Terms Every Bride-To-Be Should Know About

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Ascot Tie - This is a wide type of necktie that is reserved for the most formal of daytime weddings and occasions. It is worn with a gray cutaway (morning) coat that is longer in the back than at the front and gray striped trousers.

Backpiece - This is an often highly decorated comb that sits on the back of a bride's head and is used for attaching her veil.

Ballet - Also known as a waltz, this is a veil length that drops below the bride's knees, but above her ankles.

Basket Weave - A type of decorative piping on the wedding cake which features interlinked horizontal and vertical lines of icing.

Best Man - The best man will have numerous duties, the most important of which is to keep the bride's ring safe until it's time for the vows, when he hands it to the groom for putting on her finger. His other duties include announcing speeches at the reception and making his own. He will also sign the marriage license, and make sure the groom gets to the wedding!

Biedermeier - A type of posy where the flowers are arranged in rings according to their color. (See Posies).

Black Tie - Don a floor length evening gown or tuxedo when the attire is black tie. This is the dress code chosen for evening weddings, specifically after 6 o’clock in the evening. Men’s attire includes a tuxedo, waistcoat, white dress shirt, a black bow tie, and black dress shoes. Ladies should expect to wear a long evening gown or formal cocktail dress and dress shoes.

Black Tie Optional - Tuxedos encouraged, but not mandatory. Women may wear short dresses but ensure it’s a formal cocktail dress, and not a sundress. Also, no wedges.

Boutonnière - Wondering if the groom has a cute younger brother? Look for this. It’s a single flower, or small grouping of flowers, pinned onto the jacket lapel of the groom, groomsmen, ushers, and male relatives of the groom.

Branding - An excuse to place your new monogram on…everything. A stationer can create a wedding logo that embodies your wedding aesthetic and it can be placed on invitations, cocktail napkins, koozies, the dance floor, you name it.

Bridal Party - This is the full entourage, motley crew, or #squad. Traditionally, the betrothed man carried the title “bridegroom” so the bridal party is not limited to the bride and her bridesmaids. It also encompasses the groom, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, ushers, house party, wedding officiant, and the mother and father of the bride and groom.

Bustle - First comes bustle, then comes the dancing. The bustle gathers up the wedding dress train with buttons or ribbons to prevent the train from dragging and helps the bride move around. Short for “bust a move.”

Buttercream - Created by creaming butter with sugar, buttercream fills and dresses a traditional wedding cake beautifully and tastefully. But don’t expect it to hold it’s shape for complex designs or watercolor details—leave that for fondant.

Blusher - A short, single layered veil that covers the bride's face before the ceremony.

Bomboniere - This is an Italian word which is sometimes used to refer to wedding favors. (See Favors).

Boutonierre - This is a single flower or flower bud or a small group of flowers or buds; worn by the groom, best man, ushers and the male relatives of the bride and groom, on the left (over the heart) lapel of their jackets.

Bow Tie - The most popular choice of tie to wear with a tuxedo. May also be known as a 'dickey bow.'

Bridal or Bride's Bouquet - The bunch of flowers given by the groom to his bride.

Bridal Procession - Every girl's chance to be a princess. Resplendent in her gown, and on her doting father's arm, the accompanying entourage can be as lengthy as she wishes (venue and cost permitting).

Bridesmaids - These are the gals who are good friends with the bride, supporting her emotionally both before and on her big day. Although they pay for their own gowns, the bride should give them an idea as to what sort of styles and colors she expects them to wear, as some in this group may try to outshine the star of the show.

Buffet - A self service style of meal at a wedding reception, where the food and drinks are presented on a long table, or a series of tables, and the guests collect a plate and help themselves whenever they wish (queues permitting). A buffet is usually the most affordable option as considerably less waiters are needed (if any), but the costs can rise as less control over food portions can be exercised.

Buttercream - A soft and creamy icing that can be colored, flavored and used for decoration or filling for a wedding cake.

Calligraphy - This is an ornate highly stylized form of handwriting seen on expensive wedding invitations and other places.

Candle Lighters - These are children (hopefully responsible ones) who light candles at the altar when the bride's mother (who is the official hostess of the ceremony) takes her seat. Sometimes these candle lighters are uniquely dressed.

Cathedral - The longest of veils, this is three and a half yards in length.

Chapel - This is the name for a length of bridal veil that will reach the floor, extending two and a half yards from the headpiece.

Comb - A bridal headpiece attached to her hair with teeth like a comb. May be as ornate as the bride wishes it to be.

Cornelli - A complicated decorative form of icing which resembles a lacework on the wedding cake.

Corsage - A single flower bloom or a small spray of blooms which are attached to a lace and pinned to either the front of a woman's dress, or at her wrist. Orchids are among the most popular flower choices for corsages, and at weddings they are usually only worn by female relatives of the bride and groom.

Crown - One of the things a bride may choose to wear, it is a fully circular gemstone or bead adorned head piece that is larger than both a half crown and tiara. In Greek Orthodox Christian weddings; both the bride and groom have crowns placed on their head by the Koumbaro, who then swaps the crowns between the couple three times.

Cummerbund - This is a broad sash worn around a man's waist on top of his shirt but under the jacket. They are usually black, but may be any color required.

Canape - That small bite, typically served during cocktail hour, that leaves you wanting more. It’s a small bread or pastry with a savory topping passed as an hors d’oeuvres.

Cathedral Veil - It’s a formal veil that extends past the wedding dress train measuring around 120 inches. The name originates from dramatic veils processing long, Cathedral chapel aisles.

Charger - A decorative base plate for all the other plates to stack on top of used to anchor the tablescape. Essentially, what the perfect handbag is to an outfit.

Cocktail Attire - Men wear a dark suit and women wear a short dress that is ready to party. Your LBD never fails.

Cocktail Hour - An hour to two hour event directly after the ceremony that gives the wedding’s guests time to mingle over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while the bridal party and family pose for portraits.

Dais - This is a podium or platform raised from the floor. In wedding receptions, it is where the bride and groom are seated. The word is also used to indicate the flower display on the happy couple's table, which often tumbles over the front.

Damask - This is a linen or fabric with raised patterns woven into it. Brocade is similar but of a heavier weight. The word is derived from Damascus, the capitol of Syria.

Dotted Swiss - A method of decorating the wedding cake which involves small random dots of icing.

Double Tier - A two layered veil. Usually, one layer will be longer than the other.

Dragees Round - These are the edible and brightly colored balls of sugar seen on wedding cakes.

Day of Planner - They keep the show going. Whether you hire your own or utilize your venues coordinator, a day-of planner is mandatory to ensure wedding day runs smoothly. If a guest or bridal party member has a question, they go to the day of planner. Drunk Uncle tries to make a toast? Day of planner will, courteously, takes the mic.

Embossing - Essentially, ink-less engraving. This technique creates a raised-relief surface and often used for border motifs, monograms, or subtle details on invitation suites and paper goods.

Engagement Party - A party celebrating the engaged couple hosted typically within the first two months after the proposal, but often even hosted on the night of the engagement.

Engagement Photos - First chance to show off that bling. Shortly after a proposal, couples schedule a photoshoot to have professional photography to be used for a save the date, wedding website, and local engagement announcement.

Engraving - The most formal and swankiest of stationery methods. Engraving creates a raised surface on the front of an invitation and a subtle indention on the back of the invitation.

Escort Card - Each escort card will have a guest’s name or couple’s name with their table assignment.

Elbow - A length of veil which reaches down to the bride's elbows.

Embellishments - These are extra adornments either sewn or glued onto a bridal gown. The additions may include; embroidery, lace, glass or crystal beads, ribbons, bows, shiny plastic circular pieces called sequins, fringes, pearls, and others.

Euro Tie - Often worn with a spread collar, this is a long tie that is more formal than a regular necktie, but less so than an ascot. (See Ascot).

Father of the Bride - He used to pay for everything at a wedding but nowadays both families often share the costs. What has not changed is his duty of escorting his daughter down the aisle in her last few moments of being single.

Favors - These are small inexpensive gifts that may be given to all guests at a wedding as a thank you for their attendance, and also to serve as a souvenir.

Fiancé - This is the title of the groom or husband-to-be between the engagement and the wedding.

Fiancée - This is the title of the bride between her engagement to her betrothed and the wedding day.

Finger Tip - One of the most popular lengths of veil, which as the name suggests, extends to the fingertips.

Fish Bowl - A centerpiece in floral decorations where flowers are together in a, ornate or otherwise, low and broad glass bowl.

Flower Girls or Flower Children - These are small children (usually girls) that pave the way down the aisle for the bride by holding a pomander or scattering flower petals from a small basket. (See Pomander).

Flyaway - This is a many layered veil that will barely reach to the shoulder.

Fondant - This is a sweet icing made from sugar, syrup and gelatin that has supple qualities which enable a layer to be draped over the wedding cake like a fabric. It is then used as the base for other elaborate decorations and designs.

Formal - At a formal wedding, dress codes come into force, so don't make a mistake guys, or your date will give you hell.

Fountain - This is the name of a veil style, where part is gathered up atop the bride's head and the remainder set loose to fall around her face. A fountain veil will reach to either the shoulder or the elbow, depending on preference.

Fascinator - To Americans, these gravity-defying headdresses are fascinating but in England, they are wedding required.

Filler - Lighter floral and foliage that fills gaps between your larger blooms. Cost-effective and efficient.

First Dance - The first time you and your spouse take the dance floor as a married couple. Couples usually waltz, two-step, or swing to a tune significant to their love story. Check out our playlist for first dance song inspiration.

First Look - A private moment between the bride and groom before the ceremony that helps break up (and slow down) the day. It also makes for a great photo-op opportunity. This is in-place of the groom seeing his bride for the first time at the opening of the chapel doors.

Flower Girl - The last, and often cutest, bridal party attendants that walk the ceremony aisle before the bride, often scattering floral petals or holding a sign to prepare guests for the special moment. The flower girls are also typically the youngest family members, alongside the ring bearers.

Flower Wall - Often times, this decorative element is used for a ceremony backdrop or to frame your wedding cake.

Fondant - If you’ve seen a groom’s cake in the shape of a football stadium or Yeti cooler, it’s most likely covered in fondant. A thick paste of sugar and water that can be molded and folded into elaborate cake designs and is an ideal canvas for painting on details. Downside, often not as delicious as buttercream or cream cheese frosting.

Full Bar - Let the champagne flow! Full bar means full beverage service open to all—supply of liquor, beer, wine, and beverage selection.

Ganache - This is a mixture of chocolate and cream, used either to fill or garnish a wedding cake.

Garlands - These are flower and / or green leaves twirled into ropes or loops that are often hung from the likes of doorways, stairs and railings. The word can be interchangeable with wreath, but properly this is always circular, and a garland need not be so. A garland may also be worn by the bride as a headpiece. (See Wreath).

Groom's Cake - A smaller, second cake that may or may not be included in the wedding ceremony. If it is, then it is often served at the rehearsal dinner.

Gum Paste - This is a mixture of sugar, starch and gelatin. It's what many of those realistic looking flowers, fruits and ribbons are made of on a wedding cake.

Garlands - Greenery, with or without flowers, twirled together to make long strands. Can be hung in the reception area, in doorways, and around railing and columns.

Groom’s Cake - Ladies, give the man what he wants. The groom may not get a Dallas Cowboys-themed reception, but at least he can get a cake that represents his team spirit. The groom’s cake is the second cake served at the reception that is typically more “playful” or themed.

Half Crown - An ornate headpiece for the bride which lies between a crown and tiara in size and weight.

Hattabin - These are the male friends and family of the groom at a Moslem wedding.

Honor Attendants - These are the best man and the maid (or matron or man) of honor.

Hora - A dance at a Jewish wedding where the bride and groom are lifted high on chairs.

Huppah - A flower bedecked canopy that is an essential part of a Jewish wedding.

Head Table - This is where the bride, groom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen dine together during the reception. The “altar” of the reception, if you will.

In-house Catering - In-house catering means look no further for service because your venue exclusively works with one caterer.

Ikebana - This is an extremely dramatic and artistic form of flower arranging that originated in Japan, but is now popular all over the world and often seen at weddings.

Imam Zamin - This is a good luck tradition after a Moslem wedding where the mother of the bride ties a coin that is wrapped in silk around her daughter's arm.

Juliet Cap - This is a close fitting cap that is often decorated with precious stones sometimes worn as a bride's headpiece.

Ketubah - In Jewish weddings, this is the wedding contract between the bride and groom. It is usually highly decorated and often framed and put on a wall in the couple's home.

Koumbaro - This is the title of the best man in Eastern Orthodox Christian weddings. (See Crown).