There are many old customs attached to the marriage ceremony, and I thought I’d share some with you.
This one is about the bride’s garter.
To this day it is quite common for the bride, at the reception, to raise her skirt and remove a ceremonial garter from the top of her white stockings. It clearly has a sexual meaning and originated in English North Country weddings, where the garter was removed by guests who raced to be the first to do so as soon as the bride had been taken home to be bedded.
The young swains would leap opn their horses and race to the bride’s new home, where the winner would kneel at the doorway, awaiting the bride’s arrival. She would raise her skirt and allow him to remove the garter, sometimes with his teeth, encouraging him to hand it to his own sweetheart for good fortune in love.
In the 17th century, just as the bride was being prepared for bed by her maids, the groomsmen would burst into the bridal chamber and snatch any garter they could from the bridesmaids.
By the 19th century, only the groom was entitled to remove the garter, which he then offered as a prize in a horserace run by the groomsmen.
Watch this space tomorrw for the next wedding custom. And for help with a wedding speech, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.