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Your A-Z Guide to All The Wedding Lingo

As you get into wedding planning, you may be hit with some unfamiliar words and terms. We're here to help guide you through these!

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Bouquet by Thistle Bee


Archway/Arbor - An arch-shaped structure typically decorated with florals, greenery or fabric where the couple gets married under.

Baraat - In a traditional Indian ceremony, a celebratory wedding procession for the groom involving live music and dancing.

Bouquet - The flower arrangement typically carried by a bride walking down the aisle.

Bouquet Toss - An older tradition where the bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder, and whichever bridesmaid catches it is to be married next by fate.

Boutonnière - A single flower or small bud worn on the lapel of a tuxedo or suit jacket.

Bustle - When you pin up the dress train. Read more on Wedding Dress Bustle Types on

Buttercream - Made of butter, sugar, and mile, its soft and creamy texture makes it the most common {and delicious!} icing for wedding desserts.

Calligrapher - A professional handwriting artist typically hired to design invitations, seating charts and other wedding signage.

Card Box / Holder - A protected holder for guests to place their wedding gifts/cards.

Ceremony Program - A stationery card or brochure handed out during ceremony that typically advertises the wedding party and timeline of events for the evening.

Canape - A fancy term for a bite-size appetizer served on a small flat piece of bread, cracker, or vegetable.

Charcuterie - A platter of assorted meats & cheeses.

Challah - Braided bread used at Jewish celebrations.

Charger - The pretty plate that goes beneath the dinner plate.

Chuppah - A canopy under which a Jewish couple stand during their wedding ceremony.

Corsage - A flower arrangement held on a woman's wrist, usually the mother of the bride and groom, grandmothers or any other women who play an important role on your wedding day.

Crudité - A simple appetizer of raw vegetables that are cut up and served with dip.

Dress Train - An extra length of fabric that attaches to the back of your dress and trails behind you as you walk. Learn more about common train styles at

Engagement Photos - These are used as a way to document a couple's engagement and are typically customized to their specific style and love story. They're often used for Save The Dates, Invitations and Wedding Websites.

Favor - A small gift given to guests at the end of the wedding to show thanks for attending.

First Look - A newer tradition of the couple seeing each other before the ceremony through a "reveal." This is a more private & intimate moment between the couple vs. reacting to each other at the aisle. There are many benefits by doing a first look, such as getting to spend more time together on your wedding day and getting couple portraits out of the way. A first look can also be done with bridesmaids, fathers, kids or anyone else important to you on your big day.

First Touch - Similar to a first look, but instead of seeing each other before ceremony you simply feel your s/o by touching their hand, typically standing back-to-back. This is another intimate moment that may ease nerves the morning of your wedding without revealing yourself.

Fondant - Because of its firm texture, this icing creates a smooth finish that is perfect if you’re looking for an elegant, detail-oriented cake design.

Garter Toss - Another older tradition similar to the bouquet toss where the groom tosses the bride's garter over his shoulder to his groomsmen.

Groom's Cake - A smaller cake that generally is more exciting to the groom and sometimes a surprise from the bride. Typically, it's decorated based on hobbies and/or interests of the groom.

Hors d'Oeuvres - {pronounced awr-durvs} Mini plates/appetizers typically passed during cocktail hour by a server.

In-House Catering - When the venue has their own onsite catering kitchen vs. having to order food from an outside caterer.

Ketubah - A Jewish marriage contract that is validated before a wedding. The ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract that is validated before a wedding. The couple, a rabbi or cantor, and witnesses all participate in the signing of the ketubah.

Kippah - Traditional Jewish head coverings.

Kosher - Food that meets Jewish dietary restrictions.

Maître D' - The main person in charge of executing your wedding. They are the glue holding everything together, the main communicator between your day-of staff & vendors on your wedding day. They work directly with the wedding coordinator to understand your vision and needs.

Menu Cards - A mini dinner menu for guests, typically placed on each table setting.

Mood Board - Typically created on Pinterest. A mood board is a collection of images that creates your wedding theme or vibe, such as season, colors, décor, etc.

Nikah Ceremony - A Muslim ceremony, made legitimate by signing a marriage contract in the presence of an imam and at least 2 witnesses.

Officiant - The person who marries you! They must be ordained to make it legal.

Place Card or Escort Card - A place card directs guests to their table by showing their name & table number assigned. 'Escort card' is just a fancier term. Sometimes couples display a large seating chart instead of individual cards. In that case they would hire a calligrapher.

Prelude - The soft music played during the ceremony as guests arrive and are seated.

Receiving Line - After ceremony, the couple "receives" guests, greeting them as they exit the ceremony and enter cocktail hour. Basically, this is traditionally the couple & parents' way of greeting guests and thanking them for coming.

Recessional - The upbeat and joyous “we just got married” music played as the happy couple exit from the ceremony as newlyweds.

Rehearsal Dinner - Typically held the night before the wedding with your family & wedding party. It's your "party before the party," and a chance for your two families to spend time together before the wedding.

Room Flip - When your venue transforms one room into something else for a different function. For example, we sometimes will flip our ballroom space to first be an indoor ceremony location then later a reception space. This room is flipped while guests are downstairs at cocktail hour.

Save the Date - An early notice for guests to mark your wedding date on their calendar, typically sent shortly after booking your venue. Less formal than an invitation, but a polite heads up.

Wedding Website - A personal website the couple makes to communicate wedding information to their guests. You can display your venue information, hotel information, your love story, wedding FAQ's and even have guests RSVP directly through your website. Learn more on Important Questions to Ask on Your Wedding Website. You can create a free website through many different companies such as The Knot & Zola but we highly recommend using WithJoy's free wedding website building platform.

Wedding Vendor - Any professional you hire for your wedding. Photographer, videographer, venue, florist, etc.

Wedding Hashtag - Personalized wedding hashtags are used to gather photos shared on social media.

Sand Ceremony - A unity ceremony where the couple pours sand from separate vessels into a unified, central one.

Saree - An elaborately designed drape of fabric women wear to Indian weddings.

Sweetheart Table - A small table where only the couple sits, separate from the guest tables.

Table Runner - The long piece of cloth that goes from one end of your table to the other used as additional décor to dress up your table!

Tea Ceremony - Traditionally conducted on the day of the wedding in certain Asian cultures where the couple serves tea to their family or guests. Gong fu cha refers to the Chinese tea ceremony, and it translates as "skillfully making tea". Chanoyu is the Japanese tea ceremony which literally translates as "hot water for tea". Darye refers to the Korean tea ceremony, and it translates to "etiquette for tea" or "tea rite."

Tree Planting Ceremony - Similar to a sand ceremony, the couple plants a tree together during their ceremony to symbolize their unity in marriage.

Venue Walkthrough - Taking a tour of a venue. Going around to take photos and videos, ask questions, etc.

Vows - An exchange of promises between the couple getting married.

Wedding Coordinator - This term is dependent on whoever is offering the service, so it's important to clarify that with the provider directly. At Bear Brook Valley, a wedding coordinator books your wedding and is your main point of contact throughout the planning process. As a wedding professional they'll guide you through what needs to get done & when, suggest vendors, help pick your menu and answer any questions/concerns through allll of planning & your wedding day.


BM - Best man

FG - Flower girl

MaToH - Matron of honor

MOB/FOB - Mother or father of the bride

MOG/FOG - Mother or father of the groom

MOH - Maid of honor

RB - Ring bearer

S/O - Significant other

STD - Save the date

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