Knowing the correct wedding terminology can help you plan your wedding better. It also helps you understand exactly what your wedding coordinator means and will make you more involved in the wedding preparations.
You need to know different wedding terms in categories like engagement, wedding planning, wedding party, wardrobe, flowers, events, and ceremony.
Complete Directory of Wedding Terms & Words
Engagement Wedding Terms
A promise ring symbolizes commitment between two people. It’s often given before an engagement ring to signify that a couple is in a serious relationship.
This is a gift-giving party held for the bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The origin traces back to the idea of dowry when the woman’s family wasn’t wealthy enough to provide a dowry or when the father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage.
These are the photos that document the couple’s engagement. Engagement photo shoots are often creative and used to narrate the couple’s love story. For example, the engagement photos can showcase them in their work outfits to tell the story of their careers. Another example is an outdoor photoshoot to show their love of adventure and mother nature.
The American English language doesn’t have gendered terms, but the French origins do. The fiancée refers to the woman who is engaged, while the fiancé is the man to whom she is engaged with.
A wedding registry is a service offered by stores or organizations where couples list their gift preferences. The list can be used by their friends and family so that the guests will know exactly what to get them for their wedding day. It also eliminates guesswork so that there won’t be duplicate gifts.
This is a practical gift guide because the items listed are things that the couples want and will use. These items usually include home goods, kitchenware, furniture, and other items that can be used to furnish the newlyweds’ home. Most couples pick two to four stores to house their registry.
This is a relatively new development in the world of weddings. It’s a customized hashtag that couples use to send online updates to their guests. The guests can also use the hashtag to tag their social media posts so that the couple can easily view these posts.
This is a website for the couple’s wedding and usually narrates the couple’s love story. It contains updates, photos, videos, and more. It’s a convenient way to communicate with guests. It’s also like a digital photo gallery to house their memories for the years to come.
Wedding invitations are a formal request to attend a wedding. They traditionally include the date, time, and location of the wedding. Modern wedding invitations can also include information about the reception, RSVP cards, and other pertinent details.
An abbreviation for the French phrase “répondez s’il vous plaît”, meaning “please respond”. In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning “Please respond”.
A mood board is a compilation of inspiration photos that helps the couple visually communicate with their planner. It helps you express your wedding inspiration and style. The board usually contains color palettes, themes, fabric, textures, and other items that may trigger inspiration. You can use the board to direct your entire wedding and to serve as a guideline for the wedding planner and vendors so that they can customize their services to cultivate your dream wedding.
A color palette is important for every wedding. It creates a cohesive theme and it’s usually a range of colors that complement each other. You can start by picking a single color and then work your way through by adding complementary colors. For example, if you want a warm, fall-themed wedding, your color palette may consist of tones like burnt sienna, burgundy, and red. If you want a beach wedding, guests may wear shades of khaki and other lighter colors.
This is a list of all the things you need to do in the entire wedding process, which you can create with your wedding planner. It helps you stay on track and prevents you from forgetting anything important.
This is a list of photos you want your photographer or videographer to take. Think of all the important things you want to be captured at your wedding. Some of the basic things in the shot list include a family photo, a photo of you cutting the wedding cake, first dance as a couple, etc.
This refers to the different wedding packages that coordinators offer to couples. This includes securing the marriage license, scheduling, vendor management, tracking RSVPs from guests, etc.
This is the representative of wedding planners who oversee various aspects of the wedding. He is the one who is in contact with the different vendors. He also serves as the liaison for the couple. He’s very involved in the wedding planning as well as during the wedding day itself.
This is a Plan B in case of rain. This backup plan is important for outdoor wedding ceremonies or outdoor receptions. The plan may consist of changing the venue or simply putting up tents, depending on the severity of the rain.
This is when a venue is completely transformed into something else. For example, the wedding ceremony venue can be flipped into a reception venue by rearranging the chairs, adding tables, and changing the decor. You can send out the guests for cocktail hour and then have them come back for the next part of the wedding. Doing this is cheaper because you don’t have to spend more on different venues. It’s more convenient as well since your guests won’t have to travel from one venue to another.
This is an appointment that the coordinator makes with the venue coordinator. It’s when the couple visits and walks through the venue to ask questions, take pictures and just envision how the event would look like on an actual day.
This is the point person at the venue. He is assigned to book the wedding venue, finalize the catering, and put up the venue decorations. He also ensures that the wedding venue is perfect for the event.
This is a term commonly used by photographers and videographers. This is during the sunset when the sun emits a soft and golden glow that results in gorgeous photos. This window is a good time for outdoor wedding photos. Therefore, coordinate with the photographer and videographer to ensure that the timing is right so that you can take photos during this hour.
This is the exact time during which the wedding has to be over. The guests and wedding party must be off the premises at this time.
The wedding occurs in a scenic destination that’s located in a different country or state than where the couple lives. The wedding party has to be flown out and they all usually stay for the weekend or more.
Originally, an elopement wedding is when the couple runs away to get married in secret because their families may not approve of their union. Nowadays, it’s also known as a micro-wedding. It’s usually a destination wedding with a pared-down guest list. The wedding consists of only the couple and may allow a handful of guests.
This is a small wedding with only 75 guests or less. This wedding is low-key but not necessarily casual.
Wardrobe Wedding Terms
This is the dress code if the wedding starts after 6 PM. This is also the most formal dress code.
Black Tie Optional
This means that the formality of the attire is flexible. Men don’t have to wear tuxedos and may opt for suits. Women can pick any outfit from cocktail dresses to long gowns.
This is the ornamental needlework that is typically seen on wedding gowns. The applique is often made of glitter, beads, and lace. It adds elegance and sophistication to the wedding gown.
This is the thin, translucent fabric that goes over the head of the bride. It comes in different styles, from floor-length cathedral veils to short blusher veils. The fabric is usually tulle, lace brocade, chiffon, or silk.
This refers to the general shape of the wedding dress. The most common wedding dress silhouettes are A-line, fit-n-flare, sheath, ball gown, column, empire, midi, mermaid, and more.
This is the most formal evening dress code in Western high fashion. For men, it consists of a black dress tailcoat worn over a white starched shirt, marcella waistcoat and the eponymous white bow tie worn around a detachable collar. For women, an evening dress or other fashionable evening attire is usually worn.
Party Wedding Terms
This is the licensed or certified individual who handles the wedding ceremony and makes it official and legally binding. The officiant can be any religious figure, civil celebrant, or ordained person.
The best man is the principal groomsman. He has major roles to serve the groom and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the wedding day.
Maid Of Honor
This is the principal bridesmaid. The maid of honor is usually the sister or a close female friend of the bride.
This role is a traditional role that is usually filled by a young child. The child will carry the rings that are tied to a pillow down the aisle. Couples may also use their pets for this role. In modern weddings, this role is filled by the best man who carries the ring with him until the groom needs it during the ceremony.
The role of the flower girl is to throw flower petals as she walks down the aisle ahead of the maid of honor and after the bridesmaids. She scatters petals to prepare the aisle for the bride. Some modern weddings have included grandmothers and other male relatives and friends to partake in the role.
This is the list of people who are invited to the wedding. The wedding usher must have a copy of this to identify the seating arrangements and to know if there are wedding crashers who must be asked to leave the premises.
This is the seating arrangement during the ceremony and wedding reception. You can plan this with the wedding coordinator. During the ceremony, the guests are usually divided into two: the bride’s side and the groom’s side. They are seated accordingly, with the closest relatives and friends in the front rows. The seating arrangement during the reception can also be mixed.
This is not mandatory but it’s usually offered to guests who flew in from far places. The welcome bag is usually delivered to their hotel rooms and it contains convenient items that will make their stay comfortable. The bag may also contain local delicacies.
This is the practice of blocking off ten or more hotel rooms for out-of-town wedding guests. This is a good practice because it gets you exclusive discounts and it keeps all of your friends and family in one section of the hotel.
This is something that is sent before the actual wedding invitation to make the guests mark the wedding on their calendars. Some couples opt for a digital save-the-date that is sent or posted online.
This is the customized stationery that’s used by the couple to send thank you cards to the guests who sent gifts and attended the wedding.
These cards direct the guests to their seats at the reception. These are less formal than place cards. Place cards are used for more formal gatherings with served dinner options.
This refers to the flow of the wedding, from the ceremony to the reception. It lists the different events and the participants involved in each phase. The wedding program can be printed and distributed on the wedding day itself so that the guests will know what’s coming and who is involved.
Ushers are typically male members of the wedding party who seat guests at the ceremony. The ushers usually form part of the groom’s party.
Flower Wedding Terms
This is a single flower or bud that is pinned on the man’s lapel.
This is a small bunch of flowers that are typically worn on a woman’s wrist or pinned on her dress. The mothers, grandmothers, and other prominent females in the lives of the bride and groom usually wear a corsage.
This is the bridal bouquet. The flower arrangement is carried by the bride as she walks down the aisle. During the ceremony, the maid of honor will hold the bouquet for her. As per tradition, the bride throws the bouquet over her back and to the guests to determine who will get married next.
A garland is a chain of flowers or buds. These bands are looped through the venue to add some foliage.
This is a ball of flowers, typically used as wedding decorations for the venue.
As the name suggests, this is a wall filled with flowers. The flowers can be in the form of buds or garlands. It often serves as a photo booth background or to decorate the main altar for the ceremony.
Centerpieces are the main arrangement of flowers in the middle of the guest tables at the reception. They’re often made to match the wedding’s color theme and style. They can range from simple arrangements to elaborate designs, depending on the wedding’s overall decor.
A posy is a small round bouquet that is often given to the bridesmaids to carry during the wedding ceremony.
Parties and Events Wedding Terms
This celebrates the engagement of the bride to the groom. Families and friends gather to celebrate the upcoming union.
Bachelor And Bachelorette Party
These are celebrations of the bride and the groom to mark the end of their singlehood. They usually take place days to weeks before the wedding. The parties are often organized by the best man and maid of honor, respectively.
This is the dinner before the actual wedding day. It can also be modified into a rehearsal brunch, depending on the availability of the guests. Final wedding details and reminders are ironed out.
This is a party thrown for the bride-to-be, where the guests typically bring gifts that she will use in her new home. It’s usually hosted by the maid of honor or bridesmaids.
Wedding Ceremony Terms
A unity ceremony is a symbolic conclusion to your vows before exchanging the wedding rings. One of the most well-known ceremonies is the unity candle. Traditionally, the parents of the bride and groom light two individual candles for their families. The bride and groom will then use these two flames to light one larger candle, representing the bringing together of two families.
Wedding vows are promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Wedding vows are a crucial part of most wedding ceremonies, and their words often express the couple’s love, promises, and commitment to each other. They can be traditional, modern, or customized to suit the couple’s unique personality and relationship.
This is the private moment where the bride and groom have a “first look” at each other right before the wedding starts. Traditionally, the bride sleeps in a different room the night before the wedding so they won’t see each other. This precious moment is captured by the photographer and videographer.
Some couples prefer not to see each other before the wedding to preserve the first look for when the bride walks down the aisle to be with the groom. So instead of a first look, they may opt for a “first touch,” where the couple can hold hands while being separated by a wall. They can have a quiet moment together before their official union.
The prelude is the music that gets played while the guests are waiting for the bride to appear at the doorway and walk down the aisle.
This is when the wedding party walks down the aisle. This is only limited to the prominent roles such as the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, parents of the couple, and the couple themselves.
This is the part after the wedding ceremony when the wedding party exits the wedding venue.