I have to admit, I am completely plagiarizing myself today. I
wrote this blog, at least an extremely similar one, for a different blog a few
years ago. Since it’s one of my favorite subjects, and I hate reinventing the
wheel, I’m coping my own work. It’s good news for you all though!
You know Beyonce’s song “All The Single Ladies?” I used to love it. It
let me put my hand up in the air, and wave it like I just didn’t care, at all
the bars in college. I had dance parties in my jammies to that song. It was an
anthem for us single girls waving goodbye to all the men who’d wronged us.
Then, in a moment notice, at a wedding I was attending, this song became a
moment of dread. “All The Single Ladies” was suddenly ripped of its
girl-power qualities and became the signal that it was time to make your way to
the dance floor for the bouquet toss.. AKA time for me to hide behind the
It’s true, I’m not a fan of this tradition, at least not entirely. It is believed
that the woman who catches the bouquet will be the next to marry. I like this
part – I’ll take any luck I can get to get me to the altar next! Then, the
groom usually retrieves the garter from the bride’s leg and tosses it to the single
men. The same luck applies to he who catches it. That is all fine and well.
From there, in Western PA at least, the single man places the garter on the leg
of the single woman. Here is where my red flag goes up. I’m not real keen on
the idea of some guy I’ve never met sliding something lacy up my leg,
especially if he’s been hitting up the open bar all night. Even more mortifying
would be a relative catching the garter. There’ really no need for Uncle George
to adorn me with something found at Victoria’s Secret. Awkward!!
So, what’s a girl to do? I know as wedding planner, it’s my job to give the bride
the wedding she desires and deserves, so I’d never tell her to nix this
tradition if she wanted it. As a guest, I’ll continue to do my duty; shuffle
reluctantly to the dance floor when called and move hell and high water to
dodge that flowery bullet. I do, however, have some suggestions for brides, or
bridesmaids who share my sentiment.
1. Personalized item for all: The bouquet/garter toss tradition has it’s roots in the 14th
century, when wedding guests would tear off pieces of the bride’s garments,
because they were thought to bring luck. When the newly wedded women got tired
of being attacked, they began throwing personal items, like their garters, at
the crowd. In keeping with this idea, you can throw, or pass out, something
personalized to all the single women. These items could be monogrammed
chocolates, single flowers like those in your bouquet or t-shirts silk-screened
with your favorite saying, song lyrics or silly picture of you and your groom.
You could also give the girls scented candles, or mixed CDs of your and your
hubby’s favorite songs. My favorite idea is personalized tubes of lip gloss
like these from LipLove. Single girls really need to
keep those lips smooth right? Anything goes with this idea, as long as it’s
something near and dear to your heart. Just make sure you have some idea of how
many single ladies you’ve invited! (This also works for the groom and garter
2. Cheers: You can toast your marriage with your single friends by taking your favorite
alcoholic shot with them. Underage single guests can participate with sparkling
cider, juice or any drink they have on hand. They could also be given a piece
of chocolate to eat at the same time you take the shot.
3. Anniversary Dance: This one is my favorite. The DJ announces that you’d
like for all the married couples to join you on the dance floor to see who has
been married the longest. Once everyone is there, he tells everyone to please
remain on the dance floor if you’ve been married for five years or less. He
keeps announcing in increasing increments of five as couples leave the floor.
Once 50 years is announced, each year is announced separately until the longest
married couple is found. They are then presented with the bouquet and garter.
The last wedding I attended did this, then the DJ asked the couple to share
words of wisdom to the newlyweds. It’s such a sweet moment!
4. All the ladies (and gentlemen): If you don’t like the idea of singling out
all your unmarried guests, have all the women and men participate in the
bouquet and garter toss.
5. When in Finland, do like the Finlanders?: You, the bride, are blindfolded and the
single women make a circle around you. You turn slowly in one direction, and
the women, holding hands, circle around you in the opposite direction. The
women stop, and you hand your bouquet to the woman facing you. She’s the lucky
6. Just rig it!: If there is an engaged couple, or soon-to-be engaged couple in
attendance, you can always plan for the bouquet and garter to go to them. Just
make sure you’ve cleared it with the couple, or know they’ll appreciate the
surprise. Also, tell your wedding party to inform the other guests that Ken and
Barbie are meant to catch the tossed items.
Whether it be the traditional way or something new, anything
goes when it comes to the bouquet and garter portion of your reception, so do
it your way and have fun! And for all the single ladies, like me, who cringe at
the thought of this, be a good sport and go for it. Who knows, the man who
catches the garter might just be your knight in shining armor!