The Garter Toss Is Inappropriate

Things are starting to slow down, and I’m hoping to get back to a near-regular schedule. Since I continue to see engagement photos popping up online, I figured I would get back to criticizing beloved wedding traditions.

I know for some the garter toss is something that adds a little fun and lightheartedness to a wedding. I, personally, am not a fan. I’ve written several times now about my views on modesty. And, several times I’ve been thought a prude. I care not.

To start, let’s first look at this history of it. There was a time when a wedding ceremony was meant to take place immediately before a marriage was consummated. After which, the groom would present his wife’s garter to family and friends waiting outside their room as proof that good times were had. Also, during the medieval period, people would try to tear off part of a brides dress for good luck, the garter being easily removeable was used to deter the crowd. As I would hope you can see, this tradition is somewhat awkward.

Today, the meaning of the garter has changed, thankfully. Now it is just something fun for people to take part in along with the bouquet toss. Of the weddings I’ve attended, I only remember one toss taking place. What stood out to me the most was how uncomfortable the groom looked, which we’ll delve into later.

In researching this post, I came across many articles about suggestions for how to incorporate the garter toss into your wedding. One that stood out to me had a list of songs to play during it. All of them had heavy sexual implications, at the top of the list were ‘I’ll make love to you’, ‘Sexual healing’, and ‘Let’s get it on.’ I winced thinking about the weddings these would be played at.

Let’s review some scripture;

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

If you’re a bible thumper as I, you know that lust, sexual immorality, and indecency are frowned upon. This is where my issue with the modern day garter toss comes in. I see it as inappropriate, and embarrassing for many, such as the groom previously mentioned.

It would seem to the Christian mind, at least my own, this is something that one would want to avoid. I don’t see how you can be wed in a church. Then, at the post ceremony celebration be surrounded by your family and closest friends; having a Dj play ‘Let’s get it on’ by Marvin Gaye while a man sticks his hands up your dress and removes a piece of what is effectively your underwear, to then throw at a group of single men.

I don’t see that as decent behavior. The fact that everyone, especially those within the church, see it as a joke speaks volumes to the state of the society we live; and to the state that society has affected the church. If you’re of the secular world then it doesn’t really matter. (My rant about secular couples “finding a church to get married in” will be saved for another day.) But, for the Christian couple, I wish we could move back to a reverence for God that seems long lost. It’s understandable to want to celebrate being married, but we shouldn’t forget who instituted marriage in the first place. Nor who it is that bonds husbands and wives together. If we truly placed Christ at the center of our unions, would the world prevail against us? As it is written, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. If we fled from what is evil and pursued good, would evil continue to permeate every institution we hold dear?

Some will argue that the garter toss isn’t a big deal. But, every time someone tries to justify ill behavior, all I can think of is the serpent saying ‘Did God really say…’ One of the biggest problems I see with the church today is that we let too much slide. ‘No big deal.’ ‘Keep up with the times.’ ‘Modernize.’ ‘You’re too old fashioned.’ Even if all of the issues people overlook are small (they aren’t), the small things add up. It may start with being a little naughty at your wedding, but where does it end? If we continue to ignore the core principles we live by, who are we? Are we Christians in name alone? If at the wedding of Cana the groom had reached up his wife dress and thrown her underwear in the face of Jesus, do you think He would have approved? Why would you want to do that today?

There are a tragic number of believers living contrary to the word today. More so, there are a growing number of churches preaching contrary to the word. At what point do we hold ourselves and others accountable for our transgressions? At what point do we stop looking the other way? I’ve heard too often, even from people who stand at the pulpit on Sunday, ‘I don’t want to fight that fight’, ‘I’m not comfortable talking about that’, ‘I’m hoping someone else does it.’

I would say that it’s time for the body of Christ to grow a backbone and start having some uncomfortable conversations.

“And concerning you, my brothers and sisters, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14

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