Today we are going to cover the sometimes perplexing world of wedding terminology. Here, you will find a comprehensive glossary of wedding terms to make sure you’re fully clued up on wedding jargon!
Aisle: the main walkway between rows of seats at the ceremony. The wedding aisle should be wide enough to allow for two people to walk alongside each other comfortably, namely the Bride and the Father of the Bride during the procession, and the Bride and Groom during the recession.
Aisle Runner: a long piece of fabric or carpet that is laid down on the ground of the aisle for the entrance of the Bride.
Ambient lighting: decorative lighting used to create a particular atmosphere or mood.
Appliqué: decorative needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn on to a larger piece, forming a pattern.
Best Man: a man of honour chosen by the Groom to assist him at his wedding. The best man has special duties he is expected to perform leading up to and during the wedding.
Blusher Veil: a short veil, worn forward to cover the Bride’s face that extends to just below the chin. See more veil styles here.
Bridesmaid: a girl or woman, usually one of several, who accompanies and assists a Bride for her wedding. You can read all about the Bridesmaids’ duties here.
Bridal Bouquet: a stylish arrangement of flowers carried by the Bride.
Bridal Party: those appointed family or friends that walk up the aisle with the Bride.
Boutonnière: a single flower worn on the lapel of a man’s jacket. Also called a “Buttonhole”
Bouquet Toss: a tradition where all the single women gather on the dancefloor to try and catch the bouquet thrown by the Bride backwards over her head. It is believed the single woman that catches the bouquet will be the next one to marry. If the Bride doesn’t want to throw her actual bridal bouquet, she can ask her florist to create a smaller “Toss Bouquet”.
Bustle: a type of framework to gather the dress at the back of the wedding gown. Many modern gowns contain hidden strings and buttons made for tying up the bustle after the ceremony so the Bride can dance more freely at the reception.
Buttercream: a soft mixture of butter and icing sugar used as a filling or coating for a wedding cake.
Buttonhole: see ‘Boutonnière”
Cake Topper: decorative ornaments placed at the top of a wedding cake. Cake toppers can come in a variety of styles: from figurines representing the Bride and Groom, to elegant flowers, to the couple’s monogram.
Card Stock: Paper stock that is thicker and more durable than normal writing paper, but thinner and more flexible than other forms of paperboard. It is often used for wedding stationery including invitations, menus, programmes, and escort and place cards.
Cascade Bouquet: An elongated bouquet with a trail of vines, ribbons or leaves (also referred to as a “Waterfall Bouquet”).
Cathedral Veil: A dramatic veil that extends at least 9 feet. See more veil styles here.
Channel Setting: a type of ring setting where the stones are inlaid directly into the band without prongs.
Charger: a large decorative plate that is placed under the dinner plate which can bring colour and texture to the table.
Civil Ceremony: a non-religious legal marriage ceremony performed by a registrar.
Cluster Setting: a grouping of several small diamonds that surround a larger center stone.
Cocktail Hour: the interval between the end of the ceremony and the start of the wedding breakfast during whichguests can mingle and enjoy cocktails, champagne and canapés. It usually lasts for up to an hour, and is also referred to as the “Drinks Reception”.
Colour Palette: describes the range of colours chosen. Whether you use one colour or several, the colours used in your wedding make up your colour palette.
Corsage: a small arrangement of flowers that is either pinned to a woman’s dress or worn around her wrist, usually worn by the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom.
Cushion Cut: a stone that is cut to the shape of a square with rounded corners.
Dragées: chocolate- and candy-covered almonds that are often served at wedding receptions or given to guests as favours. Traditionally they are packaged in groups of five to represent happiness, health, longevity, wealth and fertility.
Drinks Reception: see “Cocktail Hour”.
Drop Waist: an elongated waistline that is positioned a few inches below the natural waist.
Duchess Satin: a luxurious fabric with a high thread count has a glossy surface and a dull back.
Embossing: the process of creating a three-dimensional image or design, such as a monogram, on wedding invitations, programmes, menus, and thank you cards.
Emerald Cut: a rectangular shaped stone with a series of parallel facets on each side and at each corner.
Engraving: the most traditional form of invitation printing. Text and design are etched onto a copper plate, which is then coated with ink and wiped clean, leaving only ink in the indentations. When paper is pressed against the plate, the text and design boast a three-dimensional character.
Escort Cards: printed cards that inform guests of what table they will be seated at. They are usually displayed as guests enter the reception, or during the cocktail hour. Click here for escort card ideas.
Faille: a soft, light woven fabric of silk, rayon, or cotton that has a ribbed texture.
Fascinator: a decorative hair accessory often made of feathers, flowers or wisps of fabric. It is often embellished with crystals, beads, or loops of ribbon, and attached with a comb, headband, or hair clips.
Favours: small gifts distributed to guests as a thank you. Click here for some inspiration of different types of favours.
Fingertip Veil: a traditional veil that reaches the Bride’s fingertips when her hands are at her sides. See more veil styles here.
Fondant: a thick paste made of sugar and water traditionally used to cover wedding cakes. It can be flavoured or coloured and is an alternative to “Royal Icing”.
Flower Girl: ayoung girl that immediately proceeds the Bride’s entrance to the wedding ceremony and either carries flowers or scatters them along the aisle.
Ganache: an icing made from chocolate and cream that’s used to cover, decorate, or fill cakes.
Garter: the article of clothing traditionally worn by a Bride to hold up her stockings. At many ceremonies the Groom tosses the garter to all of the single men at the reception as a sign of good luck, similar to the “Bouquet Toss”. Read our interview with Pompadour Couture Lingerie who talks about the tradition of the garter.
Gobo: A thin metal template slotted inside, or placed in front of a light to project a shape. The gobo can be projected on to the dance floor or a wall in the shape of the couple’s monogram or another decorative pattern.
Groomsman: a male friend or relative appointed by the Groom to help him at his wedding. Also referred to as an “Usher”. You can read all about the Groomsmans’ duties here.
Grosgrain: a silk or silk-like fabric with a ribbed appearance. It’s often used in trims, belts, and to tie around the Bridal bouquet.
Guestbook: a book signed with messages of love and appreciation by guests attending the wedding.
Hand tied bouquet: style of bridal and bridesmaid’s bouquet shaped while the floral designer holds the flowers in his or her hand. The natural stems of the flowers are maintained and wrapped in ribbon or lace.
Hurricane: a glass enclosure placed around a candle to protect the flame. Many reception venues require all flames be protected by glass, so this is a good option.
Nosegay: a small bouquet or flower arrangement usually given as a gift. Also called a “Posy”.
Letterpress: a centuries-old printing technique where blocks or plates of raised type are inked and pressed deep into the paper, giving words and images a grooved texture.
Maid of Honour: the chief bridesmaid chosen by the Bride. The Maid of Honour has special duties she is expected to perform leading up to and during the wedding. The Maid of Honour title is given to a woman who is not married, while the Matron of Honour title is given to one who is.
Mantilla Veil: A Spanish-style tulle veil with a wide lace border that lays over the head and shoulders. See more veil styles here.
Marquise Cut: an elongated oval shaped stone with pointed ends.
Mermaid: a dress silhouette that is fitted through the bodice and hips and flares out from about the knee or calf toward the bottom.
Organza: a thin, sheer, plain-weave fabric that’s traditionally made from silk.
Page Boy: a young boy responsible for either carrying the rings on a cushion (also called a "Ring Bearer"), or following the Bride down the aisle carrying the train of her gown.
Pave: a cluster of diamonds that completely covers, or paves, a piece of metal.
Pillar Candle: a solid and thick candle that is rigid enough to burn free-standing. Thicker than a taper candle.
Place Card: a card bearing a person’s name, placed at each seat at the reception to let guests know which chair they will be sitting at.
Place Setting: a complete set of crockery, cutlery and glassware laid for one person at a dining table.
Pomander: a ball of flowers that is used as a decoration or an accessory (flower girls often carry them instead of baskets). They can be suspended from ribbons or hooks, or placed on top of vases.
Posy: see “Nosegay”.
Princess Cut: the face-up shape of the princess cut is square or rectangular and the profile shape is similar to that of an inverted pyramid. The Princess Cut is the second most popular cut shape for diamonds, next to a round brilliant.
Procession: when the bridal party walks up the aisle to start the ceremony.
Programme: a printed order of the events of the ceremony given out to wedding guests as they arrive. Also called an “Order of Service”.
Prong Setting: usually four or six metal tines, called prongs to secure a gemstone.
Officiant: person who officiates a religious marriage ceremony making it legal and binding. Also see “Registrar”.
Overlay: a speciality linen used to lay over the top of floor length linens when dressing a table. Overlays can be in a contrasting color, texture or fabric to the floor length linen.
Reader: aperson who reads a passage or text at a Civil Ceremony; or a religious verse at a Religious Ceremony.
Reading: inspirational passage or text read at a Civil Ceremony; or a religious verse read at a Religious Ceremony.
Reception: a party held after the completion of a marriage ceremony where the Bride and Groom serve their choice of food and drink, and entertain their guests.
Recession: when the Wedding Party walks down the aisle after the marriage ceremony.
Registrar: a government official conducts a non-religious legal marriage ceremony making it legal and binding. Also see “Officiant”.
Reply Card: a card that is mailed with the invitation for guests to fill out and return with any or all of the following information: whether or not they will be attending, how many people will be in attendance, and in some cases, their meal choices for the reception. Also called an “RSVP”.
Ring Blessing: part of the religious marriage ceremony when the officiant says a prayer over the couple’s wedding rings.
Royal Icing: a hard white icing made from egg whites and icing sugar, used to decorate the wedding cake. An alternative to “Fondant”.
RSVP: abbreviation of Répondez S'il Vous Plaît; French for 'please reply'.See “Reply Card”.
Ruched: fabric that is gathered into figure-flattering ruffles or pleats.
Signature Cocktail: a speciality cocktail chosen by the Bride and Groom or caterer to be served at the reception. It can be either a traditional drink that has personal sentiment to the couple or a new drink created for the couple.
Stationery Suite: a term to describe all of the stationery, including the save-the-dates, invitations, progammes, reply cards, escort cards, place cards, and any other invitation enclosures.
Sugar Flowers: delicate, exceptionally detailed and realistic-looking flowers made from sugar. They are often hand-painted.
Sweetheart neckline: a heart shaped neckline on a gown.
Tablescape: another word for a table arrangement or centerpiece. It is most often used when each table has multiple components.
Taper candle: a thin formal candle.
Tea light: small candle contained in an aluminum or plastic cup. Typically, tea lights will burn for only 3-4 hours.
Toss bouquet: Smaller and less elaborate bouquet made to mimic the bridal bouquet and used for the “Bouquet Toss”.
Tulle: a fine netted fabric used for veils, tutus, or gowns.
Up-lighting: decorative lighting specially added to enhance a room. Up-lighting is placed around the perimeter of the room to add a wash of color and light to the walls.
Ushers: people who greet the wedding guests as they arrive and make sure they are seated in the correct place.
Votive candle: short candle used to add light and décor to tables. Typically, votive candles will burn for 8-10 hours.
Votive holder: Small decorative glass cup to hold votive candles.
Vows: pledges that are exchanged by the Bride and Groom that make the marriage binding.
Waterfall Bouquet:see “ Cascade Bouquet”.
Wedding Breakfast: a dinner enjoyed by the Bride and Groom and their guests during the reception. Contrary to its name, it is not normally a morning meal.
Wedding day emergency kit: container filled with items to deal with any last minute mishaps the day of the wedding. Refer to our own personal “Survival Kit” for what to include!
Wedding Party: the group of close friends and family members who assist the Bride and Groom to their wedding day, including the Maid of Honour, Best Man, Bridesmaids, and Groomsmen.
Zero Regrets!: Make sure you take a moment with your new husband / wife to look around at all the family members and friends who are celebrating with you and soak in the atmosphere and moment! Look back on your day with zero regrets (particularly if you hired a planner like Lamare London to take all the stress out of wedmin!) ;)