonged to my grandma and my mom also wore it on her wedding day. It doubled as my something old, and hopefully my sister will wear it in a few years.

My toss garter was made by my mom. She actually made me two of them so that I could keep one as a memento (since she’s keeping my grandma’s for now).

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20 Jessie July 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

My garter was actually made from my mother’s wedding dress! I bought a second cheap garter to toss, but I wasn’t comfortable with both on, so I just made sure to get it back after the toss.

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21 Gwen July 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Very cute! None of my friends or myself wore garters. I wonder if it’s a regional thing that’s fallen off up here. We aren’t tossing bouquets anymore either. Maybe we just got old :)

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22 Samantha July 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

So cute! I actually thought of doing something similar, as my boyfriend and I met in college and a lot of our memories incorporate our school. But my school isn’t nearly as popular, so I’m not sure I’ll find one…maybe something custom-made from an Etsy shop!!

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23 Christine @ BookishlyB July 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

I only had one- I really didn’t care. I bought a black one and hot glued an Anaheim Ducks patch that I had bought separately on it, since that’s my husband’s favorite hockey team. He had no clue and after he took it off (not with his teeth, thankyouverymuch) he pretended to walk off the dance floor with it. It’s always fun to personalize those small details.

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24 Jennifer July 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm

No themed garters here, and I only had one. We didn’t do the garter/bouquet toss either. We had mostly an older crowd/very few single people so it seemed pointless. What we did instead was ask all the married couples to come to the dance floor. The DJ played “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers and all of the married couples danced. The DJ announced, “Any couple married less than 5 hours please leave the dance floor”. Obviously that was my husband and I. Then he proceeded to announce various time frames (1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc). The last married couple left on the dance floor was the couple married the longest. We gave that couple the bouquet and garter. It was my aunt and uncle who were married just over 50 years at the time. They were very touched and all of our guests really enjoyed this non-traditional approach to a very popular wedding tradition.

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25 Amy July 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm

We did the same thing! We knew in advance it would be my grandparents, and they were really happy and touched when we presented them with the bouquet (with the garter wrapped around it) and a gift card to their favorite restaurant. It ended up being a special part of the night, and in my mind, I preferred celebrating love and marriage over putting all the single people on the spot, so to speak (since I think there are often guests who are might be a little uncomfortable with that). Just another idea to consider!

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26 Meghann July 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I’ve been to weddings that had that dance, but they also did the bouquet/ garter toss – there’s room for both. :) Honestly, I know my family and I know they’re a pretty crazy bunch who don’t shy away from that sort of thing. My grandmother was actually cheering my brother on as he removed Ashley’s garter – I think I have a photo of that. The awesome thing about weddings is they’re your wedding. You have the option to do the garter toss, and you have the option not to. We choose to do it because it’s what we want. :)

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27 Jennifer July 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Exactly! It’s your wedding so you should obviously do what makes you happy. I personally don’t have a problem with the garter toss. And yes, I agree that there is room for both!

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28 Andrea July 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm

My husband is a big Red Sox fan, so I ordered a Red Sox garter set to surprise him. We ended up deciding not to do the bouquet/garter toss, so I wore it one night on our honeymoon. He loved it!

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29 Jane July 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Yea I think the whole garter thing is really trashy and gross…

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30 Meghann July 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I respect your opinion. Personally, I think it’s fun. :)

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31 Suze July 31, 2012 at 9:59 am

I think you’re trashy and gross.

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32 jane July 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm

to each his own-it’s what makes the world go round!

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33 Tracey @ Veggies, Cake & Cocktails July 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I used a football themed garter too!

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34 Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete July 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Reading your post made me think about whether I had a garter or not. Our big wedding wasn’t even that long ago. 2009. I couldn’t remember, so I asked my husband. He can’t remember either. I don’t know whether that is bad or good. ??

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35 Erin July 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I will also chime in that I think the garter thing is trashy. I’ve been to a lot of weddings in the past few years and only one wedding did the garter toss.

Also, I don’t see all the pride associated with a big state school. For me, I have pride over my education and if you’re school isn’t highly ranked academically, I don’t get it. But Florida’s different with their view on education it seems.

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36 Suze July 31, 2012 at 10:01 am

This is such a snobby comment. Get over yourself.

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37 Lee July 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm

“You’re” comment is not only unnecessary, silly, and rude: it’s ridiculously inaccurate.

I guess you don’t realize that “big state school” and “highly ranked” aren’t mutually exclusive? Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UMichigan, UNC, UFlorida (OMG, no way!)–the list goes on and on. (Not to mention that many talented students who are accepted into high-ranking private schools choose to go public because of practical considerations; private tuition costs are obscene.)

Get over yourself.

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38 Carrie August 1, 2012 at 12:13 am

Wow.

Go Noles.

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39 Claire July 31, 2012 at 2:31 am

Erin, here in England we are proud of the university we attended, whether it is a high ranking, Russell Group one or not. Mine both are, so that makes me super proud ;) no idea about America, but if you spent years somewhere and gained a degree, friends and memories? Be proud!

It’s also ‘your’ school, just fyi in your comment :)
Claire x

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40 Meghann July 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

Claire, we’re proud of the university we attended in the U.S. too. I spent 4 years at FSU making wonderful friends, cheering on my Seminoles, and earning a degree I’m proud of. I will never be ashamed to say I’m went to FSU, just like NO ONE else should ever feel ashamed where they went to school.

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41 Erin July 31, 2012 at 7:03 am

Sorry for the typo, I comment on my Iphone and editing is time consuming.

In America, there’s a lot of competition in education and as sad as it is, where you went to college says a lot about you and most people immediately pass judgement on you based on the name of your University of College. I don’t know, if I went to FSU I would be a bit more hesitant to mention it to everyone if I was trying to use my blog to get ahead in my career.

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42 Meghann July 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

I’m sorry, Erin, but I 100% disagree with you. I believe NO ONE should ever be made to feel ashamed of what school they went to, just like no one should never feel ashamed to say where they came from or what they do for a living. FSU is a GREAT school and I am PROUD to say I earned my degree there.

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43 Lindsay July 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

GO NOLES!

Meghann,
I’m sorry you’ve been getting a lot of negative feedback lately. I hope you are taking it in stride!

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44 Lacey @ Lake Life August 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Here we’re more likely to pass judgment on someone who went to college for 4 years yet still can’t spell simple words, can’t use common phrases appropriately and can’t proofread; that’s what seems to make the college look bad, not vice versa.

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45 Claire July 31, 2012 at 9:48 am

I totally agree that employers look at where you attended school, university, the classification etc. I worked hard to get into the universities I got in and know that they ‘look good’ to employers. Here we do not have this state and private university ststem, however.

I also know, as someone who works in education and preps 18 year olds on which to choose, that universities are also ranked for specific courses so it its entirely up to the individual and the course they choose. Factors such as locality, funding and where feels ‘right’ for you are also hugely important.

Anyway, my point simply was that to me, it was snobby and pointless to criticise FSU and a person’s education by taking a post about garters (sooo not an English thing btw ;) ) and making a mean comment about their education and university league tables! The idea of a FSU farter was the fact that it was where they met, not how good their degree is…

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46 Meghann July 31, 2012 at 9:53 am

Thank you, Claire. I agree 100%. FSU was my number one choice when I applied for schools (and had been since I was a kid – there are even photos of me rocking FSU shirts back then), and I was beyond excited when I got in. I stand by the value of my degree and my alma mater.

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47 Emily August 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I went to a almost unknown, tiny (1000 students) liberal arts college–Goshen College. Those who know the school know it’s a great school and jump to hire GC grads. Employers who don’t know it have always asked questions and were impressed to hear more, and certainly didn’t judge me for not going to a big, well-known school. Sure, what school you choose does say something about you, but the education you receive from it and the way you are able to present yourself as a professional mean much more.

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48 Claire July 31, 2012 at 9:50 am

Wow, bad typo! *garter!!!

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49 Emily N July 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

I had Cincinnati Bearcats garters and did not tell J before the wedding. So it was a surprise later! We did not do a garter toss though, so he just saw them at the hotel later… *winks*

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50 Heather July 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm

A garter wasn’t for me, but … I just need to say that saying it’s trashy and disturbing seems odd to me. I mean if that’s your opinion that’s great and all, but I’m assuming you are also a person who will never be getting married. Or if you are you are not getting an engagement ring, not wearing a white dress, etc. The whole process of a wedding is a bit disturbing/based on some pretty archaic principles, so if you’re going to call someone out for choosing to participate in one aspect of it, I sure hope you’re able to back that up in your own wedding planning.

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51 LizP July 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Agree! There are so many traditions with really strange origins that I say in this day and age do what “you” (the couple) wants to do. Personally, I will not be partaking in some traditions (garter toss, honeymoon fund jar, bouquet toss, etc), but I have too been called names (tacky/strange) by relatives/acquaintances for having bridesmen and buying a shorter dress for the reception.

All the nonsense surrounding what I should and shouldn’t do/wear/say has made me wonder several times: On our wedding day, are you here to support us or judge us?!

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52 Missy July 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I went to a private school and Meg, I guarantee you had much more FUN college experience than I did. Because of the cost, I lived at home and commuted to school. Then, my sophomore year, I landed a GREAT job because of my kick-ass computer skillz (hey, this was 1999 and the dot.com boom was in full swing). I landed it w/o a degree, but wanted to FINISH the degree, so I had to take night classes at my college if I wanted to keep my job. Night classes served a different demographic (adults returning to school) and I did not fit in. I hated college, but kept on until I graduated.

So yeah — be PROUD of your school. I would take your college experience any day over my shitty one. :(

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53 Martha July 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Garters are cute and I like the FSU colours. Plus that position illustrated in the photos above totally gets things started for later ;)!!

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54 Jess August 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

I wore the garter I got during intiation at my sorority, so my husband had scene it before hanging with my paddle in my room while we were in college. We did not do the garter toss though. I just felt odd about having my husband up my dress in front of my entire family, especially my dad and my grandpa’s.

On a side note, these people that are telling you to not be proud of where you went to school are ridiculous. I also went to a state university and it was amazing. I have a great job and had an amazing college experience. Plus I met my husband there, who by the way, also got a great education and has a very good job. Ignore their ignorant and pretentious comments.

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55 Sarah August 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The reason there are 2 garters is that originally, garters were used to hold up your pantyhose. Technically you’d have one on each leg.

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56 CampingGirl August 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I didn’t have a garter at my wedding. We didn’t do many “traditional things” like cutting the cake or having special dances. It was more of a dress up party.

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