The A-Z Wedding Terminology You Need To Know

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Recently engaged, but don’t know where to start? As wedding planning begins and progresses, you may hear certain terms from wedding planners, vendors and friends that seem completely unfamiliar. We’ve got your back – check out our list below of wedding terminology, explained!

Al Fresco: A term that means “out in the open air” and is often associated with outdoor dining. You might even have an al fresco wedding reception!

Bridal Party:  Most commonly, the term ‘bridal party’ is meant to refer to the bride and groom, as well as the bridesmaids and groomsmen. This does not typically include the family or general guests.


Photo | Every Golden Detail


Charger: A decorative plate upon which all other dining plates rest used to enhance a place setting.

Cocktail Hour: The gap between the ceremony and reception during which guests enjoy cocktails and small bites. This time can last an hour or sometimes 90 minutes depending on reception set-up and how long it takes the bridal party to finish their photos.

Coordinator: The person or business hired to coordinate the wedding timeline and oversee the wedding day logistics.


mini wedding cake with sugar flowers #weddingcakes #heartcake

Photo | Healthy Potion


Dummy Cake: A cake that looks real, but is actually fake. This typically is a Styrofoam cake shape covered in icing that can be  cost effective than an actual cake layer. You can have an entire dummy cake and then serve your guests a sheet cake, or you can layer a ‘dummy’ layer on top of a real one to increase the size of your cake!

Escort Card: A place name or card that designates where guests will sit

First Look: The moment where a couple sees each other before the ceremony. This can happen between the couple, bride and her bridesmaids, or the bride and her father!

Flatlay: A flatlay refers to a photo stylistically taken at a birds-eye-view of stationery, accessories, flowers, or other wedding details.

Flatware: Dining utensils: forks, knives, spoons.

Flipping the Space/Flip: If your reception occurs in the same space as your ceremony, the vendors have to “flip the space” during the cocktail hour to transform the venue into a reception set-up.


Stylish tropical wedding at Flora Farms in Cabo
Photo | 100 Layer Cake


Glassware: Drinking glasses: wine glasses or water goblets.

Golden Hour: The time just before sunset, where the lighting is soft and golden, ideal for photography.

Grazing Table: A table for appetizers such as cheeses and meats or fruits that guests can munch on during cocktail hour or the reception.

Head Table: Include either or both the bridal party and families, depending on who the wedding couple wants at their table.

Hybrid Photographer: A photographer that shoots still and video photos.


Photo | Bloominous


Nosegay: A small bundle of flowers, typically held by bridesmaids or flower girls as a more petite alternative to a fuller bouquet.

Processional: The very first walk down the aisle to commence the wedding ceremony.

Recessional: The final walk down the aisle after the wedding ceremony ends.


Be Inspired PR on Instagram: “Now THIS is our kind of tray passed treat! 🥂 (#Repost from @martha_weddings, Photo by @aarondelesie, Planning by @eksevents)”
Photo | Instagram


Signature Cocktail: A cocktail chosen by the couple featured on a cocktail menu. Signature cocktails are sometimes named to represent the couple, their interests or dating history.

Sweetheart Table: The table that solely seats the married couple.

Tablescape: The reception table in its entirety, from the glassware to the floral centerpieces.
Tray Pass: The service in which catering staff walks throughout the reception space and offers beverages and bites with a tray

‘Unplugged’ Ceremony: A ceremony where guests are not allowed phones upon entry to encourage them to be present at the wedding and sans technology.
Uplighting: Lighting that comes from varying places along the perimeter of the space that project light upwards on the walls and in the trees.