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The Language of Love: Wedding Terminology Explained

No matter what your friends believe, just because you’re getting married does not mean that you are an expert in all things matrimony. Anyone who has ever gotten married can attest to the stress of feeling ill-equipped to oversee this life-changing event. One way to make yourself more comfortable with this season of life is to familiarize yourself with the terminology associated with weddings. Below you will find comprehensive definitions for common wedding jargon as well as for more unusual, and comedic, terms.

Common Wedding Terminology

wedding back piece and veil

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Aisle runner: a fabric or carpet placed in between the main aisle, stretching from the entrance to the alter

Backpiece: a decorative hair piece attaching the veil to the bride’s hair

Banns: a public announcement of a couple’s engagement

Blusher: a small, thin veil that covers the bride’s face before the ceremony

Bomboniere: the traditional favors given to wedding guests

Canapé: an appetizer served on a small cracker, bread, or vegetable

Chapel: a wedding veil that extends to the floor

wedding charger

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Charger: a plate placed under the main dinner plate for decoration

Civil ceremonya wedding conducted by an official at a licensed venue rather than a clergyman at a church

Corkage: the fee applied for every bottle of alcohol opened by the catering staff

Crudités: an appetizer of sliced raw vegetables, typically served with dip

wedding getaway car

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Dais: a raised stage for the head table at the reception

Fascinator: a decorative hair accessory, typically made with flowers, rhinestones, and beads, worn to the side in the bride’s hair

Filler: the inexpensive flowers that complete bouquets and other floral arrangements

Getaway: the escape of the bride and groom after the ceremony and reception, typically in a car with their honeymoon as a destination

Handle wrap: the fabric or material which holds a bouquet together at its stems

Matrimony: the act of two people joining together in marriage

Page boys: the young boys that follow the bride down the aisle holding the train of her dress

Palette: the combination of complementary colors which theme wedding decorations

and attire

Prelude: the soft background music played as the guests arrive at the ceremony

Presentation: a bouquet of long-stemmed flowers held in a bride’s arms

Procession: the start of the wedding ceremony as the bridal party walks down the aisle

Processional: the stately music played as the bridal party and bride walk down the aisle

wedding recessional

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Proofs: the pictures a photographer took at the wedding before any editing

Reader: a person who reads biblical scripture or a poetic passage during the wedding ceremony

Recession: the conclusion of the wedding ceremony as the bridal party walks back up the aisle

Recessional: the upbeat music played as the bride and groom leave the ceremony

Shapewear: the undergarments worn by a bride to create a sleek silhouette

Suite: the entire package of all wedding stationary, including save-the-date, RSVP, and invitation cards

Sweetheart table: a two-person table for the bride and groom at the reception

Tablescape: the centerpieces at reception tables

Usher: the men, friends of the groom, who seat guests for the ceremony

Unusual Wedding Terminology

Bridallers: the wedding guests

ecru wedding invitations

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Deuterogamy: a second marriage after death or divorce of one’s first spouse

Ecru: the traditional beige color used for wedding invitations

Epithalamion: a melody sung for the bride and groom

Foy: an engaged person’s farewell to singleness, a bachelorette or bachelor party (in the United States)

Nosegay: a small bouquet of flowers gifted to the mothers of the bride and groom

Paranymph: a unisex term for a member of the bridal party, either bridesmaids or groomsmen

Trousseau: the lingerie a bride wears on her wedding night

Vellum: the heavy, transparent paper paired decoratively with invitations or favor boxes

Wedding porn: the embarrassing number of bridal magazines collected by a bride, typically early in or before the engagement

Planning a wedding should be a fun occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most individuals. It should be a time of joyful anticipation, not overwhelming stress. While you may feel ill-equipped to carry out the many tasks affiliated with weddings, remember that most engaged couples are in the same boat. Even if you happen to be in a career related to weddings or have participated in many weddings, nothing can compare to your own big day. By familiarizing yourself with wedding terminology, you can eliminate some of this anxiety. You will be able to confidently talk to wedding planners, photographers, hair dressers, and others, to pinpoint how you want your wedding to look and feel. Congrats on your engagement and on your newfound knowledge of wedding terminology!

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