I've been to a lot of weddings, and one of the fun traditions is the throwing of the bouquet and garter belt. When I was single I liked catching the belt, so I figured out how to catch it just about every time. I'll share this secret with you. I would also like to note that there is advice on the web already about how to catch the bouquet, all of it terrible. This is the only thing you will ever need to read on the subject.
The video embedded below shows how this kind of thing typically plays out. (It's not necessary to watch it).
The bride gets on the floor and the single ladies get about 10 to 15 feet behind her, all clumped up in a group. Why? It's probably a combination of their not wanting to look conspicuous and because that's where they all think the bouquet will land. On the latter point, they are completely wrong.
What happens next is that the bride throws the bouquet. She throws it more up than back, I think because she thinks that the bouquet getting some air is going to look good. Unfortunately it ends up landing about five feet behind her. It either lands on the ground (I've seen this over and over) and somebody rushes forward to pick it up (doesn't look so good on the video) or the people in front end up charging forward to catch it (not dainty). People in the back of the little crowd never get it.
So if you're throwing it, resist the temptation to throw straight up. Throw back, as hard as you can. Fortunately, people don't get much practice doing this. But if you're at someone's fourth wedding, they have no excuse not to throw the bouquet properly. If they still manage to throw it improperly, after all that practice, you have my permission to tell them to get it right the next time they get married.
The other thing to keep in mind here is that twelve-year-old girls consider themselves to be single ladies. But they are shorter than the women, so they stand in front of them so they can see. As a result, it is often the case that a very young girl is out in front and ends up with the bouquet. This is fun for her, perhaps, but it means that you probably should forgo the next ritual, in which the guy who catches the garter slides it seductively onto the leg of the female who caught the bouquet, while the DJ plays Sexual Healing or something. This happened in our wedding.
Wedding guest: Is he going to put the garter on her?
Vanessa: No, because she's twelve.
The same throwing effect happens with guys throwing the garter. If anything, the effect is exacerbated by the fact that throwing a garter any distance at all is just about impossible. Too much drag, man.
How To Catch the Garter/Bouquet Every Time
I would stand halfway between the groom and the rest of the guys. There would be about ten guys standing 15 feet away from the groom, and me, standing alone, about seven feet away from the groom.
Yes, it looked weird. I imagine people were thinking that ten guys can't be wrong-- the garter has got to go farther than that.
No, no it won't. Pay attention. The garter goes straight up, and lands right in my hands. Those other single guys never had a chance, poor bastards. Outwitted by Dr. Davies.
I would do this every time I wanted to catch the garter, which wasn't every wedding, because, well...
Did I mention that often a twelve-year-old girl catches the bouquet?
Pictured: A bouquet toss. From Wikimedia Commons. Note the densely-packed cluster of single women.