Have you started wedding planning and find that your head is spinning with all kinds of terms that youve never heard before? Wouldnt it be nice to have a little dictionary dedicated to all things wedding?! Weve made a list of some of the most common wedding terms that you need to know as you venture into the world of wedding planning!
General Wedding Terms
Wedding Registry: a list of gifts that you would like to receive from guests. Most large box stores, and even small businesses, can set up an online registry. The couple chooses items to add to the registry and then guests can choose what to buy from those items.
Rehearsal: typically takes place the night before the wedding and is an opportunity to run through the order of events for the wedding ceremony. This gives the officiant, bride, groom, groomsmen, and bridesmaids a chance to know how to enter the ceremony, where to stand, and how to exit.
Rehearsal Dinner: takes place after the rehearsal and is typically hosted by the grooms parents. All members of the rehearsal are invited, and occaionally additional close family and/or friends are invited to join even if they are not part of the wedding ceremony.
Ceremony: This is when you say I do! Ceremonies can last a few minutes to over an hour. They frequently take place in a church, outside, or in the reception venue.
Processional: how the officiant, groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and bride enter the ceremony space.
Recessional: how the officiant, groom & bride, groomsmen, and bridesmaids exit the ceremony space.
The Declaration: the moment when the officiant of the wedding says I now pronounce you husband and wife. Tip: have someone look at the time when the officiant makes this annoucement so you know exactly what time of day you were married!
Marriage License: a VERY important piece of paper that you must obtain prior to the wedding day at the courthouse. Be sure to bring this documentation with you to the wedding too! The officiant and witnesses will need to sign it for everything to be official!
Cocktail hour: This is the time between the ceremony and the reception. The bride and groom (and family) may take photos during this time while the rest of the guests sip drinks and enjoy hors doeuvres (small finger foods).
Reception: This is where the party takes place! After you have said I do and have all the formal photos taken, you will head to the reception. This is where the dinner, dancing, and other wedding celebrations (i.e., cake cutting, toasts) take place.
Venue: The word venue referrers to the place where the ceremony and/or reception will take place. You might hear what kind of venue are you looking for, or weve chosen our wedding venue to be at the conference center downtown.
Officiant: The person responsible for marrying the bride and groom. The officiant must be ordained (certified) in the state where the wedding is taking place.
Wedding Planner: A person responsible for coordinating every detail of the wedding day from the planning process beforehand to the clean up after the wedding.
Day-of Wedding Coordinator: A person responsible for coordinating the wedding day. A day-of wedding coordinator will leave the planning up to the couple but will be there on the wedding day to tell the wedding vendors where to set up. This person will also handle any emergencies that may arise during the wedding day (e.g., the cake is melting, stain on the wedding dress).
Wedding Vendors: all the individuals that specialize in different details about the wedding. Wedding vendors include florists (flowers), bakers (cake), videographers (video), photographers (photos), seamstresses (alterations), officiants, etc.
Wedding Party: close friends and/or family members that are with you throughout the wedding day. This includes bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, ushers, parents.
Ushers: people designated to help seat guests at the ceremony. Typically, ushers are 2 gentlemen that guide guests to their seats. These men are frequently dressed in the same attaire as the groomsmen.
Attendants: 1-2 people that are designated to stand by the guest book and encourage guests to sign in as they arrive for the ceremony or reception. The attendant may also pass out the wedding programs at the ceremony.
Save the Dates: postcard-size announcements that are sent to guests once a wedding date is set in stone. Save the dates are sent out prior to formal invitations. Anyone that receives a save the date should also receive a formal invitation.
Wedding Stationery: a general term for all the paper products you need for invitations, thank you notes, and save the dates.
RSVP: RSVP stands for répondez s'il Vous plaît and is simply asking your guests to respond on if they plan to attend the wedding or not. The RSVP is typically a small card included in the formal invitation. Be prepared that you might have to hunt these downpeople arent great at sending them back and you will need them to get a headcount of how many guests will attend. You can entice people to send them back by placing something fun on there like having them provide song requests!
Wedding Terms Related to Attire
Train: refers to the long portion of a wedding dress that trails behind the bride.
Bustle: a bustle is a small hook and loop system that is attached to the back of the wedding gown. It is used to pull a long train up off the ground for dancing at the reception.
Seamstress/Alterations: A seamstress is a person responsible for tailoring the wedding attire to the bride, groom, or bridesmaid. A seamstress specializes in sewing. Alterations refer to any changes that need to be made to the wedding attire (e.g., taking it in, adding a bustle, letting it out, adding lace, etc.).
Tuxedo vs. Suit: a tuxedo will have satin on the lapels of the jacket. The lapels are the folded parts of the fabric that outline the neckline and travel down the front of the jacket. A suit does not have satin on the lapels.
Cufflinks: small, metal clips that hold the sleeve of a dress shirt together at the wrist. These are typically included in a tuxedo or suit rental.
Vest: a vest is worn between the dress shirt and a jacket. If there is a color to the ensemble, it is typically the vest that is colored.
Pocket Square: a small swatch of fabric that is carefully folded and placed in the front pocket of a tuxedo or suit.
Casual Attire: jeans and a nice shirt; something that you would wear to a family dinner.
Semiformal Attire: Dress pants and a dress shirt with a tie. Dresses. Something that you would wear to a nice dinner or a fancy date.
Formal Attire: Suit with a jacket. Long dresses or cocktail dresses.
Black Tie: a tuxedo. A formal, floor-length gown.
Head Table: the table where the bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen sit. The head table is typically at the front of the reception venue, and the seats are typically all placed on one side so that wedding guests can approach the table and talk to the bride and groom.
Sweetheart Table: Instead of a large head table, the bride and groom sit at their own small table; just the two of them.
Charger: A decorative plate that goes under the dining plate. Often adds a pop of color to the tables prior to dinner being served.
Centerpiece: the main decoration at the center of the tables at the reception. Some couples choose to have all the centerpieces the same whereas others choose to have variations in the centerpieces. Think about how the height and shape of the centerpiece may impact how people can see each other from across the table.
Signature Cocktail: the bride and groom may choose to each pick out their favorite drink and call it the signature cocktail, or they might create a drink together to serve as the signature cocktail. Typically the bride and groom come up with a catchy name for the cocktail, and it is commonly complementary even if there is a cash bar.
Enjoy reading our blog? Fill out the form below to be notified when a new blog post goes live!