What exactly is a ‘applique’? How does a boutonniere differ from a lapel pin? Is an all-inclusive head table better than a sweetheart table seating arrangement?
You’re in the process of planning your wedding, and you might have heard one or two of the above terms thrown around without an explanation. Don’t worry! The wedding industry has more confusing terms than you’d expect, which is why we’ve compiled a categorized list of the most common wedding terms, and their meaning.
Applique: On a wedding dress, this is lace-like ornamental needlework sewn or stuck onto areas of the dress like the bodice, sleeves or skirt.
Bustle: An underlying framework, such as a hidden button, that gathers longer trains into an elegant gather in the back of the dress, ideal for moving around after ceremonies and while taking photos.
Illusion Sleeves: Sleeves made of see-through, sheer, or skin-colored fabric. Applique is sometimes sewn onto these types of sleeves for decorative effect.
Organza: A type of fabric that can be identified by its stiffness and transparency, made of silk or synthetic materials.
Tulle: Another fabric type that is netlike, fine, soft and made of silk, cotton or nylon. It’s used for veils or for the top layer of a wedding dress skirt such as the voluminous princess dress.
Ruching: A fabric-pleating technique that results in a textured, gathered effect.
Bolero: A top piece used to transform the look of a dress and usually has lace sleeves.
Double-Breasted: A jacket or a coat with a significant overlap of material in the front, that has two rows of buttons when fastened.
Tie Bar: The clip that a groom might attach to his tie, for to keep it in place and keep it from swinging.
Cumberbund: A wide sash worn by a groom underneath a single-breasted tuxedo jacket. It’s a bit of an old fashioned artifact, but you’ll know what it means if it happens to come up!
Boutonniere: A mini bouquet worn in the lapel of a groom’s dress jacket. Sometimes it compliments the theme of the bride’s bouquet.
Lapel Pin: A lapel pin is basically a boutonniere, just attached to a pin that can be attached to the groom’s lapel.
Photography & Video:
Uplighting: Lighting fixtures that rest on the floor and project lighting directly upwards.
Golden Hour: A magical time for photographers that takes place a bit before sunrise and after sunset, when the lighting is warmer and softer due to the absence of harsh sunlight.
Highlight: A short wedding video that is like a trailer, that includes all of the best moments and is usually played to the track of a single song.
Documentary: A long, in depth wedding film that includes all of the events from start to finish, including the the getting-ready, ceremony, toasts, and other important moments.
Watermark: A logo, usually semi-transparent, that photographers sometimes mark their photos with as a way to identify them or their studio as the creators of the image.
Album: A book of the best wedding photos from the day custom designed by the wedding photographer that showcases all the best moments that were captured throughout the day.
Menu & Dining:
Buffet: A casual dinner set-up option that includes a table of dishes from which guests can serve themselves.
Plated Dinner: The formal alternative to a buffet, in which caterers serve guests with fa dinner that is already arranged on a plate.
Canape: a savory dish that is served with drinks or as an entre to dinner, usually made up of a bread or a pastry with toppings.
Fondant: An edible, thick paste made of sugar and water that is usually used as a thinly rolled out sheet to cover wedding cakes, for a smooth finish and base for decorative frosting.
Signature Cocktail: A drink (or two) served at the bar that is specially requested to reflect the tastes of the bride and groom.
Schedule & Events:
Cocktail Hour: An hour or so scheduled during the wedding day for guests to mingle and have some refreshments (like your signature cocktail!) and small bites usually to fill the time when the couple and bridal party are taking photos between the conclusion of the ceremony and the start of the reception.
Room Flip: A term that’s simply used to describe the event of guests being transferred to a room, usually for a Cocktail Hour. This often happens at weddings where the ceremony and the reception take place in the same area of a venue.
Grand Entrance: An event that usually takes place at the beginning of a reception, when the bridal party members and the married couple arrive and are officially announced to the wedding guests.
Hard Stop: The ending of a wedding reception when the vendors start to wrap up, typically an hour before the event’s agreed upon ending time. (tip - your vendors will know about how long they’re needed and should verify that to you during your pre-event meetings or phone-calls, but they are typically flexible and are open to discussing this with you.)
Processional: A procession of family and bridal party members walking down the aisle as the official start of the ceremony in a predetermined order, usually starting with the Officiant and/or groom and ending with brides entrance as she walks down the aisle.
Recessional: An event similar to the processional, after the couple’s first kiss and their exit from the ceremony followed by the bridal party and family members.
Rain Plan: It’s a good idea to have a Plan B for outdoor weddings in the event of uncooperative weather.
First Look: An optional time before the ceremony that the bride and groom can opt to see each other in full wedding dress before being officially married. It breaks tradition a bit, but it’s a great opportunity for photos, and can help to ease those pre-ceremony nerves!
First Touch: Similar to the first look, but instead of seeing each other the couple touches hands from separate sides of a partition like a wall or a door.
Table Settings & Decor:
Mercury Glass: A decorative glass with a silvering solution sealed between two glass layers.
Milk Glass: Another type of glass that is opaque with white tinting.
Monogram: The Bride’s and Groom’s initials that can be inscribed on wedding items such as invitations, wedding menus, signage, etc.
Escort Cards: A personalized card meant to guide each guest to their reception seating situations.
Votives: Small, cylindrical glass containers for holding tea light candles, often used for reception table decor.
Charger: The larger plate placed underneath smaller dinnerware in table place settings, meant to decoratively underlap the top plate and act as a base for other courses.
Head Table: A seating arrangement option in which the couple, bridesmaids, groomsmen and immediate family members all dine together at one table.
Sweetheart Table: The more secluded alternative to a head table, a sweetheart is a small table that only seats the Bride and Groom.
Carafe: A larger, wide-mouthed flask that holds beverages such as water, juice and wine.
Corsage: A floral arrangement that is worn on the wrist, waist or shoulder of a bride, bridesmaids, the mother of the bride and/or the mother of the groom.
Personal Flowers: The bouquets carried by by the bride and sometimes each bridesmaid. The Bride’s bouquet is also known as the ‘Toss Bouquet’.
Full-Planning: A wedding planning option where the planner takes care of every wedding arrangement, from contacting wedding vendors to day-of coordination.
Partial Planning: A wedding planning option that assists the couple with their wedding plans without as much help as full-planning.
In-House: An additional service that is offered by some vendors that can include furniture rentals, coordination, and catering.
Corkage Fee: Also known as a Service Charge, a corkage fee is an extra fee that a venue may charge for alcohol that’s served during the event but bought elsewhere.
Registry: A service, usually featured on a wedding website, that helps couples communicate their gift preferences to their guests.
Save-the-date: A request that is sent out to all potential wedding guests, before the official invitations, to request that they save the wedding date to ensure they’re able to attend the big day.
Elopement: Another wedding option in which the couple forgoes the details of a traditional wedding in favor of a small, secretive ceremony, sometimes in the presence of an intimate group of friends and family at a location that is significant or special to them.
Bomboniere: Also known as ‘favors’, this is a small gift that the bride and groom prepare for their guests to show gratitude for their support and attendance.
You’ll have to learn a lot about wedding planning as you begin the process, so know that your wedding planner, dress consultant, photographer, vendor, and everybody else who will help you in the process are ready to answer your questions. If you aren’t sure about what a term may mean, just ask! And most importantly, be sure to schedule all of your bookings, and especially your wedding dress consultation, as early as you can in your planning process (remember: the process of acquiring a wedding dress can take between 4-8 months!).
Photography by XSiGHT Photography & Video