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55 Wedding Planning terms and meanings you need to know.

Truth is for many of us- until we got busy with wedding planning- we really couldn’t passionately hold a wedding conversation. We knew about florists and deejays and other professionals but didn’t know that when it comes to weddings, they are referred to as vendors. Or that cocktail hour was a real thing.

Now that you are a new bride or groom to be, here are a few words that may be used as you relate with different wedding vendors and undertake wedding planning. The more familiar you are with them, the lesser the chance of you feeling confused during discussions or taken advantage of. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few of the items I have had to explain repeatedly to wedding couples. They do not follow any order but might be listed alphabetically so you can skim thru if you’re looking for a certain word.

Best man: a close friend or family member of you(the groom) who helps with wedding planning and coordinates with other groomsmen. Normally, a male plays this role, however, in recent times, females have been seen to act as best women.

Bridal shower: an event organized for you (the bride), most times by older married ladies, to shower her with gifts and get her prepared for married life.

Bride’s bouquet with roses, succulents, and fern

Boutonniere: a flowery piece worn by the men in the wedding party. It is similar to those of the bride and her bridesmaids.

Buck’s night: a party held on the eve of the wedding, organized by your best man and the groomsmen to celebrate your (the groom’s) last night of being single.

Buss boys: servers and catering staff that wait on your guests during dinner time and clear out the dinnerware after the meal is over.

Bustle (wedding dress): a quick adjustment to your wedding dress (if applicable) by attaching some part of the train to the bodies of the dress, which in turn reduces the volume of the dress.

Cake cutting fee: a fee charged by your venue for cutting an outside vendor’s cake, and dishing it for your guests. This is often charged when the cake is not gotten through the venue or any of its preferred vendors and is billed per slice.

Celebrant: also called the officiant. This is the individual conducting your wedding ceremony. The wedding can only be conducted by a licensed person.

Ceremony (wedding): the actual event of marrying you both. 

Cocktail hour: a gap between the wedding ceremony and the reception party. This is when many couples take coordinated group pictures with family members and friends

Corkage: the fees your venue might charge if you decide to provide your own drinks and serving through the venue staff, who uncorks them. It is billed per bottle.

Corsage: a floral piece worn on the wrist by the older women(mothers of the couple, aunts or grandparents) in the wedding party.

Day-of coordinator: a wedding vendor who works closely you – the couple- and sees to the smooth set-up and running of the wedding activities. Unlike the venue coordinator who is a staff of the venue and thus caters to its interests, the day-of/month of coordinator answers solely you (couple) and is there to ensure that your event goes without a hitch.

Dessert table: a display of different confectionery and sweets which are offered to guests, either in addition to a wedding cake or as a replacement, for dessert.

Destination wedding: a wedding celebration that is held in a city or country other than where the bride and groom live.

First look: a period on the wedding day when you both get to see each other and enjoy some private time before heading over for the wedding ceremony. Photographers and videographers tend to encourage this, as it provides the best opportunities to take great pictures.

Floor plan: a sketched presentation of how the general set-up would be per the layout of the event space. It captures where seats and tables would be, the dessert table, buffet stations, decorative items and other fixtures for the wedding, would be.

Gift registry: a list of items that you (the couple) selected as preferred wedding gifts. This is shared with your guests and is most times created at 1 or 2 department stores.

Guest count: this refers to the total number of guests you want at the wedding, both the ceremony and reception.

Guestlist: this is the actual list of people you’ve invited to your wedding. It’s usually used to create the seating arrangement.

Hen night: a party organized by your (the bride) friends to celebrate your last night of being ‘single’.

Hotel room block: a couple of rooms in a hotel that have been specifically reserved for the couple and their guests. This is done to help out of town guests easily find accommodation and has to be arranged ahead of the wedding day.

Hors d’orves: simple snacks offered during the cocktail hour to entertain guests.

Intimate wedding: a wedding with a small number of guests which may also pass on some common wedding traditions and trends.

Maid of honor: that close friend or family member who acts as your assistant or support especially on the wedding day, and often helps with the wedding planning and coordinates with other bridesmaids.

Music selection: a list of the preferred songs you (the couple),  share with the deejay to include in your playlist for the reception party.

Officiant: also known ad celebrant. The official who actually marries you.

Photography list: a list that orders how the photographs are to be taken. The photographer and coordinator use this as a guide when calling people for your photos.

Preferred vendors: a list of vendors that a venue is comfortable working with and recommends to the couple to hire. This is based on previous working relationships and shared values or standards.

Processional: the entrance of your wedding party into the chapel or ceremony venue before the wedding ceremony begins.

Reception party: the party held after your wedding ceremony has been conducted. This is often held at a different venue if the wedding was at a church. Many couples are beginning to use the same venue for both the ceremony and reception, by having the wedding ceremony first and then flipping the room set-up afterward, to set up for the party.

Rehearsal: a trial run of what the wedding ceremony would look like. The wedding party practice how they enter, walk down the aisle and take their positions for the event.