One of the things about starting your wedding planning journey means that you’re also entering a world that is entirely unknown to you. You will come across terms and concepts that you had no idea even existed, and sometimes your vendors will ask you questions about things that just sound like complete gibberish.
Well friends, don’t fret, because we have put together a little wedding planning dictionary, listing out common wedding words and terms that will likely come up throughout your wedding planning. Read on, and if you have any questions or even something that you’d like added, please comment at the end of the page!
Boutonniere – A Boutonniere is typically worn by the important Men in the Bride & Groom’s family as well as the Groom and his Wedding Party. It is designed using one single bloom/flower or a small cluster of greenery and blooms. Traditionally worn on the lapel of a jacket. If the Groom & Groomsmen are not wearing jackets, don’t get boutonnieres.
Ceremony – The Ceremony is the “main event” for a Wedding. It is the time when the marriage becomes legal with the words spoken by the Officiant or Celebrant.
Charger – Or, Charger Plate. It is placed on the table first or under the dinner plate, depending on if you are having a Buffet meal or Plated meal. It is usually an additional decor detail that really enhances the tablescape, but does not hold any other function other than being pretty.
Corsage – A Corsage is typically worn by the important Women in the Bride & Groom’s family. It can be attached to a bracelet and worn on the wrist or wired to be pinned on to a blouse or dress.
Escort Cards – These cards serve the purpose of “escorting” guests to their assigned table at the reception. They should be arranged in alphabetical order, and have the name of the guest and the table number they are to be seated at.
GOBO – A laser cut piece of acrylic or metal that is then placed on a spot light to show off a Monogram or Pattern during the Reception on the dance floor or projected onto the walls.
Groom’s Cake – This is typically an additional cake, created using the Groom’s favorite flavor cake, their hobby, sports team, inside joke, etc. Many Brides want the Grooms Cake at the Wedding Reception but do not realize how much cake that actually means there will be. A good option would be to have the Grooms Cake as dessert after the Rehearsal Dinner
First Look – The First Look takes place before the Ceremony where the Bride and Groom are staged to see each other for the first time. This is usually done in private with just the photographers. It allows you to get all the Couple + Wedding Party Pictures done before the Ceremony so that during the Cocktail Hour, your Wedding Party will be able to enjoy it and the Couple may enjoy the tail-end of Cocktail Hour as well!
First Touch – Similar to the First Look, the First Touch is where the Couple is staged where they WILL NOT see each other before the wedding, rather just touch hands. The growing popularity of this allows the Bride & Groom to talk to each other, pray, or just get out their little nerves before they walk down the aisle.
Head Table – A Head Table is most commonly used for the Bride & Groom to sit with the Wedding Party, but can also be used for the Bride & Groom to sit with their family members. There is no “rule” saying that the Bride and Groom MUST sit with their Wedding Party. Keep in mind, they may bring a date and would want to sit with them during the Reception.
Place Cards – Place cards are meant to indicate to a guest the exact place at the table where they are to be seated. Place cards typically just have the guest’s name on them.
Table Number – A table number is necessary if having assigned seating, which we highly recommend. Table numbers should be displayed prominently on a table, facing the direction that guests will be entering the reception area. In lieu of numbers and for a bit of a twist, table names can also be used.
Tea Light – A tiny half inch candle that is easily blown out and burns out in four hours or less. They are pointless candles and are no substitute for the larger votive candles.
Toss Bouquet – The Toss Bouquet is a smaller version of the Bride’s bouquet (or sometimes a Bridesmaids Bouquet) that is used to “toss” during the time in the reception that all the single ladies are asked to come on the dance floor and the Bride tosses the bouquet to them blindly with the hopes that whoever catches the bouquet is the next to get married. This tradition is becoming one that is often left out of the Reception timeline due to Bride’s not having many single friends or friends that want to be outed as being single. No one wants to see a Bride standing on the dance floor begging her friends to the dance floor. It is a waste of 15 minutes that would be better used dancing to “Uptown Funk”. (in my opinion)
Uplighting – Uplighting can either be provided by your Music Entertainment team or by an Event Design Company. They will discuss a “Color Wash” design with you to transform your Reception space to take on a different ambiance for the night.
Venue Coordinator – This person will typically book your wedding, help you create your menu, and make sure that the back of the house runs smoothly during your reception.
Vendor Meal – A meal that each vendor present at your Reception. Many times this is a “box lunch” that is glamorized by venues to the Brides as a quick and easy option to offer their vendors. In reality, it is a cold deli meat sandwich, a bag of chips, and a pickle. Ask what the box lunch is and confirm with your Vendors contract if they need a hot meal. Keep in mind they have been working for at least 6 hours when it becomes “dinner time” and a hot meal will give them that little boost of energy to finish the night strong!
Votive – A small 2inch candle that will burn between 9-12 hours. When purchasing candles for your wedding, make sure that they are already in a holder!
Reception – The Reception takes place after the Ceremony. This is where your guests will enjoy cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing. It is typically 4-5 hours long.
Rehearsal – Sometimes referred to as the “Ceremony Rehearsal” takes place in the day(s) prior to the Wedding Day to rehearse how the Wedding Party will walk down the aisle, in pairs or single file, and stand at the front of the alter. This is most useful for the Wedding Party, because they will be the most concerned on how to stand, where to stand, and when to walk. Tell your Family and Wedding Party to arrive 30 minutes early to the Rehearsal, because everyone is always late and want to spend the first 15-20 minutes talking and catching up.
Rehearsal Dinner – The Dinner that comes post the Ceremony Rehearsal. Traditionally, this was for your family, wedding party, and all out of town guests. With many weddings being in locations that are destinations or families flying in to where “the couple/bride/groom grew up” you will find that your entire guest list could be considered an “out of town guest”. Keeping that in mind, invite just the family and wedding party to the Rehearsal Dinner to not make the night before another “wedding”.
Sweetheart Table – A Table that is designated for the Bride & Groom to share by themselves during the Reception. This allows the couple to have a moment to spend with each other and eat without (much) disruption
Wedding Cake – The tradition of cutting the Cake during the Reception is with the Wedding Cake. Sometimes referred to as the “Brides Cake” but is most commonly known as a Wedding Cake. Trends do seem to come and go with regards to the Wedding Cake, from keeping it all white, adding color, or opting for a dessert display of mini treats and a small cake for the Bride and Groom to cut.
Send-off – Sometimes referred to as the “Farewell”. This event creates a special moment for the Couple to be “Sent off” onto their Wedding Night after the Reception is over. It can be done as simply as a big group dance on the dance floor with the Bride and Groom in the center, rose petal toss, bubbles, or streamers.