14 Bouquet and Garter Toss Alternatives That Aren’t Cringe-Worthy

You don’t have to do every tradition.
Bride with wedding bouquet
Photo: Getty Images,Design: Natalie Romine
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Apr 22, 2024

Yes, there are a handful of wedding rules you can't break, but that doesn't mean you have to do every tradition. So, if you're not into chucking a bouquet or garter into a sea of single guests, don't be scared to look for bouquet and garter toss alternatives. Many couples are throwing away the rule book for wedding traditions (or at least putting their own twist on the classics) to make their day as personalized as possible. For example, according to The Knot 2023 Real Wedding Study, only 31% of newlyweds did the bouquet toss––a 13% decline since 2019. Whether the activities make you uncomfortable or you'd rather spend more time on the dance floor, we rounded up the best options for your reception. Use our creative list of bouquet and garter toss alternatives, and we promise your guests won't even care about the originals.

In this article:

Garter Toss Alternatives

Wondering how you can make the garter toss not awkward? Here are six alternative garter tosses so you and your loved ones feel more comfortable during the reception.

Garter Toss Only

This shouldn't be a hot take, but the wedding tradition of fishing for a garter under the bride's dress shouldn't be seen or done in public. You should definitely leave that for the honeymoon––sorry, not sorry. We suggest abbreviating this custom so you can keep its essence without feeling embarrassed. Buy a garter, skip the part where someone has to wear it and toss it to your select group of loved ones.

Wedding Favor Toss

Instead of tossing a garter during your reception, consider throwing wedding favors to all your guests on the dance floor. Of course, you and your partner should only do this if you have nonfragile favors. Consider lobbing something soft like handmade knitted scarves to your single and committed guests.

Limbo

Limbo at wedding reception
Photo: Keira Hand Photography

If you're searching for funny alternatives to the garter toss, look no further. Instead of separating the single guests by gender, have a limbo competition with everyone. Whoever can successfully stay upright at the limbo pole's lowest height wins. This would be the perfect time to give the winner a prize such as a gift card, candle or custom cup.

Alcohol Toss

Alcohol toss at wedding reception
Photo: Caitlin Alohilani Photography

One of the most unique alternatives to the garter toss is using alcohol. No, that doesn't mean we're suggesting you hurl a large bottle of tequila behind you. Incorporate this idea by throwing a box, without the alcohol in it, of your preferred alcohol. It can be the box that a top-shelf liquor or wine bottle came in or a decorated container with you and your partner's name and wedding date on it. Anyone, single or not, will want to join this twist on the tradition. Also, it might get a little wild, so ensure you have plenty of space for the event.

Find your kind of venue

From barns to ballrooms, discover reception venues that feel like you.

Charity Toss

If giving to charity is a top priority for you and your partner, do a charity toss. Get an item representing the charity of your choice––think a stuffed animal for an animal conservation foundation or a plush baby doll for a children in need fund. Then, gently toss the item behind you so you can put your donation under the name of whoever catches it. Don't forget to explain the charity's mission before doing the toss so everyone can fully appreciate the moment.

T-Shirt Toss

For those who've been to a sporting event, the t-shirt cannon is one of the best parts of the outing––because who doesn't love free merch? Make a custom shirt for the event with your wedding date and your and your partner's names on the front, or maybe even write "I Fought Over This T-Shirt at [Your Names]'s Wedding" on it. We consider this a feminist alternative to the garter toss since brides don't have to take something off their bodies. Instead, a guest can put something on theirs. T-shirt cannons can be a little expensive and intense so another option for this idea is to buy a heavy-duty t-shirt launcher or slingshot. Do this alternative outside so you can have plenty of room (also, please don't do this backward).

Bouquet Toss Alternatives

There's a way you can have a fun, nontraditional wedding bouquet toss. Check out these eight toss bouquet alternatives before you set your reception schedule.

Anniversary Dance

Opt for an anniversary dance where the emcee calls all the married couples to join the newlyweds on the dance floor according to how long they've been together. Ask your live band or wedding DJ to play music during. Once the couple(s) who've been married the longest are left on the dance floor, present your flowers to them to honor their relationship.

Bouquet Presentation

Bouquet presentation at wedding
Photo: Studio Zwerveling
,
Florist: Flowers Ever After

Show appreciation for a loved one who's helped you during your wedding journey. Hand your bouquet to a special friend or relative, or split your buds into smaller bouquets to hand to a few beloved wedding guests. Remember to say some thoughtful words to the person or people you're presenting them to.

Breakaway Bouquet Toss

Want an equivalent to the bouquet toss? Throw the bouquet to all your single guests (or whoever wants to participate). A breakaway bouquet comprises 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 pretty pieces for the group.

Pass the Torch

For those looking for another toss option, try offering your bouquet or a few flowers to an engaged couple(s). This a chance for the new to-be-weds to get a little spotlight. Plus, this act can be a way to bring them luck and wish them congratulations.

Coed Bouquet Toss

Even though it's tradition for a group of single women to stand behind the bride while she throws the bouquet, that doesn't mean you have to do the same. It's your wedding so feel free to make it a coed affair for the bouquet toss.

Locked Bouquet

Locked bouquet at wedding
Photo: Tiffany Lee Photography

We've seen this trending on social media and it's one of the most unique alternatives to bouquet toss. Buy a clear container big enough to keep your bouquet (or a prop one) and lock the container with a padlock. Hand out one identical-looking key per person participating (with only one being able to unlock the box). Each guest will take a turn trying to open the container until someone can retrieve the bouquet. Consider playing the "Mission Impossible" theme song during this to make the scene more intense and fun.

Bouquet Ribbon Cut

Another choice for those who don't want to throw their bouquet is doing a bouquet ribbon cut. Incorporate this alternative by attaching multiple long ribbons to the bouquet's stems. Next, hand each ribbon to the people joining the experience and hold the bouquet over your head. Each guest will walk slowly around you in a circle, while in your other hand, you'll use scissors to cut the ribbons one or two at a time with your eyes closed. The lucky person with the final ribbon receives the arrangement.

Nix It Altogether

Trust us when we say this: No one will miss the garter or bouquet toss if you skip them. Who wants to stop the dance party midway through your awesome reception playlist anyway? Plus, today's couples are forgoing these two customs more than popular ones like cutting the cake and the first dance. If something doesn't feel like you, there's no reason you should include it.

Up Next
  • classic wedding centerpiece with white flowers, greenery and white taper candles
    Who Traditionally Pays for the Wedding Flowers?