wedding vocabularyYou have said, “Yes!” and now you’re ready to plan the big day. You may be surprised to find, however, that you’re about to enter a world full of wedding vocabulary that you never even knew existed. Sure, you know what a bouquet is and all about the need for ‘save-the-date’ cards…but do you have any idea of what a GOBO is? Read on and find out.

The last thing you want to happen when you’re planning the big day is to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes jargon and terms that your vendors use may throw you for a loop and you may feel like a 5-year-old when they ask you questions. That’s okay because, with our handy wedding vocabulary list, you’ll be able to listen and talk like a pro to plan the perfect wedding.

Bouquet: We’re pretty sure every bride and groom knows what this is but…know that there are various types from which you can choose. A bouquet is a group of flowers ever-so-beautifully arranged, but there are nosegays, cascading, posy and round, as well as hand-tied and crescent to name a few. Your wedding florist will be the one to guide you in all things bouquet. You may also consider a Toss Bouquet. This is a smaller version of the bride’s bouquet and is often used when the bride ‘tosses’ her bouquet to a group of single ladies.

Boutonniere: A boutonniere is worn by the groom, his wedding party, and the family of both the bride and the groom. Reminiscent of prom boutonnieres you pinned during homecoming, they’re usually a single flower/bloom with some greenery.

Ceremony: The Ceremony is the actual marriage of you and your intended. It’s when your Celebrant or Officiant speaks and legally weds you. Often the focal point of the entire wedding, it’s an extraordinary time in your life.

Chargers: When planning the reception, you may be asked about chargers. These are the plates that are under the dinner plate on the guest tables. Typically, they are for design only, and can really add some pop to your reception.  

Corsage: Similar in concept to the boutonniere for men, corsages are small flower groups that are worn by the special women and family members of the bride and groom. They are often attached as a bracelet or pinned to a dress or blouse for special family like mothers and grandmothers.

Escort Cards:  These found at the reception entrance and designed to help guests find their assigned seating (if it’s set up that way). Guests should be able to find them in alphabetical order for easy finding. Sometimes replaced by a seating chart, they still add a nice touch of tradition to receptions.

GOBO: A piece of metal or acrylic that’s been cut in a design or monogram to show on the dance floor or walls during the reception.

Groom’s Cake: An additional cake for the groom. Often a fun nod to something special to them. This often means there’s a lot of cake at a reception, though, so sometimes it’s presented at the rehearsal dinner.  

First Look: When a bride and groom agree to look at each other for the first time–typically in private with photographers or family to get pictures out of the way and let the wedding party enjoy their entire reception.

First Touch: Some couples would rather just speak to each other…hold a hand, talk or pray with each other but not actually LOOK at each other before the wedding. This is called a First Touch.

Head Table: The head table is for the bride and groom and their wedding party, but there’s no hard and fast rule for a head table. Sometimes it’s for family only or sometimes it’s just for the happy couple. In this case, it’s called the sweetheart table.

Reception: This is the fun ‘party’ that happens after the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, a reception has a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, and cake. They’re usually about 4-5 hours long, but that’s totally up to you.

Rehearsal: The rehearsal typically takes place a day or two before the wedding in order to make sure all goes well on the big day. It’s a run-through to work out kinks and make sure everyone knows what to do on the actual day.

Rehearsal Dinner: The rehearsal dinner happens after the rehearsal and lets the wedding party, family, and friends gather together for a meal and a special time together. It’s really just for the couple and their family and wedding party, but sometimes special out-of-town guests attend too.

Send-off / Farewell: This is when you’ll head off to happily ever after. It’s typically the ending of your reception and is as simple as hugs goodbye or elaborate as fireworks to send you off.

Uplighting: Often offered by your event designer or music/entertainment company, it’s lighting that can help change the ambiance of your reception venue.

Venue Coordinator: While your wedding planner handles all the logistics of your wedding, a venue coordinator works in collaboration to ensure that all things related to your venue run smoothly.

Vendor Meal: This is often a packaged meal to keep your vendors going throughout the day, but it’s something you’ll want to consider if you’re hosting hot food. Vendors are often working at least 6 or more hours of the day, so considering them when planning means all energies are able to be directed to you on the big day!

What else would you like to add? Are there terms you don’t know? We’d love to help you with all of them and make sure your day is perfect. Contact us for any of our planning packages today!


wedding vocabulary