The Ultimate A-Z of Wedding Terms (2023 edition) – Wedding words
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Welcome to the The Ultimate A-Z of Wedding Terms! Wedding terms or wedding words is a very popular search done by our followers, that is why we decided to create the most complete list of wedding terms. The idea of love and marriage going hand in hand is a timeless one. Think back to when you were a child; how many of you remember the rhyme “first comes love then comes marriage”…etc. Yet, most couples don’t know where to begin when it comes to planning a wedding! (So no, it’s not just you!) Don’t worry!
We have prepared an A-Z list of wedding terms to help you understand some of the wedding words and phrases used in the wedding vocabulary.
Wedding term: AISLE
The aisle is a long narrow pathway for walking, with rows of seats on either side called pews. You can usually find these long benches at a place of worship such as a cathedral or church. For example, there is a tradition for a bride to walk down the aisle with the father of the bride. Obviously, the bride can choose whoever she wants for this role.
Wedding term: ALTAR
An altar is a place where people bring sacrifices for religious purposes. Thus, you can find them in most areas of worship, such as cathedrals and churches, usually at the front of the room. The altar is where you and your beloved will exchange vows.
Wedding term: A CHARGER
A Charger is a large decorative plate placed beneath the food plate to frame your main dinner plate. It is typically only for decorative purposes and color-coordinated to complement the rest of the dinnerware.
Wedding term: BACHELORETTE PARTY
The Bachelorette party is the last night for a bride-to-be to party as a single lady. The maid of honor organizes the bachelorette party and, therefore, includes only the closest girlfriends.
Wedding term: BEST MAN
The Best Man is usually the closest friend or brother to the groom. Along with planning the bachelor or stag party, he makes sure the groom gets to the ceremony on time. He is also the head groomsman looking after the rest of the groomsmen, making sure they are organized. The best man stands beside the groom holding the rings. Moreover, he also makes a speech during the reception.
“Black Tie” is the most formal wedding dress code and indicates what to wear to the guests. Usually, a wedding or formal affair means a tuxedo-style suit for men.
A blusher is a one-tiered short veil that covers the bride’s face before the ceremony.
These are the sisters and best friends of the bride who give her lots of support for her big day. The bride will choose the style and color of their dresses, and the bridesmaids will cover the cost.
Bonbonniere is an Italian party favor given out to guests on special occasions such as weddings.
The bouquet is a bundle of flowers wrapped together and carried by the bride and bridesmaids down the aisle. Once the reception is over, all the single ladies wait for the wedding bouquet. For example, many believe that whoever catches the wedding bouquet will be the next to marry!
The bridal boutique is where you purchase your wedding dress and is, without a doubt, one of the most essential parts of your wedding experience as a bride. The bridal consultant will guide you through the stressful process of purchasing the dress of your dreams and help you find the style that is best suited for your silhouette. Most bridal boutiques have a selection of the most up-to-date bridal fashions and accessories.
Wedding term: BRIDAL PARTY
The bridal party usually consists of the Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, the Best Man, Groomsmen, the Ring Bearer, and the Flower Girl. They are your best friends or family members by your side, helping you along the way to have the best wedding possible.
Wedding term: BUFFET
Buffets are very popular at weddings and are a very relaxed dining experience.
Wedding term: BUSTLE
A bustle picks up the train on your wedding dress as if it has no train. The seamstress usually sews a bustle into your gown. However, some wedding dresses have built-in bustles.
Wedding term: CAKE
The Groom and Bride traditionally cut and serve the wedding cake after dinner before dancing. Cutting the cake has been a tradition. In some ethnic backgrounds. For instance, people save the top tier for the firstborn’s christening.
Wedding term: CATERER
A caterer is a person or company that will be providing the food for your big day. Whether it is a small party or a larger one, start to interview early to get one that best suits you and your budget.
Wedding term: CATHEDRAL
A Cathedral is a Christian church of worship but on a much grander scale.
Wedding term: CEREMONY
The ceremony usually takes about 45 minutes, depending on if you have a unique plan to include friends or family members for a reading. For example, the ceremony involves:
- Exchanging your vows
- Placing rings on each other’s fingers
- Signing the marriage certificate
After the officiant declares you husband and wife, it is at this point the crowd usually claps and cheers as you walk back up the aisle.
A chapel is a place where you can get married.
Champagne or, in some cases sparkling wine are used to toast the bride and groom on the wedding day.
A church is a place of worship. Church weddings are very common, especially for Catholics and Christians. Moreover, it’s best to book your date ahead of time with the priest to get a time slot suitable for you.
This is a good chance for guests to mingle after the ceremony before the reception dinner. Some couples serve a signature cocktail as well as wine and nonalcoholic beverages. In addition, some wedding couples also have finger foods and hors d’oeuvres.
Cocktail Attire is semi-formal wear. A lovely classic suit, shirt, and tie along with dress shoes would be acceptable for men. For women, something sophisticated like a dress cut just above the knee with nice heels.
A destination wedding usually occurs outside of the couple’s hometown. Destination weddings can sometimes make it difficult for all friends and loved ones to attend because of the travel expenses.
When the bride-to-be receives an engagement ring, it can have a divine diamond. Diamonds come in different shapes and sizes as well as various colors.
Eloping means you want to keep it a secret until after the marriage. A couple can run away to marry without telling their family or friends. This way, they can experience their love for one another in the most intimate way possible. However, some couples forgo the secrecy and let people know about their plans to elope. Often if they plan to celebrate with others later on, but still keep the ceremony itself private.
Engagement is one of the most exciting times. One pops the question and places an engagement ring on the bride-to-be’s finger. Most engagements are a surprise to the bride, so, likely, you will not be prepared. In most cases, your fiancé will take you out for a special occasion (like a dinner, concert, or sightseeing). After the proposal, you could organize an engagement party and share your proposal story with friends and family along with your set wedding date.
Entertainment for your wedding can be anything from a homemade playlist of your favorite music, a D.J, or a live band. Some couples entertain their guests by bringing in professional ballroom or belly dancers.
Embossing is a raised design on your invitation cards and makes for originality. You can customize the cards to compliment your wedding palette so you can wow your guests when opening the envelope.
Escort cards are there to help with the wedding seating arrangements. Usually, there is a chart with your name corresponding to the table where you will be sitting.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE
The father of the bride will walk you down the aisle to give you to your husband-to-be. The term “gives the bride away” comes from the days when you were, in some cases belonging to your father, as he would “own” his daughters. The father gives a dowry or monetary gift to the husband to be. Fortunately, today we don’t view women as objects to be sold. (Although receiving a dowry is still practiced in some countries and religions, it’s not really frowned upon as it helps start the new couple’s life together).
Favors are little souvenirs that you give your guests as a special thank you at the end of the night. Examples include chocolates in a box with the bride and groom’s name or a note stating that they made a donation to a charity in the guest’s honor. But every couple likes to put their spin on it!
Fiancé is the title given to the groom after the engagement until the marriage. It means engaged to be married!
Once proposed to, and up until the point of marriage, this is the title a bride carries.
The first dance is for the bride and groom. Most couples choose a memorable song that will be theirs to remember forever. After the bride and groom dance, the bride and her father will get their chance, followed by the groom and his mother. Thus, some couples have dance lessons for this special occasion.
A first look is a new trend for bridal couples. It is a rehearsed moment for the photographer to take pictures of the Bride and Groom before seeing each other for the first time at the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, a groom would first see the bride at the altar.
A flower girl is typically the youngest person in the wedding who leads the bride down the aisle holding a basket of fresh flower petals. Therefore, she walks along the wedding aisle while scattering petals on the way to the alter.
The groom removes the garter from the bride’s leg and tosses it to single men; this occurs at the wedding reception. The wedding garter goes back hundreds of years and symbolizes good luck. Most brides choose blue garters to have something blue on the wedding day – which is another tradition.
The couple creates a gift registry that includes 2-4 stores for wedding gifts. The gift registry is a list of items preferred by the bride and groom and is an alternative to giving a monetary present.
Bride and Groom create a guest list to invite those they wish to have at their wedding.
A guest book is a space for guests to write wedding comments or share special memories. Guests can give their best wishes to the bride and groom. Some guests use this book to even give a piece of advice for the happy couple to have a long and happy marriage!
Hors d’oeuvres, sometimes known as appetizers, are usually served hot or cold at a reception or cocktail party before the main meal.
The head table is the wedding table, where the bride and groom sit with the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Groomsmen, and Bridesmaids. The family tables where the parents of the bride and groom sit are usually very close to the head table.
Most couples go off on their honeymoon the morning after the wedding. Depending on the time of the year, hot climate getaways in the sun are the most popular, especially during winter. The origin of the honeymoon goes way back. It is a period after marriage full of love and happiness. Thus, couples go on a honeymoon to continue the celebrations and relax after a long stressful time planning their wedding.
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. means the host of the wedding reception presents the couple for the first time as husband and wife.
The couple sends wedding invitations to friends and family who they want to include in their big day. Invitations should include the date, location, and an R.S.V.P. card to return to the bridal couple to confirm if they will be attending. However, you can also add gift registry information to the wedding invitation.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
Justice of the peace is a judge who can perform civil ceremonies, such as a marriage. It is an alternative to having a priest, rabbi, or minister and is considered a non-religious ceremony.
The ketubah is a Jewish wedding contract between the bride and groom, and it is a commitment to love and honor each other.
There is a lot of kissing happening at a wedding! “You may kiss the bride” is something you will hear when the officiant confirms that you are now married.
Some say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day. However, it is not so lucky to see the bride in her bridal gown before the ceremony.
MAID OF HONOR
The Maid of Honor is the head bridesmaid. She will take care of the bride’s bouquet during the vows and make sure her dress is fluffed, not tangled while walking down the aisle. The Maid of Honor also organizes a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. Therefore, she plays a huge role throughout the planning process if requested by the bride and groom.
Wedding day makeup is a special part of the wedding. Moreover, you can have a professional makeup artist or do it yourself. Your wedding day is a busy one, so you will want your makeup to stand up to the stress. Don’t overdo it; remember, less is more as you want your photos to reflect the real you. Apply minimal makeup that is easier for touch-ups.
Micro Wedding is an event with less than 50 guests. They are handy for multiple reasons, including renewing vows, attaching a micro reception to an elopement, or keeping your particular wedding date (in the case of an unexpected worldwide Pandemic).
MATRON OF HONOUR
A Matron of Honour is an older term for Maid of Honour and means that the Matron of Honour is already married, and a Maid of Honour is single.
Minimony is a much smaller wedding (guest list, venue, and festivities) which makes it a more intimate affair. This ceremony can be a great option for those who don’t want a bigger wedding.
It is customary to give a monetary gift to the newlyweds on their wedding day in most cultures. A money box wrapped in the white satin fabric is set up on a table for the guests to insert their envelopes that usually include a monetary gift. Not sure how much money to gift? It all depends on how close you are to the couple.
The music is essential throughout the wedding. Start with soft background music when you first arrive at the reception venue, ending with louder, fun, and exciting dance music.
Depending on the location and your budget, you could have a live band, D.J, or pre-recorded music. It can be fun to choose your wedding music and include your guest choices on the song list.
Newlywed means you are new to your marriage, and the time frame for being a newlywed varies. This period lasts as long as four years. Some call it the honeymoon stage.
A wedding officiant has a license from the government to perform ceremonies. They can be in a ministerial position like a priest or vicar, but for non-religious weddings, they could opt for a justice of the peace. Look around to find an officiant with a bubbly personality for a service that best suits you!
At the open bar, guests can have alcoholic drinks at no cost. Everything is on the house! Love the idea of an open bar, but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Then consider limiting the time frame of the service!
Some consider getting a party planner or event planner a luxury, whether it’s a simple affair or more of a grand-scale event. It’s not always true. They can organize everything from hair and makeup to the last dance, which can relieve stress levels. Prices vary and can be costly. So before deciding on this option, do your homework and get your Maid of Honor to help you investigate event planners in your area.
A wedding photographer will spend the wedding day with the Bride and Groom from the early morning to the reception taking photos of every moment from the dancefloor to more intimate moments that you will cherish for years to come.
This is the card on the table with the names of the people who will sit there. Couples use place cards for seated events such as a wedding. It is usually a piece of paper or cardstock. However, some couples get more creative with their place cards and use unique displays such as gold calligraphy lettering on a lush green leaf.
A Plus One is an addition to the wedding guest to bring a date along.
A prelude is intro music played at the beginning of a wedding. It is usually a soft background type of music played while the guests start arriving at the service.
A marriage proposal is when one person asks for the other’s hand in marriage. Getting down on one knee to propose is a tradition that started way back in medieval times. Moreover, is a gesture that associates with prayer and respect.
As a bride, you will feel like you are Queen for a day, as most brides believe they are.
A rabbi is a leader in the Jewish religion, and along with the many services provided, he officiates weddings at the synagogue.
A receiving line comprises the bride and groom, their parents, and the wedding party. They will form a line welcoming their guests outside the reception entrance. Besides, this is an excellent oportunity to get in your hello’s and give good wishes to the happy couple.
A Rehearsal Dinner is a dinner that occurs after the wedding rehearsal. This dinner includes family and a wedding party.
Ring Bearer carries the rings down the aisle (usually on a satin pillow) to give to the bridal couple at the altar.
Romances come and go. A love affair can last weeks, months, or years. Holiday romances sometimes could be a one-night stand or a long-distance relationship. When a romance turns serious, whether long-distance or with your lover next door, it can take a step further towards an engagement and ultimately marriage.
R.S.V.P means “répondez s’il vous plait” which means please reply. A card is mailed out along with the invitations at least a couple of months before the wedding date. However, it needs to be mailed back to the bridal couple as soon as possible with the guests’ names if attending and food choice.
Sample sale dresses can be a great buy. These are usually from past seasons that need to be cleared out to make room for newer dresses. However, keep in mind that these dresses have been tried on. Nonetheless, they are still in great shape and sometimes need a trip to the dry cleaner.
Shoes for your wedding can be a classic- simple white or ivory pump, or a fancy color of your choice, embellished with crystals or jewels. Since you will be wearing the shoes throughout the day, try to get a pair that is as comfortable as possible.
SOMETHING OLD, NEW, BORROWED, AND BLUE
It is an old tradition for a bride to wear something old, new, borrowed, and blue for luck. The old symbolizes the past, the something new is optimism for the future. The something borrowed would be from a happy person, perhaps another bride, and blue is a symbol of love, fidelity, and purity.
Stag, also known as the bachelor party, refers to a party for the groom hosted by the Best Man just before he is married. It can get very rowdy, being that there is usually alcohol involved.
Temple ready means the dress is acceptable for the place of worship, such as the temple. The bride’s dress should have a high neckline, long sleeves, and a long skirt, in addition to being white, which symbolizes purity. You can alter wedding dresses to have the temple-ready requirements.
A tiara is an option for a headpiece that the bride may choose to wear on her special day. For instance, tiaras are worn by nobility as queens and princesses have adorned them for centuries. They sparkle and add some extra bling for the bride. Tiaras can also look great with any hair length.
During the wedding, you will hear a toast given by the Best Man and Maid of Honour and the parents of the Bride and Groom. Some toasts are pretty lengthy and can lose guests’ interest. Therefore, it is best to write the speech in advance and make it short and sweet.
The classic tuxedo suit is a formal attire worn mainly for special occasions such as weddings, proms, and some black-tie events. The tuxedo is mostly evening wear, but the tuxedo style has changed over the years, yet it’s still the most elegant of men’s suits.
The wedding dress train is an extension of your wedding dress. When the bride walks down the aisle, it’s customary for the Maid of Honor to see that it doesn’t get tangled along the way. The train can come in many different styles and lengths, from sweep to regal, making the dress look very elegant. Thus, some dresses even have a detachable train.
A Trunk Show is a special sales event that a bridal store hosts to show the latest dress styles from a designer featured at their bridal store. Thus, this will allow the bride-to-be to see the collection available and receive a discount on her purchase.
Many lingerie stores sell undergarments exclusively for brides on their wedding day or something for the honeymoon.
A veil covers the bride’s head and part of the face. Wearing a veil has been around for hundreds of years. Moreover, it’s a religious symbol that has many different meanings. For instance, that it hides the bride’s face from the groom before the ceremony because of the possible bad luck to be seen beforehand. Many cultures use veils as a symbol of modesty. For example, some wear a veil before entering a church or place of worship out of respect.
Bride and Groom exchange vows at the wedding ceremony. At this time, they make promises or commitments to each other. Some couples like to write their vows or simply go with the traditional theme.
A wedding is where two people are getting married at the wedding ceremony. The ceremony can be a formal affair performed by a priest, vicar, rabbi, or other religious officiants. It can also be a civil ceremony with a judge or government official.
A gown that the bride wears for her wedding. Your wedding dress is one of the most beautiful, as well as, expensive dresses you may buy. The wedding dress is traditionally White or Ivory, but having another color dress can be your choice. Some brides choose not to wear a gown, instead opting for a white or ivory suit or another style of outfit that best suits their style.
The wedding reception is a party that starts after the wedding ceremony and wedding photography. Therefore, it’s time to eat, drink, and have some fun. Entertaining guests at a wedding reception is a tradition in most cultures.
A wedding ring symbolizes marriage and can come in different colored metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. It is an offer of commitment to your spouse, the person you are planning on spending the rest of your life with.
Choose the wedding song that belongs to you both. The first time you heard a song when together for a first date or first dance, or it might be something you both just love.
You are now a wife, which means you are no longer single, but a married woman and have a husband.
X MARKS THE SPOT
After the wedding ceremony, you and your new husband, with a couple of witnesses (usually the Best Man and Maid of Honor), sign the marriage certificate. Once signed, your marriage is official.
ZEST FOR LIFE
Moving forward with a feeling of enthusiasm and a sense of excitement for the future.
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