Congratulations on your engagement!
Whether you are just starting to plan your wedding or you have been planning your celebration for months, there will likely be a moment when you will feel as though the process is quite daunting. From locations and palettes to dates and professionals, you will make countless decisions. As you plan and research, there will hear many new-to-you terms, some likely for the first time.
To help to ensure you enjoy planning your wedding, I thought I would develop a glossary of wedding terms! Here, you will find nearly 30 of the most common wedding terms defined for you clearly. I encourage you to bookmark this page and refer to it often. Also, please remember, your wedding professionals are here to help! I hope you never feel afraid to ask questions.
Attendants: Preferred term to describe the bridal party or wedding party members in order to remain gender neutral. Many same-sex couples have attendants of the opposite gender of themselves and thus terms such as “Maid of Honor” and “Best Man” aren’t always applicable. Additionally, many same-sex couples use terms such as: bestie, best person, best people, man of honour, and so forth to describe those who will stand with them.
Best Man or Woman – Attending to the bridegroom, the best man or woman will have numerous duties. Historically this role was carried out by the brother or best male friend of the bridegroom, but over the years this role has changed and is now carried out by whomever is best suited for it.
Bouquet – an attractively arranged bunch of flowers, especially one presented as a gift or carried at a ceremony by the Bride or Bridegroom.
Bow Tie – The most popular choice of tie to wear with a tuxedo. May also be known as a ‘dickey bow’.
Bride – A woman on her wedding day
Bridegroom – Traditionally, this refers to a man on his wedding day. However, the same term is also favoured by lesbian brides who do not feel like the traditional bride and are not comfortable with that term or perceived role.
Bridesmaids – These are the ladies or gentlemen who are good friends with the bride, supporting her emotionally both before and on her big day. Although they pay for their own outfits, the bride should give them an idea as to what sort of styles and colours she expects them to wear.
Celebrant – A celebrant gives you the freedom to celebrate without restriction. Whether you require a celebrant for a wedding, renewal of vows ceremony, naming ceremony funeral or memorial service, they work with you to create the perfect celebration or service. For a marriage you must still satisfy the Uk laws and be registered in a legalised venue like a registry office, a church or a venue that has been licensed to conduct the registry ceremony and then you can have your wedding ceremony the way you want it.
Corsage – A single flower bloom or a small spray of blooms, which are attached to 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 bridegroom but can be worn by anyone.
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 colour required.
Favours – These are small inexpensive gifts that may be given to all guests at a wedding as a thank you for their attendance. Favours can also serve as a souvenir.
Flower Girls – 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.
Formal Speeches: A toastmaster can help lead the schedule during your wedding’s speeches by providing guidance to your speakers and keeping the flow of the day consistent. Traditionally, a welcome speech is offered by the couple or one of the couple’s parents at the beginning of the reception. Later during the reception, the maid or matron of honour and best man will also each offer a speech in honour of the couple. This can also be adjusted to suit the timings of the day.
Groom – A person employed to take care of horses
LGBTQ: An acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer
Maid of Honour – Known as the chief bridesmaid in some countries, she is the last bridesmaid to walk down the aisle before the bride herself. If the couple is exchanging wedding rings, then it is her duty to hold the ring destined for the bridegroom. She will hand it over to the bride at the right time, as the best man does in reverse. The maid of honour will also hold onto both her bouquet and the bride’s bouquet during the vows, and she will see that the bride’s dress is properly turned out.
Man Of Honour – Some brides prefer to have a male friend attending to the duties of the maid of honour. If so, this is his title.
Matron of Honour – This is the proper title given when the maid or man of honour is married.
Marriage – the legally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (Registry Office, Church, Venue that has been licensed)
Master of Ceremonies – A person who presides over a formal event or entertainment and who introduces guests, speakers, or entertainers. A master of ceremonies, abbreviated MC or emcee, may also be called compère and announcer, is the official host of a ceremony, staged event, or similar performance.
Pomander – This is a round ball completely covered by flower blooms. They are carried by flower girls in the bridal procession who hold them by a ribbon.
Ring Bearer – This is a usually a small boy, sometimes a little girl, who walks down the aisle as part of the bridal procession carrying an ornamental cushion that has two rings tied to it. (Not the actual wedding rings). In a wedding where a celebrant is leading the ceremony, your ring bearer could be your pet or anyone of your choice.
Same Sex Wedding – A same-sex wedding is a ceremony in which two people of the same sex are married. This event may be legally documented as a marriage or another legally recognized partnership such as a civil union. The first laws enabling same-sex marriage in modern times were enacted during the first decade of the 21st century.
Toastmaster – Toastmasters liaise with suppliers and wedding planners to ensure the day is delivered in a special, unique, and memorable way. They are also responsible for proposing toasts, introducing speakers, making other formal announcements and looking after guests and the couple to allow them to enjoy the event and have a special, unique and memorable day.
Tiara – One of the headpiece options for the bride, a tiara is a thin jewelled semi-circular coronet with a higher front and sloping sides worn at the top of the head. If it is regular in height, then it may be worn at an angle.
Tossing Bouquet – A copy of the bride’s bouquet which she throws over her shoulder towards bridesmaids and other single male or female guests after the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, whomever catches this bouquet will be the next to wed.
Tux or Tuxedo – This is a formal or semi-formal men’s black evening jacket that may be either single-breasted (1-4 buttons) or double-breasted (2-6 buttons).
Veil: Most often made from tulle (lightweight, very fine, stiff netting. It can be made of various fibres, including silk, nylon, polyester and rayon) and worn by the bride in her hair during the wedding ceremony, some of the most popular types of veils are: birdcage, blusher, cathedral, fingertip, and mantilla.
Wedding – wedding ceremony including the associated celebrations. This includes elements, such as dining styling (buffet, plated, family style), formal dances, cake cutting, speeches, and time spent celebrating with friends and family on the dance floor.
Wedding Breakfast – A celebratory meal eaten just after a wedding by the couple and their guests.