It is cheesey BECAUSE in recent time it has become waaaay too sexual… it never was meant to be that “in your face”… it was meant to be at bit of “cheeky fun” and certainly was that way up into some point in the 1980s
Here then I copy & paste a recent reply I did on this topic for another Bee…
So YES it can be done in a far more dignified manner…
== snip ==
I had the Garter Toss at my first Wedding… and to be honest it was a “cheeky bit of fun”… sort of a *wink* to the fact as a couple we were now LEGAL to have sex (altho to be perfectly honest back in the era after the sexual revolution of the 1960s most of us were doing that pre-marriage anyhow)
Back then, the Garter Toss for the most part a tasteful tradition. Some one brought out a chair, the Bride put her foot up on the seat, hiked up her skirt… revealed the Garter (to which there were some oooohs and aaaahs) and then the Groom took it off and tossed it to the Single Men much like she tossed the Bouquet to the Single Women.
Somewhere… in the timeframe after my 1980 Wedding things got a lot more sexual. With the Bride seated on the chair, the Groom up under the folds of her dress searching out the Garter (innuendo here being Oral Sex) and then coming out with the Garter in his teeth, before the ceremonial toss.
Ick. Talk about awkward, embarrassing etc.
— — —
THE GARTER TOSS
As I described in my first reply (# 38 above) used to be a far more tasteful undertaking… where a lady put her leg up on a chair, and usually slowly hiked up her skirts (in such a way as to show JUST THE LEG)… until she got to where the garter was located. The garter could be placed wherever the Bride felt most comfortable… ankle, knee, or further up her thigh. This was all done in good fun… and back in the 1980s when I was married the first time… the back ground music playing was often the “stripper” tune… a song who’s beat went well with a gal inching the skirt slowly higher and higher… there were lots of laughs… and THE WOMAN was totally in control of this event.
I believed at the time… (and still do) that this whole bit of “cheeky fun”… had its roots in the history and empowerment of the woman… in that a woman made a DECISION on when she was sexual… and WHO she chose to share that sexuality with (how this ever got all turned around in today’s world… is beyond me)
The idea of the garter, I also believed harkened back to two distinct times in history… the Saloon Girls of days of old (ya ok we all know that many were a lot more than just dance girls)… BUT they were women who often made a choice to use their sexuality, vs having men act as pimps…
For more info on the History of Saloon Girls in the Yukonsee this article and the section on Dance Hall Women = http://www.whitepinepictures.com/seeds/ii/14/sidebar.html
The women of the American West and the Canadian Klondike were STRONG Characters… who were going against the tide of the Victorian era. They were independent, and knew that sex sells. Even if they weren’t having sex with the men of the Gold Rush… they certainly knew that being “cheeky” and flashing a bit of leg would go a long way to them making more tips / money.
I see a lot of similarities between the styles of Wedding Dresses and the gowns worn in the Victorian Era (a time when flashing an ankle by a lady was considered improper) … and I’ve always believed that the idea of flashing the garter therefore tied directly back to this era.
PHOTO # 1 – Dance Hall Girls (this is a modern pic… but does convey clearly the idea I’m presenting). Women of the Victorian Era pushing the boundaries.
PHOTO # 2 – How I revealed my garter back in the 1980s (except I had my leg up on a chair)… and how a Modern Woman today might do the same tastefully
Garters tie in a lot to women’s sexuality… and her control of it IMO. The 1920s when women wore shorter dresses… and a garter might be glimpsed… or the 1940s when a woman wore garters to keep up her nylons… these were all empowering times for women as well… and a turn in women’s sexuality.
Here then a link to an article on how to tastefully reveal one’s Garter at a Wedding and also a pic and a bit of a story on a time when women knew the power of flashing “a bit” of leg… http://garterglitz.com/garter-toss/
Where things got more “sexual” to me at least is when somehow the tradition went from a Woman / Bride standing (and thereby being in control of the situation) to sitting and having a Man / Groom up skirts. And yes I see that element of the Garter Tradition as “tacky”… but unfortunately when one says Garter Toss… this is the only way that Brides know of this being done
Hope this helps,