Confusing Wedding Terms Defined
Feel like your wedding planner is speaking in a foreign tongue when they talk about prepping for your big day? Believe us, you're not alone. That's why we put together a quick little cheat sheet to help you get up to speed on a several wedding terms you may not be familiar with.
Aisle Runner: A carpet or piece of fabric that lines the path the bridal party and bride walk to the altar. It can be used for both practical purposes (to protect the bride's dress from getting dirty outside) or for décor to add an elegant touch to the ceremony.
Arbor: Often used in beach, garden, rustic, bohemian and other outdoor style weddings, an arbor is an arch made of branches or latticework covered in vines and greenery and is the spot where a couple stands to get married.
BEO: A Banquet Event Order, commonly referred to as a “BEO,” is a document that outlines the details of your event. It serves as a guideline for the hotel or venue to execute and communicate logistics to all necessary departments and vendors.
Boning: This is a term for what is essentially a corset on a strapless wedding gown. Plastic or metal is sewn into the bodice of the dress to keep the fabric from drooping and to ensure the fit is snug.
Bustle: A bustle is useful when the bride chooses a wedding dress with a long train. The train can be tied or pinned up and secured by a hidden hooks or buttons on the back of the dress so that it doesn’t drag on the ground after the ceremony. There are different styles of bustles, like the French bustle for example, in which the train is actually tucked underneath and pinned or hooked to the fabric of the dress that way.
Black Tie: A formal dress code that calls for tuxedos and evening gowns.
Black Tie Optional: Tuxedos and formalwear are suggested, but not required.
Bible Bearer: Someone, often a close family member or child who was not selected to be ring bearer to carry the family bible down the aisle during the start of the wedding ceremony.
Boutonnière: A small grouping of flowers or other items attached to the left lapel of a jacket by a pin.
Boudoir session: A photo session where the bride poses provocatively as a present for her fiancé.
Chair Belts, Bands or Sashes: You add a belt to a plain outfit to tie your entire look together. The same goes for your chairs. Use of chair belts, bands or sashes add visual interest to your chairs and make the entire setup look pulled together and more elegant.
Chargers: Nope! Not your cellphone. A charger is an elegant plate that your guests’ dinner plates sit on top of. They’re typically seen at multiple course meals and wedidngs, of course, where they serve as decoration and aren’t actually eaten off of.
Chuppah or Mandap: A cloth canopy (or ceremony structure) that is held up by four poles and is a main fixture in a Jewish or Indian wedding. This is the place where the couple says, “I do.” The Chuppah is also a symbol of the newlyweds’ first home together.
Cocktail Attire: A dress code that is less formal and calls for suits and cocktail dresses.
Crepe: If you’re in search of a draped wedding gown, this is word you’ll want to remember. Crepe is a type of fabric that is known for being thin, soft, and having a slightly wrinkled surface. Though crepe is most typically used for dresses that feature draping, it is also favored by brides who are in search of something more form fitting as it clings nicely to the body.
Chantilly Lace: Originating from the city of Chantilly, France, this is one of the more traditional types of lace a bride can select for her wedding gown. It is a very delicate fabric with small, detailed patterns best seen when worn sheer over the arms, neckline, or back.
Court Train: The Court train is a shorter length, about three-feet from the waist down (so a few inches out on the ground). It’s a good in-between length as far as trains go, but you wouldn’t want to wear this one to an outdoor wedding as it’s not quite enough to bustle and will catch whatever is on the ground.
Chapel Train: One of the more dramatic trains, other than a Monarch, the Chapel train typically extends more than three or four feet behind. It’s probably the most common style of train, since it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance but still gives off a striking look during the ceremony.
Crinoline: A petticoat, or the fabric it's made from. This is worn underneath the wedding dress to give the skirt more volume and structure.
Card Stock: Paper that is thicker than writing paper but thinner and more flexible than other forms of paperboard.
Escort Cards: Unlike place cards, they simply have your name and table number written on them so that guests can easily figure out where they'll be sitting, as opposed to checking out every single table for the right spot. They literally escort you to the correct location
Empire waist: A dress where the skirt attaches high above the waist.
FAB Minimum: The minimum amount of food and beverages you must pay for when contracting with a vendor.
Filler: If you're not trying to completely break the bank on flowers then fillers will be your go-to. Essentially, they're budget-friendly flowers, foliage and berries that help fill out your centerpieces, bouquets and other arrangements so they look full and gorgeous.
Fondant: A thick paste made of sugar and water and often flavored or colored, used in the making of candy and the icing and decoration of cakes. This thick icing can be molded and sculpted.
Fascinator: A cluster of ribbons and/or feathers worn as a hair decoration. Sometimes paired with a blusher veil.
Groom's Cake: An excuse for a second cake, that's way cooler than the wedding cake. This cake is often sculpted into an object of importance to the groom and features more vibrant flavors than the traditional wedding cake flavors.
Guipure lace: Guipure is another type of French bobbin lace but beware, it is very different from the Chantilly so they shouldn’t be confused. It’s a bit heavier-looking due to the fact that the motifs are generally connected with plaits rather than a mesh. Guipure is also a malleable lace that can be used well in either the train, skirt, or bodice of any silhouette dress.
Ganache: Thin icing or sauce composed of chocolate and heavy cream.
Getting weddinged: Planning a wedding after you're already legally married.
Handfasting: a Pagan wedding ceremony where the couples hands are tied together. This is where the term “tying the knot” orginated.
Henna: In some Muslim and Hindu weddings it's traditional to have a paste made from dried henna leaves to paint intricate patterns on hands (and sometimes also feet) of the bridal party.
Jack and Jill: A co-ed bridal shower.
Ketubah: The contract Jewish couples sign that states the obligations of the marriage.
Mandap or Chuppah: A cloth canopy (or ceremony structure) elaborately decorated with brightly colored flowers, that is held up by four poles and is a main fixture in a Jewish or Indian wedding. This is the place where the couple says, “I do.”
Overlay: A decorative tablecloth or linen that is layered on top of a floor length linen (or underlay) in order to dress up your reception tables and add some dimension, texture and style to them. Basically, these make your tables look even more gorgeous.
Officiant: the person conducting the wedding ceremony.
Presentation of Roses: Just when you thought you had all the flowers you could possibly need, you'll want to make sure you don't forget the presentation of roses. During the wedding ceremony, you'll give one rose to your groom's mother and he'll present another to your mom as a way to honor them both. While this is optional, it sure is a sweet gesture for the parents.
Processional: The bridal party's entrance to the ceremony.
Pew Bow: Decorations on the end of rows of seating at the ceremony.
Place Cards: used to designate a guests seat at the table.
Pomander: A round ball covered in flowers and often with an attached ribbon. Most often carried by the flower girl if she is too young to scatter petals.
Receiving Line: The couple greets each guest in turn as they enter the reception.
Reception cards: include both escort cards and/or place cards.
Recessional: When the wedding party exits at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony.
Swagging: If you want to give your wedding tables or tent some serious swagger, try this chic decorating technique, often used to form a dreamy white ceiling on canopy beds too. Fabric is simply draped so that it hangs down in the middle between two end points.
Silk charmeuse: This fabric is a soft version of satin. It’s crucial to remember that because silk charmeuse is so light, it’s not the best choice for a full-skirted look and typically only works well with a more body-conscious, bias-cut silhouette.
Stationery Suite: Describes all of the wedding stationery: save-the-dates, invitations, reply, reception cards, etc.
Sweetheart Table: A two-person table just for the newlyweds.
Save The Date: A "pre-invite" sent out ASAP to tell guests when the wedding will be.
Sheet Cake: A large flat cake instead of a tiered wedding cake.
Sweetheart neckline: When the top edge of a dress is curved like the top of a heart.
Shantung: A heavy fabric, often made of silk, with a nubby finish.
Table runner: A long strip of cloth that goes down the center of a table for decoration.
Trumpet: Most brides don’t realize that a trumpet style dress is similar to the mermaid or fishtail silhouette. The gown is formfitting at the top while the bottom is much more voluminous.
Topiary: Flowers or plants trimmed into geometric shapes.
Toss bouquet/garter: A second version of each to toss into the crowd so you can keep yours as mementos of your special day.
Train: The fabric at the bottom back of a dress that drags on the floor.
Tulle: A light, mesh-like fabric used for anything from decorating to dresses.
Table Cakes: A cake that is used as a centerpieces and the dessert
Tablecards: The sign or name on each table so guests can find their place
Taffeta: Crisp fabric often made from synthetic fibers
Tea Light: A small candle in a thin metal cup
Unity Candle: At the beginning of the ceremony, a representative from each family light the two taper candles. Later the couple uses those tapers to light the unity candle in the middle together.
Unity Ceremony: Something done by the couple during the ceremony to symbolize their joining together as one.
Unity Cocktail: a beverage mixed during the ceremony that couple drinks together.
Ushers: People selected to seat guests as they enter the ceremony
Watteau Train: This type of train consists of a single panel of long fabric that attaches to the back of a bride’s gown, typically at the shoulders, as opposed to a built-in version that has to be bustled.