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The Bouquet Toss: History of the Tradition and Tips for the Modern Couple | Wedding History

Weddings are full of traditions, most of which are seemingly as old as time, but it's not often we think of their history. One of the most evocative and mysterious wedding day traditions is the bride's bouquet toss. Everyone's been on the guest list for a wedding where "Single Ladies" comes on over the speakers and throngs of hopeful brides-to-be vie for their chance to be next, but where did this tradition came from? We're diving into the history of the bouquet toss, things to consider if you'll be tossing your bouquet, and alternative options for couples who would rather opt out of the bouquet toss all together.

History of the Tradition

Throughout the centuries, the purpose of the bouquet toss has changed, but it's been a staple of celebrations across the globe since as far back as the 1800s. With roots in England, the modern bouquet toss stems from an age-old tradition of touching the bride on her wedding day for good luck. Why would the ladies in attendance need good luck? In the 1800s a woman's social status was often set in stone for the most part from birth, unless she could marry someone of a higher rank in society. This would not only secure her social class for the future, but also improve the status of her family.

With many eligible women eager for their chance to be the next to walk down the aisle, the tradition of touching the bride morphed into a slightly more aggressive practice of ripping off a bit of the bride's gown for luck. What could be luckier than snagging a bit of the bride to hold onto? As the years went on, the practice of snagging bits and pieces of the bridal gown understandably fell out of fashion, transitioning into the tradition as we know it today, the bouquet toss.


When opting for a bouquet toss, there are a few minor additional considerations to add to the checklist. First, you'll want to order a toss bouquet from your florist. Your beautiful bridal bouquet deserves to be preserved, so a secondary, simpler bouquet created just for tossing is the way to go. Once you have the additional bouquet squared away, your wedding coordinator can help you determine where to place the bouquet toss in the wedding day timeline, while your DJ can work with you to select the right song for the moment.

Alternatives to the Toss

If the bouquet toss (often paired with the garter toss) isn't quite your style there are several alternatives. An option that doesn't call out all the single ladies is a handoff of the bouquet to a recently engaged friend or soon-to-be bride as a little good luck charm and passing of the bridal torch. Another great option that gets a large number of guests involved is the anniversary dance. Have all of the married couples hit the dance floor where the DJ will call out various years from one year, to five years, to fifty years, with couples sitting down as their number of years married is called out. The couple who has been married the longest will be the last duo standing, making them a sweet recipient of your toss bouquet. Of course, if none of those fit the bill, the bouquet toss can be skipped all together. Since the bouquet toss typically follows all of the other important dances it's an easy part to opt out of without many people even noticing it's gone.

From its19th century England roots to modern weddings across the globe, the bouquet toss has certainly cemented itself as a timeless part of wedding history. For modern couples whether or not to toss the bouquet is less about wedding day supersitions and instead is completely up to the couple and their personal preferences. When it comes to opting in or out of a wedding day tradition it's always important to remember that it's your day and it can be completely customized to your preferences and whether you choose to toss or not, the day will be perfect.

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