KS is a 56 year old father of five who grew up in and resides in Southern Maryland. He has been married for twenty years and has been to many weddings throughout his life.
Context: KS experienced this practical joke at a wedding of a good friend of his.
KS: You know the reception tradition of the groom going under the brides dress to take off her garter? Before it was time for my friend to take off his wife’s garter, he hid a pair of XXL bloomers in his pants pocket. When he went to take off the garter, he came out from under her dress with the bloomers instead of the garter. Everyone had a good laugh, the bride included. He went back though and took off the actual garter.
Collector: What do you think made him make that joke?
KS: Hmm. I think he wanted to take the pressure off of taking the garter off in front of his family, especially his parents. It can be hard to do things like that in front of them; I know some people who did not even like the idea of kissing their wife in front of the older folk. It definitely helped bond the families too. A good laugh can always do that.
Analysis: The tradition of the groom taking off the bride’s garter is similar to the bride throwing the bouquet to the bridesmaids. The way the groom throws the garter to the groomsmen is parallel to the bridesmaids catching the bouquet. It is seen mostly in American weddings. Originally, a piece of the bride’s dress was taken and thrown to all the guests for good luck.
For a variation of this practical joke/good luck charm and other similar wedding traditions, see:
Reade, Scarlett. “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something, Blue.” USC Digital Folklore Archives, May 18, 2021. http://folklore.usc.edu/something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue-2/.