Breaking Tradition: Bouquet and Garter Toss

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23
Breaking Tradition: Bouquet and Garter Toss

Breaking Tradition: Bouquet and Garter Toss

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23

Part of the Wedding

Breaking Tradition: Bouquet and Garter Toss

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 12/29/23

Traditions can be wonderful, to the point that they are worth upholding. As we have seen in other parts of planning a modern wedding, many traditions are going out of fashion.  So, if the bouquet and garter toss aren’t the kind of traditions you and your partner want to uphold for your wedding, then fear not. Many couples are “tossing” out this tradition altogether, or replacing it with a different activity. Some are closely aligned with the spirit of the tosses, and some are different entirely.
A bouquet

It’s important to note that the tossing activities can even make some uncomfortable for various reasons, so nobody will miss it if you decide to skip them. Maybe you don’t want to fish out a garter in front of friends and family, or you are having a gender inclusive wedding and single ladies become problematic, or there are people with different abilities, and you want to include them. Whatever your reasons, this article will provide some inclusive alternatives to the bouquet and garter toss that will keep your guests entertained.  We will discuss options that include a bouquet without tossing it, or no bouquet at all. First, let’s take a look at options when you do have a bouquet.


Have a Bouquet But Don’t Want to Toss?

The tradition of the bouquet and garter toss was meant to bring luck to the single person who catches it to bring them luck in love. It is clear why this activity can be problematic due to relationship status, sexuality, ability, gender, and comfort, among others. So, honoring the spirit of it without the potential embarrassment is a win for everyone. The garter and bouquet toss together are activities that are meant to entertain guests, so there are parts of this tradition that can be personalized to fit your wedding needs.

If you do have a bouquet, then there are several options besides the classic toss. One is to give one flower to each single woman, or person, to represent the luck of finding true love. Even if you get a customary second bouquet for this purpose, it still honors someone in a meaningful way.  In this way, you can also honor the couple who has been married the longest, and have them give some advice to the newlyweds. Or, give it to a couple that is about to get married for luck and congratulations in their journey as well. You can start the tradition of something borrowed, and they can give it away at their wedding to another couple about to tie the knot. If you go this route make sure that the bouquet can stand the test of time just as the marriage will, hopefully. This probably also means another bouquet to add to the budget.

You can also get a second break away bouquet that allows more people to get a piece. You can allow anyone who wants to participate, or all the singles, etc.
Infographic for alternate bouquet toss ideas

Another fun twist on this tradition is the glass box because it has so much potential for entertainment. The idea is to put the bouquet in a glass box and give out keys. The person with the key that opens the box gets to keep it. Additionally, the bouquet (as the gift or altogether) can be swapped for a gift card, cash prize, or a wedding themed item, for example. This is especially helpful for guests with different abilities that may not be able to fight for the bouquet. The glass box provides options for people with or without bouquets, and gives everyone a fair chance to win. Most of all, it is still entertaining for everyone involved and those watching.

If you have the garter but are shy or extremely hygienic, you can toss a fresh garter that nobody has been wearing. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of spelunking in front of your family, then you can still honor the tradition without any of the awkward parts. Or you can choose one of the other options presented here if a garter is not on the wedding checklist.

Some couples also opt not to have a garter or bouquet at all, or at least, not include it in the festivities. Next up, alternatives without a bouquet or garter.

No Bouquet at All?

If you liked the idea of married couples giving advice, consider opening it up to an Anniversary Dance or Bouquet Dance. This is by and large the most popular alternative to the bouquet toss. It focuses on marriage and the newlyweds and also provides entertainment. The DJ will ask all the married couples to join the newlyweds on the dance floor. It is typically slow dancing, but you can plan with your DJ which song or playlist to use for this activity.  As the dance goes on the DJ will ask couples who have been married less than a year (excluding the newlyweds) to exit the dance floor. After that it will be less than five years, and ten years, etc. The dance will end when the newlyweds are left with the longest married couple on the dance floor. The DJ can ask for this couple to give advice, or you can open it to all the married couples. You can even have a gift for the longest married couple ready to go.
A happy couple

If you like the idea of dancing, but not public speaking, then maybe a choreographed dance is the best fit. This option will also enhance intimacy between you and your partner, as well as entertaining your guests come your wedding day. We’ve got more dance tips to share. Maybe you’re more of a singer and want to dedicate a song to your beloved. 

If performing isn’t your favorite, then you can thank important people in your life, or even just the mothers. You may want to have a few tokens to give to the people you mention as a thank you. These can be anything including themed parts of the wedding, a smaller bouquet, or gift card, etc. You can also toast to those who couldn’t be there for your big day, if you’re feeling sentimental.

If you’re a big introvert and don’t want that kind of attention, we also got you covered. You may opt to give gifts to all the singles. Or have a gift card toss.  Let your guests know that flowers can’t guarantee luck, but maybe a nice dinner date is a better start.

Maybe you do want to toss something, but just not the bouquet. Wedding themed tosses are also on the rise, using a trinket of the décor in favor of flowers. Or, you can get a plushy to toss to anyone who wants to play. The key in all of these activities is to do what feels right for you and your partner. Perhaps nothing so far feels right, and that’s ok, too! You can always choose just to leave these activities out. Nobody is going to complain if you do.
A necklace

Toss it Altogether

Rest assured, it is very safe to say that nobody will miss these activities if you choose not to include them. More than ever, couples are skipping or replacing these activities in favor of more popular ones like those mentioned here, or cutting the cake, and dancing. And all due respect to Queen Bey, but “All the Single Ladies” was outplayed by 2010. With so many alternative options to be more inclusive at your wedding, it only makes sense that the garter and bouquet toss are on the decline. Plus, there are fewer details to have to coordinate and that means less stress for you and your partner.

Final Thoughts

This article has provided inclusive alternatives to the bouquet and garter toss at your wedding. If you are opting for a different activity, try to be mindful of your guests, especially at nontraditional weddings. In the same way people have food preferences on their invitations, humans are all different. Finding an activity that includes the most people is always a good idea for an event like a wedding. Nobody goes to a wedding to be reminded of how single they are, how they can’t do things everybody else seems to, or how they don’t fit into binaries. So if you’re trying to avoid any potential humiliation for others, this is a great way to replace that risk with something positive and unique. As with every part of wedding planning, creativity and personalization are at the top of the list. If you have any special skills to aid you in this part of planning, it’s your time to shine! If you want to avoid it altogether for any reason, that’s also acceptable. It is your wedding, do what you want. And if Gam Gam does complain, just pretend you have to go cut the cake or can’t hear her over the music. You can’t please everyone, sometimes. However, these options are a fantastic start.

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