Wedding Jargon 101

When planning a wedding, before you can walk the walk down the aisle, you have to learn to talk the talk with the industry professionals. 

Of course, a good planner, florist, caterer or other vendor will be careful to use jargon the average bride and groom understands.  But, occasionally you may come across a term you are unfamiliar with especially online. 

Since knowledge is power, we’ve compiled a list of Wedding Jargon.  Check out the glossary below.



Aisle Runner: 

Traditionally a long white cloth that runs the length of the aisle.  Often replaced by anything from calligraphied vows or music sheets, floral petals, feather, plexiglass suspended over water or whatever else inspires the couple and event designer.  


A delicate spring perennial flower known for its dark center.


Meaning “to put on” in French, decorating the surface of fabric by applying pieces of cut fabric on top of it.



Banquet Event Order (BEO):

Documentation outlining catering orders and services


A semi-transparent plain-woven fabric.

Black Tie:

A formal dress code that calls for men to wear tuxedos or a formal, dark suit and women to wear evening gowns or long or formal dresses.  Generally reserved for events after 6 o-clock in the evening.


Small floral arrangements worn by men in the wedding party on their lapels.


A dinner style in which guests serve themselves from a designated buffet area.


A common type of icing that is soft, creamy and sweet.



Cake Cutting Fee: 

A fee that the caterer may charge to cut the cake.


A bite-size appetizer served on a small cut of bread, cracker or vegetable.


A branched candlestick with arms that can hold multiple candles.

Card Stock: 

Paper that is thicker than writing or computer paper but thinner than other forms of paperboard.

Cascading Bouquet: 

A bouquet in which flowers are arranged into a cascading, waterfall effect. When held it falls below the waist.


A decorative plate that rests under the dinner plate.  Typically placed on table as part of décor.


A lightweight, flowing sheer fabric of sheer silk or rayon.


A canopy traditionally under which a Jewish couple stand during their ceremony, stretched or supported over four poles. It can be made out of cloth or flowers or other materials.

Cocktail Attire: 

A dress code that is less formal than black tie, and calls for men to wear tailored suits and women to wear cocktail dresses.

Corkage Fee: 

A fee of roughly $5 to $10 per bottle that caterers charge  just to open bottles during your reception if you provided them yourselves.

Crinoline: A coarse stiff fabric of cotton.


An appetizer of raw vegetables such as carrots, celery and cucumbers, sliced often served with dip.




A platform for the head table.


An ornate pattern or medium-weight fabric. The flowery pattern is typically comes in black and white or gold.

Die Cut: 

A technique used for invitations to create a “window” for text or images.

Dinner Jacket: 

The jacket of a tuxedo.  It is usually black or white, without tails and has a silk facing over the collar and lapels.




A printing technique that creates raised surfaces in invitations. The process uses mated dies that press the paper into a shape that can be felt and seen on both the front and back sides.

English Garden: 

A full, colorful and usually less formal flower arrangement.


The most traditional form of invitation printing with slightly raised lettering and indentations that can be felt on the backside.

Escort Cards:

Small cards that direct guests to their tables. Usually displayed near the entrance to the reception.



Family Style:

A more relaxed style of serving dinner, food is passed on serving trays and guests help themselves as they would at a dinner table.



Inexpensive flowers and foliage like baby’s breath used to fill out bouquets and other arrangements.

First Look: 

A staged moment where the bride and groom see each other for the first time, allowing for photos before the ceremony and increasing day of timeline flexibility


A firm icing made of sugar, gelatin, corn syrup and glycerin that has a smooth finish. More expensive than buttercream.




A chocolate and creme icing used to cover, decorate or fill cakes.

Groom’s cake: 

A cake specifically for the groom, often chocolate, and frequently served as dessert at the rehearsal dinner.



Handle Wrap: 

The ribbon or fabric that wraps around the stems of a bouquet.



Illusion Neckline: 

A transparent panel made from tulle, net, or lace that extends from the bust to the collar of a dress.




A printing technique where blocks or plates of raised type are inked and pressed deep into the paper, creating a grooved texture.




A small bouquet usually given as a gift to the mothers of the bride and groom.




The person who performs the marriage ceremony; empowered by law to perform legally binding private ceremonies.


Decorative cloth on top of the underlay used for contrast in color or texture. It extends halfway down the sides of the table.




The range of colors used in the wedding decor.  Usually two or more colors.

Place Cards: 

Designates a guest’s seat at a table; placed on table, not to be confused with escort cards.

Pipe and Drape:

Pipe and Drape refers to pipe (aluminum or steel), fixed or adjustable pipes supported by a weighted steel base, and draped with fabric to create a backdrop.  Often used to transform a space by covering walls or creating partitions.  Often enhanced by uplighting.


A ball of flowers suspended from a ribbon or string-like handle. Can be carried by a flower girl or used as decor.


Background music played at the beginning of the ceremony as guests arrive.


Music played as the bridal party and bride walk down the aisle.



Receiving Line: 

The couple, and often the wedding party, their parents, greet guests as they leave the ceremony and make their way to the reception.


Upbeat music played at the end of the service as the bride and groom exit the ceremony.

Reply Card: 

A card with the invitation that guests return to indicate whether or not they will be attending and how many people will be in attendance.


Fabric that is gathered into ruffles or pleats.



Save-The-Dates (STDs): 

Announcements sent out usually six months before the wedding to alert guests to keep the wedding date free.

Seating Chart: 

An alternate to escort cards that informs guests where they are sitting


A dress style that features a narrow, straight silhouette style. Also referred to as a “column dress.”

Sheet Cake:

Cake served to guests in lieu of the wedding cake, which may not be large enough to serve to everyone.

Silk shantung: 

A heavy fabric that is often made with either silk fibers or other synthetic fibers. Sometimes referred to as “spun wild silk.” It is somewhat rough but not unpleasant to the touch.

Signature Cocktail: 

A specialty cocktail chosen by the bride and groom specifically for the wedding.

Stationery Suite: 

Describes all of the stationery including save-the-dates, invitations, reply and reception cards.


Plants such as aloe, agave and echeveria that are popular in bouquets and can be used year round.


Two tablecloths are layered, and the top one is gathered and draped into soft arcs.

Sweetheart Neckline:

A dress neckline that is shaped like a heart.

Sweetheart Table: 

A two-person table for the bride and groom.




Sign at the center of each table so guests can find their place.


The layout of table including  place settings, glasses and centerpieces.


Crisp, smooth fabric often made from silk or synthetic fibers.

Tea Light: 

A candle in a thin metal cup so that the candle can liquefy completely while lit. They are typically small and inexpensive. Multiple tea lights are often burned simultaneously.


A process that uses heated powder to give print a raised look. It looks like engraved print but costs less.

Tossing Bouquet: 

A bouquet for the bouquet toss at the reception.

Tussy Mussy: 

A cone-shaped, metallic bouquet holder that was popular during the Victorian era.  Currently they are often used as decor in vintage-themed weddings.

Trunk Show:  

A special sale where vendors offer merchandise directly to store personnel or select customers. It often allows buyers to preview or purchase merchandise before it is available to the public.




A full tablecloth that falls to the floor.

Unity Candle:  

The unity candle ceremony uses two taper candles and a large pillar candle, called the “unity candle”,  in the center. At the beginning of the ceremony, a representative from each family, usually the mothers of the bride and groom, light the two taper candles. Later in the ceremony, usually after the vows, the bride and groom use the two taper candles to light the unity candle together.


Men selected by the groom who seat guests as they enter the ceremony. They are generally family members or close friends.




Heavy, transparent paper that is often used as an overlay on wedding invitations.


A standard size of a candle two inches high by one and a half inches diameter.



White Tie:

The most formal evening dress code in which men wear a black dress coat, commonly known as an evening tailcoat, white bow tie, white waistcoat and starched winged collar shirt. Women wear evening gowns.