Alternatives to the Bouquet & Garter Toss

Alternatives to the Bouquet Toss

The wedding bouquet toss is a tradition that has existed for hundreds of years. It is believed to have originated back in Medieval England and started not with a bouquet but with the wedding dress. It was said that a bride’s wedding dress was a symbol of good luck. So after the marriage, women would tear pieces of the bride’s dress to take so that they too could share in the good luck.

Thankfully over time, this tradition has evolved into what we know today as the bouquet toss. Now to share in the good luck of the bride you catch the bouquet. In this tradition, the bride will toss the bouquet over the shoulders and into a group of singles. If you catch the bouquet the luck shared is that supposedly you will be the next one to walk down the aisle. 

This is a great tradition however some brides are now looking for alternatives to throwing the wedding bouquet at their reception.  The reasons for this can vary but one of the more popular reasons is brides want their wedding reception to be unique, set apart from the rest, and to make the occasion their own.

Bouquet toss
unique ideas for your reception
17 Bouquet Toss Alternatives

1) Bouquet Presentation
Hand your bouquet to a special woman in your life.

2) Split the bouquet
You could take flowers from your own bouquet or have a separate bouquet made and give a flower to the woman you want to honor.

3) Anniversary Dance
The anniversary dance is a wonderful way to celebrate the union of marriage. Married couples are invited to join the newlyweds on the dance floor. The band or DJ plays a song and counts down the number of years each couple has been married. The couple on the dance floor who’s been married the longest win the bouquet. As a couple, you could also present them the garter.

4) Breakaway Bouquet
A breakaway bouquet has several mini bouquets or single flowers loosely tied together. It’ll be a fun surprise for everyone when you throw your arrangement and it separates into a few pretty pieces for the group.

5) Make the Bouquet Toss For All
Invite all the single ladies and single gentlemen onto the dance floor when it’s time to toss the bouquet. If your groom wants to join in, he can toss the garter at the same time. What the two guests choose to catch is completely up to them.

6) Pass the Torch
Present the bouquet to a couple getting married soon to bring them luck and wish them congratulations.

7) Say it with Flowers
Throw a bunch of flowers into the crowd with little notes tied to each stem so that everyone has something special to take home.

8) Flower alternatives
If you’re looking for something to throw besides flowers, then go for something compact and lightweight that won’t injure anyone if it hits them. Stuffed animals are a good option. You could also try paper airplanes made out of something such as a gift certificate or a lotto ticket.

9) Award a Gift
Instead of tossing your bouquet, use it as a gift. Give it to someone who was a huge help to you during your wedding planning process.

10) Dance off, Baby
Have a ladies-only dance, followed by a men-only dance, and then put the two winners together on the dance floor in a circle. The female and male winners of the dance-off get the bouquet and garter, respectively.

11) Pay It Forward
Give a heartfelt thank you toast to your Maid of Honor or someone special in your bridal party. You let your guests know how thankful you are for your best mate and then bestow on her your bouquet

12) Bling It Out
If you are making your bouquets out of flower pins or broaches you may want to give one away to every single guest. Who doesn’t love a little jewelry as a gift?

13) Flower Ceremony
If you’re having a small, intimate wedding, you could have a flower ceremony. Have your friends called to the dance floor, and you can hand each a flower from your bouquet. As you do tell them things you love about them.

14) Pass the Bouquet
Have all the ladies gather on the dance floor. As the DJ or musician plays an up-tempo song, the girls pass the bouquet around. Whenever the music stops, the person with the bouquet keeps it!

15) Give Flower to All the Single Ladies
For some women, being single is not what they wanted in life. The bride could give every single lady a flower and share encouraging words with them.

16) Include Everyone
Instead of only inviting the single ladies, have everyone get on the dance floor (men, women, married, and single).

17) Mondy Origami Bouquet
Throw an origami bouquet made with dollar bills. This can be a generous gift to say thank you to all of your guests who came to support your special day.


Alternatives to the Garter Toss

The garter toss is a time-honoured tradition that originated when guests would tear at the bride’s clothing, trying to snag a piece of fabric said to bring them good luck.
In the Middle Ages, brides started throwing their stockings and garters, so that they would be able to escape without their wedding dress being ripped to pieces.

If you don’t like this tradition there are alternatives you can use that can be fun, and sentimental, and create a celebration that more accurately reflects you as a couple.

Wedding garter
unique ideas for your reception
17 Garter Toss Alternatives

1) Great Non-Garter Gifts
Why not gift out something your crowd will really go after? Both ladies and men will love a “bouquet” of $1 scratch-off lottery tickets! Just toss it into the collective crowd and see who’s the luckiest of them all!

2) Barter Balloon Blast
Hide a garter in a large, opaque balloon. Next, mix your loaded balloon in with many others of the same colour. Release the balloons and watch as the participants pop the balloons to find the hidden prize.
In the balloons that don’t have the garter why not add ribbons and a card that says “Sorry! Not the garter!”

3) A Bottle Of Booze Under Lock And Key
Tie a garter around a locked box or cage containing a bottle of spirit. Give every single man a key or tie them around the garter or box. Each try’s the lock and the key of the man that works wins the prize.

4) Remove The Groom’s Tie
The bride can remove the groom’s tie any way they feel comfortable, hands, feet, teeth, or mind. Then the groom can through it into the waiting single guests. This can be just the men or the woman can be included in the group.

5) Balloon Drop
You can release the balloons onto the dance floor or while you are dancing.
One balloon can be filled with the garter. Or each one can be filled with a special trinket or momentum.
You can invite anyone to be involved with this game.

6) Involve The Young Guests
Toss a stuffed animal with a $20 bowtie to the kids in attendance.

7) Add A Bit Of Sport
Get a personalised football, soccer ball, or basketball to toss in place of the garter.

8) Toss the Boutonniere
The boutonniere is a small flower or bud worn on the lapel of a tuxedo or suit. It is believed that boutonnieres keep bad luck and bad spirits at bay. So using your boutonniere, instead will pass this luck to the person who catches it.

9) Toss Multiple Boutonnieres
Instead of one boutonniere, you can throw multiple so that many of your guests have the chance to win.

10) Trip to Jerusalem Game
Also known as musical chairs, the trip to Jerusalem is a game in which participants walk and dance around a set of chairs. The game begins with one seat less than the total number of participants, and once the music stops, they have to scramble to sit down. One player gets eliminated after every round, and the winner gets to keep the garter.

11) Dance-Off
Similar to a game of musical chairs, make each participant dance to a song in front of the couple. This can either be choreographed beforehand or completely freestyle. Once everyone is finished, the couple will choose which dancer impressed them the most, who then wins the garter.

12) Limbo
In a game of limbo, each participant will try to pass under a horizontal stick. After every round, the stick will be held lower and lower. The winner is the guest who manages to go down the lowest without falling or grazing the stick. As a prize, the garter is given to that player.

13) Give the Garter as a Gift
Instead of making it a competition, you may simply give the garter to a guest or member of the wedding party who is also getting married sometime soon. You may even like to keep it to pass on to a future daughter or daughter-in-law. They can then use it as “something borrowed” for their wedding.

14) Dance With All the Couples
Have every married couple go to the dance floor and give them a moment to sway to the music. Every few minutes or so, the master of ceremonies counts up years of marriage, such as one, two, five, ten, and so on. The couple dancing leaves the dance floor when their year is called.
The couple with the longest marriage wins the garter, and shows your admiration for their relationship and the strength of their commitment.

15) Toss a Stuffed Animal
Tossing a stuffed animal also works well with kids in attendance. Choose a stuffed animal with sentimental value or a favourite animal of you and your partners and toss it to the crowd. You can also tie some cash or a gift card to the stuffed animal.

16) Trivia About the Couple
Ask questions about your relationship and you as individuals. Your questions could include “Where did we have our first date?”, “When did we first meet?”, “What is our favorite thing to order at our favorite restaurant?, “What were our childhood nicknames?”, “Where did we originally plan on having a destination wedding?”, “How many dogs do we have, and what are their names?”. Have someone tally each participant’s score. If you want, you can assign a higher number of points to more challenging questions. Whoever gets the highest number of points wins the garter.

17) Toss Some Sweets
Instead of a garter, you can opt for pieces of candy and chocolate to throw at the crowd. This way, every guest can participate. This alternative is also perfect for receptions with kids in attendance, as they will surely love the sweets that will be tossed.

Your Reception Your Way

Your wedding reception should reflect you as both individuals and a couple. Going away from traditional wedding reception additions may be a great way for you to show your personality and make your reception one for your guests to remember.

As a master of ceremonies, I love to help couples create receptions that are fun and unique.

If you are looking for a master of ceremonies I would like to discuss your special event. Contact me and we can start creating your special event.

For more wedding reception inspiration check out my other wedding blogs.

AboutTanya McDonald
It goes without saying that being a marriage celebrant is an honour and a privilege. I have loved weddings and what they represent for as long as I can remember. Since becoming a celebrant I am able to fulfill my passion and at the same time treasure each opportunity I have to work with couples to help them bring their dreams and ideas into life through their ceremonies. I have been a fully authorised marriage celebrant since 2014 and I have helped couples enjoy thier journey to the altar since then. If you need a celebrant, I would love to discuss your ceremony with you.