The tradition of throwing the wedding bouquet and the bride's garter stems from an age-old belief that the bride and anything she wore or touches were lucky. Thus, guests would get a piece, even tear a portion of the bride's dress, as a souvenir of good luck which they could take home.
In these modern times, it is believed that whoever catches the bouquet and garter would be the next to marry. But nowadays, couples want a newer and fresher version of the bouquet and garter than just tossing it to guests. Here are some ideas you can do as an alternative take on this tradition:
1. A cousin of mine did this: instead of a tied bouquet, she had 11 roses on hand. She invited 12 of her single friends in front and tossed the flowers to them. The one who didn't get a rose is the lucky girl.
2. A friend of mine tied ribbons on the stems of the gathered flowers, one of them of a different color. Whoever gets to pull the different colored flower gets the bouquet.
3. Have the bride blindfolded and let the single ladies gather around her in a circle. As the music plays, the bride turns clockwise while the ladies turn counterclockwise. When the music stops, the bride hands the bouquet to the girl directly in front of her.
4. For the garter, have the guys gather around. When the music starts, the garter is passed among the boys. Whoever gets the garter when the music stops is the lucky guy.
5. For our wedding, we had the garter game first. The lucky guy sits on a chair while the girls surround him. It's like the Musical Chairs game, except that there's only one chair and the girls have to sit on his lap when the music starts. Whoever gets to sit on the guy's lap when the music stops is eliminated. The game goes on until there's only one lady left. The last girl left standing gets the bouquet.
6. For a little bit of fun, have the groom blindfolded. Let other women (bridesmaids, female friends, aunts, and even grandmas) join the bride in showing their legs. The groom has to guess which leg is the bride's before he can take off the garter.
7. If you have more married friends or guests than single ones, you can call on the married ladies on the floor. You can start by asking who has been married for X number of years and start eliminating them from the fewest to the most number of years she has been married, until there is one lady left, the one who's married the longest. She gets the bouquet.
8. Instead of throwing the bouquet away, you can give the bouquet to the woman closest to you -- your mom, sister, or best friend. Sort of like a dedication bouquet.
9. In lieu of a garter toss, you can have a dose of entertainment as you watch the guys vie for the garter by way of a Limbo Rock. My cousin did this during his wedding. Whoever gets to win gets the garter.
Some couples opt to remove this tradition from the reception program. But if you want a spark of enjoyment, you can just tweak this tradition to give your wedding reception a little spice.
Photo credit: The Bride's Things by gbosworth from sxc.hu.