It happens at almost every wedding, usually after dinner, as the guests are getting antsy. The DJ starts playing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” the bride stands in the middle of the dance floor, and a crowd of ladies forms at her back. That’s right, it’s time for the bouquet toss!

This tradition has been part of wedding receptions for centuries, but have you ever asked why we do this? Today, let’s take a look at the history and meaning behind tossing the bouquet.

When Did We Start?

The bouquet toss tradition comes to us from medieval Europe. In those days, it was considered good luck to touch the bride on her wedding day. It was even better luck to snag a memento, like a scrap of fabric from her dress.

This belief lead to some uncomfortable encounters for the newlywed lady. Single female guests would often tear pieces off a bride’s dress during the feast, leaving her in tatters by the evening’s end. Over the years, savvy brides began throwing their bouquet into the crowd. This was a suitable memento (as flowers also symbolized fertility in those days) and it helped the bride keep her clothes on!

What Does It Mean?

In medieval times, wedding guests believed that taking home the bride’s bouquet would bring love and fertility into their own lives. These days, we know that the flowers can’t really impact our love lives, but the meaning behind the bouquet toss is largely unchanged. According to our modern tradition, the woman who catches the bride’s bouquet will be the next to walk down the aisle.

Should I Toss My Bouquet?

Some brides don’t want to part with their bouquets on their big day. Well, you’re in luck! There are a few options you can use to hold on to your bouquet. Ask your florist to make you an extra “tossing bouquet” you can give to your guests. Or, if you’d rather keep your bouquet as a souvenir of your special day, just don’t toss the bouquet at all!

The bouquet toss is a fun, cute way for a couple to “share the love” with their friends and family, but is it a wedding-day necessity? Of course not! If you want to do it, go for it; if you don’t want to, leave it out. After all, it’s your wedding, so make sure you celebrate your way.

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