Before embarking on your own wedding planning journey, you may have heard some of the more traditional wedding terms, like “altar,” “bridesmaid,” and “rehearsal dinner.” But what about all those other terms you’re now seeing while browsing wedding websites or hearing from your wedding vendors?
There are a lot of words associated with weddings, and, depending on how many weddings you’ve been to, in, or helped plan, you may or may not be familiar with all the different terminology. Don’t sweat it! We’ll fill you in on some important terms to know when it comes to planning your wedding.
Some of these words sound relatively normal, but others are quite…bizarre. At the very least, maybe this list will help you with a trivia question one day! But hopefully, it will help you make sense of some of the jargon you’ve recently been exposed to…and may be a bit confused by!
Wedding Dress Words
We can’t possibly list all the lingo associated with wedding dresses (or weddings in general!), but we thought we’d share some language that’s a bit uncommon.
This word refers to dresses, specifically, and you may hear this a lot once you start the endeavor of wedding dress shopping! Appliques are pieces of lace–or any other fabric–that are sewn into the original fabric to create a texture or 3D effect.
This term is used to describe small, triangular seams often sewed into the bust area of a dress for the purpose of helping it fit the bride’s curves more closely.
This refers to the act of scrunching together a bunch of fabric in one or more areas of a dress in order to add a unique look; in some cases, this design method is used to cover areas of the bride’s figure she may feel insecure about.
A bolero is a short jacket or shawl-like piece of clothing meant to cover the bride’s shoulders, and is typically worn to cover exposed skin, due to modesty and/or insecurity. They can be made of different, yet coordinating fabrics and colors, or they can be made to match the wedding gown.
You’ve probably heard this word, but may or may not have been aware of its spelling, since it’s pronounced (/tuːl/ TOOL). It’s a mesh material often used in wedding gowns to create a fuller look. The material can be somewhat itchy, so many designers will also line the dress with a more comfortable fabric to sit between the tulle and one’s skin. Veils are often made from this material as well.
Deciphering Formal Dress Codes
We won’t cover all the potential dress codes there are to choose from, but here are some you’ll definitely want to know:
You’ve probably heard this one before, but if you’ve never been to a black-tie wedding before, we thought we’d spell out the rules for you. A black-tie dress code should always be indicated on the wedding invite, so guests know the attire expectations. Black-tie events typically take place after 6 pm, and men are expected to be dressed in a full tuxedo. At the very least, they should wear a dinner jacket. Women are expected to wear a long evening gown, a formal cocktail dress, or an elegant pants suit.
This dress code is slightly less formal than black-tie, but still expresses the expectation that the event is not a casual one. Women can choose between a short cocktail dress or a floor-length dress, but an extravagant evening gown might be over-the-top. Men can wear a suit, or if they prefer, black-tie attire is very much acceptable.
Have you ever heard of a white-tie wedding? These are the most formal types of weddings around. Imagine being invited to a royal wedding, or a celebrity wedding; these are often white-tie weddings or full dress.
There are a few words that get thrown around when talking about the ceremony that couples sometimes aren’t familiar with. Here are a few of the ones we get asked about most often:
The officiant is the person who will legally marry you and your soon-to-be spouse. This person may or may not have a religious affiliation, and may be called many different things. Examples of wedding officiants include ministers, celebrants, judges, court clerks, justices of the peace, and more.
In a wedding ceremony, the processional marks the beginning of the wedding ceremony, and features the main ceremony participants walking down the aisle in a set order, often with accompanying music. This typically includes the wedding party members, flower girls and/or ring bearers, the bride, the groom, and the parents of the couple.
Similar to the processional, the recessional occurs at the end of the ceremony. It marks the end of the ceremony and features the same main participants as listed above, with the couple leading the way, followed by the flower girls and/or ring bearers, then the wedding party, the parents of the couple, and finally, the guests.
Reception Terms & Vendor Lingo
There are so many words used in relation to the reception venue and vendors, we weren’t even sure where to start, but here are a few important (and fun) words to know.
This likely means exactly what you think it means; your plan for what to do in case it rains on your special day. Always have a backup plan for inclement weather. Many venues will offer indoor alternatives to your ideal outdoor wedding, just in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
If you’re trying to save money or just make things simple for your guests, a room flip is a great option. It involves completely transforming one room from being the wedding ceremony venue into the reception hall. Guests are typically asked to leave the room after the ceremony for cocktail hour in a nearby, but different space, and then are invited to come back to the same room for the reception.
You probably know what a boutonniere is, but what about a Bomboniere? Though they sound similar, weirdly enough, they have no correlation to each other at all! Bomboniere comes from the Italian word “bonbonniere,” which refers to a box containing “bonbons,” which are simply candies often used for favors and gifts given by hosts of the wedding.
This is the time at which your wedding festivities must be over, AND guests need to be off the premises.
This term is typically used by the reception venue and refers to any services that can be provided by the vendor, such as catering, bar service, floral arrangements, and in some cases, event planning.
This refers to the extra meals you will need to factor into your wedding budget to feed any and all staff that are working your wedding. This may include servers, bar staff, photographers, entertainers, etc.
This is the person at your chosen venue with whom you work to book your wedding date and coordinate all appropriate details. This person may also help coordinate additional services from outside vendors, but they are not to be mistaken as your wedding planner or coordinator. Their focus is on ensuring everything is to your satisfaction when it comes to the venue services they provide. They will also coordinate any in-house services to make sure the event runs smoothly during your wedding and/or reception.
This is a photography term referencing a pre-sunset time when the light is perfect for taking photographs. The event time will certainly play into when your wedding photos should be taken, but your photographer will likely try to capitalize on this time, if possible.
The shot list is a detailed list of pictures you’d like to be captured on your wedding day. For example, you may want a “first look” shot, a photo of your wedding rings, a first kiss photo, a first dance photo, etc. You typically work with your photographer or videographer to capture the specific shots you want to ensure are taken at your wedding.
Wedding Planner Speak
Again, there are many words we use as wedding planners, and we couldn’t begin to share them all here. But here are some we think are important for you to understand.
A venue walkthrough involves meeting with a venue representative, who escorts you in a tour of your chosen wedding venue. It’s here you will be able to ask questions, take pictures, and create a vision for your special day. All wedding venues encourage you to make an appointment for a personalized venue walkthrough.
Wedding Coordination Services
Many people assume Wedding Coordination Services are just about coordinating things on the day of your wedding but think about it - how could they possibly coordinate your perfect day without months of planning? Wedding Coordination Services typically start well before your wedding day and include so much more than just coordinating the day itself. Services will differ by the provider, so be sure to ask your wedding coordinator what’s included.
Wedding Management Services
Wedding Management Services are somewhere between Wedding Coordination Services and Full Planning Services. It’s basically a partial planning service. This service is perfect for couples who want to do most of the planning, but need some help in bringing their vision to life. If you’re the type that wants to do most of the planning for your big day, but you’re happy to let someone else handle all the little details, Wedding Management Services are a great choice.
Full Wedding Planning Services
Full wedding planning services include everything you could ever want or need in a wedding planner. This service is for the busy couple who want assistance from start to finish. If you’re not interested in planning all the little details of your wedding - other than making sure you and your partner show up on time - you’ll want to invest in full wedding planning services. This service includes everything from venue booking and vendor management to help with budgeting, seating arrangements, day-of coordination, and everything in between.
To learn more about weddings and all things wedding planning, set up a consultation with Angela today! Don’t worry; we promise we won’t quiz you on our call!