The A to Z of Wedding Planning Terminology Explained


As a newly engaged bride or groom-to-be, wedding planning can often involve learning a whole new vocabulary!

From charger plates to corkage fees and e-sessions, you might be confused at some of the wedding lingo being thrown around by those in the industry. Which is completely understandable for somebody planning a wedding for the very first time!

But, we think wedding planning should be kept super simple – so we’re here to clear up the confusion for you by explaining some of the most common wedding terms below. Keep reading for a complete wedding glossary as we break down the jargon.

Photo by Blush Wedding Photography

Aisle Runner: A long piece of fabric (or several pieces joined together) rolled down the centre of the ceremony aisle, creating a walkway for the bridal party.

Black Tie: A wedding dress code requiring guests to wear very formal attire, such as tuxedos and evening gowns.

Black Tie Optional: Another wedding dress code, slightly less formal than black tie. Guests are welcome to wear black tie attire, but can also opt for a dinner suit or cocktail gown.

Bonbonniere: A small gift for guests from the hosts – also known as “favours”.

Boutonniere: A small spray of flowers, or an individual flower/bud, worn on the lapel of a suit jacket. Also known as “buttonholes”. Commonly worn by the groom, groomsmen and parents.

Canape: A small “bite” of savoury food that can be eaten using one hand, usually served during cocktail hour or throughout a cocktail wedding reception.

Cascade Bouquet: An asymmetrical floral bouquet that trails loosely downwards. This effect is usually achieved using trailing foliage, blossoms or other greenery.

Charger: A purely decorative plate that sits underneath the dinner plate to create a “border” around it. Charger plates come in a variety of colours, materials and styles.

Corkage Fee: An additional charge from the venue (usually priced per person) for bringing your own alcohol. This is to cover the cost of pour-service and keeping beverages cool.

Corsage: A small spray of flowers usually worn on the wrist or attached to clothing, often seen on family members such as mothers and grandmothers.

Photo by Sebastien Hubner

Deckle Edge: Paper with a rough or feathered edge, often seen in wedding stationery.

E-session: Another way of describing an engagement photo shoot. Also known as “E-shoot”.

Escort Cards: Small individual cards displaying the name of each guest and their table number, usually presented at the reception entrance. Guests then choose their own seat at their designated table.

Feasting Style: A wedding menu style that involves shared plates or platters of food placed in the centre of the table for guests to serve themselves. Also known as “family style” or “share style”.

First Look: A photo opportunity taking place privately before the ceremony, capturing the moment the couple sees each other for the first time.

Flatlay: A styled photo taken from a birds-eye perspective, often used in wedding photography to capture stationery suites, rings and bridal accessories.

Head table: The table where the bridal party will sit during the wedding reception, also known as the “bridal table”. Head tables may also include parents or close family members.

Mood Board: A curated arrangement of images, colours, materials and text to showcase a particular style or concept. Often used by couples, wedding planners and stylists to create an overall wedding “vision”.

Naked Cake: A style of cake known for its lack of external frosting or fondant, showcasing the actual look and texture of the cake itself. Usually finished off with a minimal amount of buttercream and fresh flowers.

Photo by Mallory Renee Photo

PAX: Refers to a specific number of people. For example, a wedding venue may cater for up to 90 PAX.

Palette: A selection of colours that will be featured throughout your wedding styling.

Place Cards: Small individual cards with guest names, placed on a table to indicate their designated seat.

Place Setting: The set of crockery, cutlery, glassware and other tableware provided for each individual guest at their designated place at the table. Can also include decorative elements like charger plates and stationery.

Prelude: The music played prior to the wedding ceremony commencing, while guests are arriving and being seated.

Processional: The formal ceremony entrance of the wedding party (including groomsmen, bridal party, parents and bride). Also refers to the music played during this time, eg: the processional song.

Paperless Invitations: Wedding invitations sent to guests in a digital form. Also known as “E-invitations” or “digital invitations”.

Recessional: The formal exit of the wedding party after ceremony conclusion. Again, this also refers to the music being played during this time – the “recessional” song.

Runsheet: A central “master” document that covers the running of the wedding day from beginning to end, including timelines, supplier contact details, set-up details and responsibilities.

Photo by Sugar and Charm

Sheet Cake: An additional cake (usually long, flat and rectangular) served to guests for dessert from back-of-house, with a fake or smaller cake being displayed and used for the cake cutting.

Shot List: A “checklist” for your wedding photo requirements, allowing your photographer to ensure all of your must-have shots are captured. For example, photos with different family members, table details, bridal accessories.

Stationery Suite: Your complete set of wedding stationery, including invitations, save the dates, envelopes, menu, place cards, etc. Usually captured in a flat-lay.

Sweetheart Table: A small, intimate table for the newlyweds to sit during the wedding reception (usually in place of a bridal table).

Tablescape: A fancy way of describing the styling of your wedding tabletop. Your place settings, table flowers and centrepieces all make up your “tablescape”.

Vendor Meal: Additional meals you can arrange with your caterer/venue for wedding vendors who will be working on-site for an extended period, eg. your photographer, DJ or planner. Usually a slightly cheaper, pared-down meal that doesn’t often include entree/dessert/alcohol.

Wedding Hashtag: A dedicated hashtag (often a play on words using your names/surnames) that guests can include for any photos posted on social media. A great way to keep track of your wedding photos after the day!

Wedsite: A digital wedding website. WedSites are commonly used as a central “hub” to communicate wedding details to guests and provide additional information on things like venue directions, parking, transport and gift registries.

Photo by Saje Photography

So there you have it – an A-Z of some of the most frequently used wedding terms explained. Do you have any other wedding terms you’d like us to clear up? We’d love to hear from you over on Instagram, so feel free to get in touch with your burning wedding questions.

Don’t forget you can also find more wedding planning tips on our dedicated wedding blog to help you plan the perfect nuptials. We’re all about creating a simpler, less stressful wedding planning experience – without the confusion!