Back in the day, newlyweds were expected to consummate their marriage immediately after the wedding, with their families and friends waiting and listening outside — yes, just like in Game of Thrones. “After the marriage was consummated, the groom would give the bride’s garter to the waiting crowd to prove that the deed was done,” Kim Forrest, Senior Editor, WeddingWire, previously told Refinery29.
Other stories say that wedding guests would try to tear off pieces of the bride’s dress for good luck, and “the bride would wear an easily-accessible garter to toss to the crowd so they would stop grabbing her!” says Forrest. By the Renaissance era, the garter toss was less violent. Instead, it was associated with good luck and fertility.