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 Glossary of Wedding Terms



Below is a glossary of terms used in creating your wedding. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call Ken Schaefer at 715-790-1427. Our goal is to make your ceremony as easy and enjoyable as possible so you can get the very best from your most special day.


Aisle Runner
A long piece of fabric traditionally rolled out before the bridal procession to indicate the arrival of the bride.


A flat fee that covers a variety of wedding services. Most often associated with destination weddings at resorts.


A shelter of branches under which a couple stands to exchange vows. Can also be made of latticework covered with vines.


A dress neckline where one shoulder is covered and the other is bare, or a style that begins at the natural waistline and angles down to one side.


Short for “bed-and-breakfast.” Typically, a house converted into a place to stay, similar to a hotel, where guests can rent overnight rooms. The atmosphere is similar to a home and often includes hearty breakfasts but no other meals. Serves as a popular destination for honeymoons.


A raised platform where the band performs.


Basket Weave
An icing technique that mimics the look of a wicker basket, with piped lines of vertical and horizontal icing crisscrossing.


Big Band
A style of music that traditionally involves many musicians and incorporates horn instruments and vocalists. Popular in the ’30s and ’40s.


An Italian cookie often flavored with anise or nuts. Common as a wedding favor because of their long shelf-life. Traditionally oblong-shaped.


Black Tie
A semi-formal dress code; men wear tuxedoes, while women wear cocktail dresses or gowns.


Blackout Dates
Dates unavailable for events, either due to holidays or a venue’s lack of availability.


Blended family
A family where members are not all biologically related. Typically, a result of a marriage when spouses and children from a former relationship or marriage form the family unit.


Block of Rooms
A group of rooms reserved at a hotel for guests, often at a discounted rate. The block is usually held in the couple’s name, with guests paying for the reservations themselves.


Blusher Veil
A short veil worn over the bride’s face while walking down the aisle that is lifted back to present her to the groom.


The portion of a woman’s garment that covers the upper part of a woman’s body, above the waist.


Body Shapers
An undergarment used to mold the bride’s body into a smooth silhouette.


Bon Bon
A type of candy that is covered in fondant or chocolate.


Brazilian Blowout
A process to straighten hair with a flat iron, with a combination of formaldehyde and keratin.


Bridal Boot Camp
A high-intensity workout regime for brides to lose weight and tone up before the wedding.


Brides Room
An area at the ceremony venue for the bride and her attendants to prepare for the wedding in private.


A lotion, spray or powder that darkens the skin’s color, resembling a tan.


A list of planned expenses for a wedding that serves as a helpful guide to keep track of spending.



A type of dining style where guests line up and either serve themselves or request food from the server.


Burlap linen
A tablecloth made of or resembling burlap, a material of woven jute or hemp.


When a wedding gown’s train is gathered below the waist to prevent it from dragging on the floor, often done after the wedding ceremony but before the reception.


Butler Service
A type of catering service where servers offer food and drinks to guests on platters.


A hut or a structure draped in fabric, typically found on a beach. Can be a relatively small 4-by-4 foot structure intended for shade or large enough to house an entire reception.


A decorative candlestick that has multiple arms to hold multiple candles. Sometimes used as part of the unity candle lighting ceremony.


Candle Lighters
Members of the wedding party, often older children or young adults, who walk up the aisle with lit candles to light candles for the ceremony.


Capacity Charts
A chart that shows how many people a venue can accommodate.


A type of paper commonly used for wedding invitations. Thicker than normal printing paper and comes in varying colors and textures.


Carving Station
An area manned by catering staff who carve slices of meat, such as prime rib or chicken, in a buffet setting at the request of guests.


Cascade Bouquet
A bouquet style in which the flowers cascade downward from the bride.


Cash Bar
A beverage-service system where wedding guests pay for their drinks.


Cathedral Veil
The most formal of veils, also known as a royal veil. Standard length is 108 inches; the veil extends onto the floor.


A white or pink sparkling wine from Catalonia.


An individual who officiates the ceremony. For weddings your celebrant should be licensed to perform in your state. Han Hills is a fully licensed Celebrant in every state of the U.S.


A color blue, resembling the sky.


Chafing Dish
A large dish that sits over a low flame to keep its contents warm. Popular at buffets.


Champagne flute
A slim glass with a stem, designed to retain Champagne’s carbonation.


Charger Plate
A plate, larger than a dinner plate, that is purely decorative and displays the meal’s china.


A bright yellow-green appropriate for a spring wedding


A person responsible for driving a vehicle, such as a limo. Often the bridal party is chauffeured to the ceremony.


Chill Table
A table that can be filled with ice, over which food is placed to keep fresh.


Cocktail Hour
A festive gathering where guests mingle as cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served, typically preceding dinner.


A decorative hairpiece attached to a comb that slides into the hair.


Common law marriage
When two people live together as if they are man and wife without going through the formality of marriage.


An ornamental, often bejeweled, headpiece that circles the head. Veils can be attached.


Cuban Cigars
A popular cigar for celebrations, rolled from Cuban tobacco leaves.


Day of Planner
A wedding planner enlisted to help only on the day of the wedding to make sure that all parts of the event run smoothly.


Destination Wedding
The term for when an engaged couple travels away from home for the wedding ceremony. A destination wedding may or may not include guests.


Down Payment Registry
A registry where the bride and groom request monetary contributions towards the down payment of a home.


Eggshell Blue
A greenish blue resembling the color of a robin’s egg. Also called robin egg blue.


Elbow Veil
A veil that extends to the bride’s elbow, typically about 25 inches long.


When a couple steals away to get married without notifying friends and family.


An individual who moves the wedding reception forward by announcing speakers, songs and dances. Comes from the phrase Master of Ceremonies or MC.


Engagement Party
A party thrown at the beginning of the engagement, sometimes to announce the engagement to friends and family. Traditionally thrown by the bride’s family but may be thrown by the couple.


Engagement Session
A series of photos taken by the wedding photographer during the engagement. Often used in wedding announcements, save-the-date cards or at the wedding.


Euro Tie
A long tie with a square bottom that is a cross between a regular necktie and the more formal ascot.



A skin care technique that involves the removal of the outermost layer of skin cells, usually with a product that contains microbeads that act as a mild abrasive. Involves using scrubs with fine particles and can be used for both face and body.


A common spa procedure consisting of several beauty treatments to the face. May include masks, extractions, exfoliation and peels.


Favor Tags
A decorative label, sticker or hanging tag on a wedding favor. Usually printed with the couple’s names or initials and the wedding date.


Final Guarantee
The final head count given to the caterer. The bride and groom will pay for this number.


Finger sandwich
A small sandwich meant to be eaten in a couple of bites, often part of a buffet.


Finger Wave
A hairstyle popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Created by guiding the hair in alternating directions with the fingers to create a wave by the face


A sweet icing that is rolled out and draped over a wedding cake for a smooth finish.


Food Stations
A style of dinner service that consists of multiple buffets set up at stations throughout the reception location. These stations are often chef-attended and may be themed by food type or cuisine style.


Foundation primer
A product, often silicone-based, that is used under foundation to create a barrier between the skin and the foundation and extends the life of the makeup application.


Frame Tent
A type of tent that can be installed without stakes or internal poles; these tents are typically small, no wider than 40 feet.


Full Service Planner
A wedding planner who assists the couple with every step of the wedding process, from selecting vendors to day-of coordination.


A full circle of flowers. Can be part of decor or worn in the hair.


Gerbera daisy
A flower from the sunflower family that comes in many different colors; appropriate for a casual, spring wedding. Sometimes called Gerber daisy.


A template attached to a light source to create a design, such as a monogram, that shines on the floor, wall or ceiling.


Gown Preservation
The method for preserving a dress after the wedding day. Typically involves a professional cleaning and boxing it to prevent damage over the years.


Green/Eco Wedding
A catchall term that can refer to different aspects of environmentally friendly weddings; can include serving organically grown food, using recyclable items, cutting down on waste, etc.


Groom’s Cake
A secondary cake to the traditional wedding cake. Often masculine in design, reflective of the groom’s interests or hobbies, and traditionally chocolate.


Head Table
A long, straight table set up for the meal during a reception. Typically the bride and groom sit at the center of the table, facing guests, with the bridal party and their dates flanking the couple.


Hen party
The term used in some countries for a “bachelorette party,” celebrating the last days of a bride-to-be’s single life.


Honeymoon Package
A vacation package marketed to honeymooners. Usually includes accommodations and local or romantic activities.


Honeymoon Registry
An online service that allows couples to register for activities and upgrades for their honeymoon stay. This can be used instead of or with more traditional gifts and registries.


Honor Attendant
The attendant the bride wants by her side for the entire wedding process. Also called the maid of honor if the person is unmarried or matron of honor if married.


Hors d’oeuvre
French for “outside of work,” referring to a food item served outside of the main body of the meal. Often used interchangeably with the word appetizer.


Hosted Bar
A beverage service system where the host pays for all drinks ordered by the guests. Also known as an open bar.


The use of hot or cold water to soothe and relax. Soaking in a Jacuzzi is a popular method.


In-House Catering
Catering services supplied by the wedding venue. If a venue offers in-house catering, typically off-site caterers are not permitted.


The parents of a spouse, such as a mother-in-law or father-in-law.


Jewelry Roll
A pouch used to transport jewelry when traveling. Often made of cloth and contains pockets that can be zipped. The pouch is then rolled and secured with an attached ribbon.


Jordan Almond
A candy-coated, often pastel almond that serves as a popular wedding favor.


Junior Bridesmaid
A female who is too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a traditional bridesmaid. Often participates in the bridal shower, ceremony rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and the ceremony processional but not the bachelorette party.


A type of light popular for creating a dramatic event atmosphere; acronym for light-emitting diode.


Locally Grown
Items that are grown near the location they will be used; an encouraged element for eco-friendly weddings.


Low emission vehicle
A vehicle that emits relatively low air pollutants. Popular with couples who are having an eco-friendly wedding.


A decorative lantern most commonly made from a paper bag, then weighted with sand and lit inside with a candle.


Man of Honor
The title of the chief attendant to the bride when he is male.


Map cards
A card sent with the invitation that contains a small map and directions to the wedding ceremony and reception from the places that guests will likely stay.


Marquee Tent
A large tent used in place of a building at outdoor events. Almost always professionally installed.


The shape of a diamond that resembles an oval with pointed ends, like a football.


Matron of Honor
The title of the chief bridesmaid when she is married, referred to as “maid of honor” when unmarried.


Microderm Abrasion
A non-invasive cosmetic procedure that removes the outermost layer of dead skin to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, scars and sun



A band with many tiny stones embedded in it, typically set around a larger diamond.


Milgrain Edging
A beaded or textured edge on a wedding band.


Mineral Makeup
Makeup made from finely ground minerals that doesn’t contain chemicals, dyes and preservatives. Often favored by women with makeup sensitivity.


The individual who performs, or administers, your wedding or any other ceremony. A Minister need not be clergy or religiously affiliated but should be licensed to practice and experienced. Han Hills is a fully licensed Minister in every state of the U.S. and has extensive experience officiating all types of ceremonies since 2006.


A mock cocktail that resembles a drink with spirits but contains no alcohol.


The initials of a person’s name, often appearing in an ornate, overlapping form and can be used on wedding invitations, piped on cakes as icing, etc.


A small, round bouquet of flowers wired together. Sometimes called a “posy.”


Nuptial Blessing
A blessing by a priest occurring at the end of a Roman Catholic wedding ceremony.


The person in charge of the wedding ceremony. They must be legally able to marry someone in their state but are not required to be a clergy member. Han Hills is a fully licensed Officiant in every state of the U.S.


Online Proofing
An online service that allows a person to review print pieces, such as invitations or photography, before ordering them.


Organic Catering
Catered food grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. The food is often sourced from sustainable, local vendors


Organic Flowers
Flowers grown without the use of chemical pesticides.


A person who holds the train of a bride’s gown when she walks down the aisle. This position is usually fulfilled by a boy under the age of 10 but older than the ring bearer.


A silver-white pure metal; does not react with oxygen and will not tarnish, unlike silver or gold.


A matching set of jewelry, such as earrings and a necklace, sometimes intended to be worn at the wedding when presented as a gift by the bride.


A wrap of fine cashmere wool that women drape over their shoulders to keep warm when wearing formal attire.


Personal Vows
When the bride and groom express their commitment to each other with vows they’ve written rather than recite vows from the Book of Common Prayer.


Petit four
A small, individual cake covered on all sides with fondant.


Pew Vase
A container for flowers that is placed on or by a church pew.


The use of unposed images to tell the story of an event.


A type of exercise that focuses on spinal alignment, muscle control and breathing.


Plantable Favor
A gift for guests that includes seeds, sometimes embedded in paper, that one can plant as a reminder of the wedding.


The list of songs given to the DJ or band to play during the reception. Sometimes an iPod is used instead.


A notation on an invitation indicating that a guest can bring a significant other or date.


Music played while guests are being seated for the wedding ceremony.


Premarital Counseling
Counseling that the couple receives before the wedding and specific to potential marital issues. Required by some religions before the couple can marry in the church.


Prenuptial Agreement
A contract where a bride and groom agree how property should be divided in the event of death or divorce. Also referred to as a “prenup.”


The order in which the bridal party enters the ceremony. Differs depending on religion or style of ceremony, but generally begins with male attendants, followed by female attendants, and ends with the bride and her escort, if she has one. Or, male and female attendants walk down the aisle side by side, followed by the bride.


The song played as the bride walks down the aisle, traditionally “The Bridal Chorus” or as it is more commonly known, “The Wedding March.”


Proof of Residency
A document that proves residency of a country or state. Can be an electric bill, apartment rental receipt, etc. Often required to obtain a wedding license.


A dry sparkling Italian wine.


Pub crawl
A party that travels to different pubs or bars within walking distance on the same night.


Push Pole Tent
A traditional style of tent where a series of poles and stakes hold up the fabric.


A request for invitees to accept or decline an invitation. French for “Répondez s’il vous plaît,” meaning “Respond, if you please.” An invitee should send an R.S.V.P. whether or not they can attend the event.


Music that plays as the bridal party is leaving the ceremony.


Refundable Deposit
Money given to hold a venue or service that will be returned if the event is cancelled due to extenuating circumstances.


Rehearsal Dinner
A tradition, typically held the night before the wedding, where the wedding party celebrates with dinner after practicing for the wedding ceremony.


Response Card
A card accompanying an invitation to a wedding that allows the recipient to accept or decline the invitation. It typically includes meal options. Sometimes called “reply card.”


Responsive Vows
Answering “I will” or “I do” to a series of commitment questions asked of the bride and groom by the officiant.


Ring Pillow
A small cushion carried by the ring bearer in the procession. Traditionally holds the rings for delivery to the officiant, but now often holds decorative rings as a representation.


A type of toast that consists of poking fun at the honoree.


An announcement of the date of the wedding, requesting guests to “save the date” so they can attend the wedding; sent before the official invitation with the specific details.


Scavenger Hunt
An activity where teams compete against each other to find all the objects on a list.


A type of whiskey distilled in Scotland.


Seating Cards
Cards propped up at place settings that indicate who sits where during a meal.


Secular Officiant
An official unrelated to a religion who can legally wed two parties, such as a judge.


A dress style with a narrow fit that’s ankle-length and hugs the bust, waist and hips.


Shoulder Season
Refers to the time between the high and low seasons of travel, often offering lower rates to travelers.


Site Coordinator
A venue staff member who serves as the contact person and coordinator for events in a role that is less extensive than the wedding planner


A simple metallic band with one stone.


Soy-Based Products
A product made from soybeans, a legume native to Asia. Often these products, such as soaps or candles, are considered sustainable and environmentally friendly.


Sparkling wine
A bubbling white wine that comes from a location other than the Champagne region of France.


A single branch or stem with many blooms or leaves on it.


Stag and doe party
A combined bachelor and bachelorette party.


Stag party
The term used in some countries for a “bachelor party,” celebrating the last days of a groom-to-be’s bachelorhood.


Stargazer lily
A brightly colored, extremely fragrant flower sometimes found in bridal bouquets.


The parent of the child by marriage, not biologically.


String Quartet
A musical ensemble of four musicians playing string instruments, which typically includes two violins, a viola and a cello.


A decorative element where fabric is draped to form a curve between two points. Often seen on the skirts of tables or as an effect to create

the ceiling of a tent.


A coat with tails. Seen primarily at weddings with white tie attire. May be a dress coat with a squarely cut away front or a morning coat with a tapered cut.


The two tapered extensions on the back of a formal tuxedo jacket.


Tension Tent
A parabola-shaped tent with clean lines, capable of withstanding winds up to 70 miles per hour. Contains few internal poles, making it a popular choice for large weddings.


Theme Wedding
A wedding centered around a specific theme that is not color or pattern focused, such as a winter wonderland.


Tiffany Setting
A traditional setting for a solitaire engagement ring that includes a plain band with a set of prongs that holds the diamond. Also called a Tiffany mount.


Tinted Moisturizer
A facial moisturizer that contains a sheer color. Used in place of a foundation when a lighter base is desired.


The person in charge of introducing speakers and proposing toasts.


A sculpture made out of shrubs or flowers. Floral topiaries can make colorful centerpieces.


Tossing Bouquet
A bouquet that is usually smaller than the more formal bouquet the bride carries down the aisle, specifically for throwing to single female guests during the customary bouquet toss.


Traditional Vows
Vows that a bride and groom repeat outloud to each other to express their love and commitment during the wedding ceremony.


Latticework, often made of wood or metal, that supports climbing plants. Can provide a decorative backdrop to outdoor weddings.


Tribute Band
A band that plays songs entirely written by a popular band.


Historically refers to the bride’s possessions that she brings to the marriage. Can also refer to the bride’s gown or attire.


Trunk Show
A presentation of wedding attire, often by a designer, to bridal shops or brides, typically transported in trunks.


A light, netted fabric used for veils, wedding gowns and decor.


Unity Candle
A large pillar candle the bride and groom light with two taper candles, symbolizing two individuals committing to each other.


Universal Registry
A single registry where brides and grooms can include gift preferences from many different stores.


Male bridal party member who show guests to their seats before the ceremony. Often also performs the role of groomsman.


The person responsible for filming and editing a video of the wedding ceremony and reception.


An acronym for “Very Important Extras,” where family and friends can fulfill roles extending beyond the bridal party, from usher to soloist.


Waiting Period
The amount of time legally required between applying for a marriage license and being able to marry. Varies between states.


Wedding Arch
An arched structure commonly used at outdoor weddings that the bride and groom stand under during the ceremony.


Wedding Day Coordinator
A coordinator employed for the day of the wedding only; responsible for the execution of the wedding ceremony and reception.


Wedding Insurance
A policy that prevents financial loss from canceling a wedding due to natural disasters, medical emergencies, etc.


Wedding Planner
An individual an engaged couple hires to oversee every aspect of the wedding, including vendors, payment, decor, budget, etc. The wedding planner is onsite during the event to make sure things run smoothly.


Welcome Basket
A basket filled with items such as candles, guidebooks and other small luxuries, left for out-of-town guests in their hotel room or at the reception desk.


White Tie
The most formal dress attire. For men, this means white bowties and jackets with tails, while women should wear evening gowns. Also called “full evening dress.”


A Hindu philosophy most commonly known for its form of exercise involving specific postures and breathing technique.


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