Are you confused by all those different words and terms you keep hearing as you start to plan your wedding?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
A breakfast, in the middle of the day? A morning suit, when your ceremony isn’t until 2pm? And just what on earth does a page boy do?
These are questions we get all the time. Until you start planning a wedding, you don’t realise how much you don’t know.
But fear not, we’ve put together a handy A-Z of wedding terms. A glossary of all the things you’ll need to know to create your dream day. Let’s start with the A’s:
AISLE – This is the path in the middle of your ceremony area that the bridal procession will be walking down – in between your guests. You may want to decorate it in accordance with your theme.
ASCOT TIE – One of the most formal ties for the groom and groomsmen. It sits behind an open shirt collar and is tied loosely with a wide, simple knot.
BOMBONIERE – A fancy Italian name for wedding favours
BOUTONNIÈRES – The formal French name for buttonholes.
BUTTONHOLES – These are the small flower decorations – usually just one single flower – that the men in the wedding party wear. Usually on the left lapel of your suit jacket. They’re typically worn by the groom, best man, groomsmen, father of the bride, and father of the groom.
BUSTLE – If you’re planning on big wedding dress with a long train (see below) you’ll want to know what this means. It refers to the method of bustling up your dress and securing it with hooks, buttons and ribbon to let you move around more freely.
CANAPES – Those little nibbles of food you might wish your guests to munch on during the reception, while everyone is enjoying drinks, conversation and fun.
COCKTAIL HOUR – A very American term but creeping into British weddings, it refers to the time after your ceremony. We usually just call it the reception.
CORKAGE – Some venues allow you to bring your own drinks – but they’ll charge you a corkage fee to open them.
CORSAGE – This is the small flower arrangement worn on the wrist – usually by the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom.
CRAVATE – Another formal, loose-fitting necktie. It ‘fluffs up’ a little bit out of the shirt. It’s the original version of the more modern bow tie and common tie.
CUMMERBUND – A wide, decorative sash for men to wear around their waist. It usually matches a bow tie and is worn with formal, black tie attire. Like tuxedos.
FAVOURS – The traditional little gifts that the bride and groom hand out to every guest. You’ll usually find them with the place settings at the wedding breakfast. Often small, they can be anything you’d like. Common options are chocolates, sugared almonds, flower seeds or mini plants, miniature drinks or little trinkets and keepsakes.
FLOWER GIRL – A young member of the wedding party, the flower girl traditionally walks before the bride down the aisle, sprinkling flower petals to line the way.
GARLAND – A long line of flowers or greenery, twirled together to form a rope. You might run them down a long table, link chairs in your ceremony area, or wrap them around the oak beams in our barns. They can be hung from doorways or decorate stairs and railings. The bride may even wear a thin, delicate garland around her head.
GARTER – A piece of bridal lingerie worn under the wedding dress on the thigh, the tradition goes that during the reception the groom should remove it with his teeth (or hands) and toss it to the crowd. Bachelors aim to catch it for good luck in marrying next. (It’s just like the bouquet toss).
GOWN – Not a dressing gown for lazing around the house in, the bridal gown is the formal name for the wedding dress. If you’re the bride, you’ll spend a lot of time looking at these. If you’re the groom, you’ll hear all about it but won’t see it until the big day.
GROOMSMEN – Key members of the wedding party supporting the groom. His equivalent to bridesmaids (though they don’t need to be men!)
MASTER OF CEREMONIES – The person chosen to announce the happily married couple at the wedding breakfast and introduce each speaker.
MORNING SUIT – No, not something for a certain time of day, it’s one of the most formal types of suits for the groom and groomsmen. They’re sometimes referred to as tails (though there are style differences between black and white coat tails and a traditional morning suit).
NOSEGAY – A small bunch of flowers, sometimes called a posy. As the bride, you may choose this arrangement for something smaller and simpler than a large bouquet, or you may have your bridesmaids carry nosegays.
OFFICIANT – The person who’ll conduct your wedding ceremony. They’re sometimes known as celebrants or registrars. At Heaton House Farm, a registrar will conduct your ceremony – and they’re all super lovely.
PAGE BOY – A young member of the bridal party who traditionally follows the bride down the aisle, helping with the train of her wedding dress (usually carrying it at the end).
POMANDER – A small ball of flowers. This is often carried by the flower girl, or you could hang pomanders around your venue – on the edge of chairs or from the roof.
POSY – See Nosegay
PREPARATION ROOM – The perfect place for the bridal party to get ready before the big moment. We have a lovely, dedicated room right here at Heaton House Farm. Grooms – this is the place to avoid!
PROCESSION – A term used to describe the bridal party and the moment they all walk down the aisle at the start of the ceremony.
PROCESSIONAL – The music you’ll walk down the aisle to. You know the common themes, but you can pick any song you’d like.
RECEIVING LINE – A formal name given to the moment when the married couple welcomes all the guests – usually at the start of the reception or the wedding breakfast. The two of you stand at a door, and your guests line up to greet your one by one.
RECESSIONAL – The music played when the newly married couple walk back up the aisle at the end of the ceremony.
REGISTRAR – See Officiant.
RING BOY – A young member of the wedding party – usually a boy but could equally be a girl – who’s in charge of carrying the rings down the aisle and bringing them forward.
SWEETHEARTS TABLE – If you want a more intimate setting for your wedding breakfast, a sweethearts table is a place for just the two of you to sit at, and time spent together to enjoy the big day.
TOASTMASTER – See Master of Ceremonies
TOP TABLE – The traditional set-up for your wedding breakfast, where the bridal party – or the core members of it, will sit. This could be the married couple and the parents, or it might be the bridesmaids and groomsmen – or a combination of your choosing.
TOSSING THE BOUQUET – The moment when the bride turns her back on the crowd and tosses her bouquet over her head. Whoever catches it is said to be marrying next.
TRAIN – Not a way to arrive at your wedding, but the long flowing part of the bridal gown.
USHER – Another name for the groomsmen
VOWS – A pretty important part of your wedding ceremony, where you commit your love to each other.
WEDDING RECEPTION – This is the time right after you’ve gotten married. Traditionally you’ll serve drinks and perhaps some canapes. Photos will be taken, there’ll be lots of smiling and chatting, and a great time will be had by all.
WEDDING BREAKFAST – It’s not eggs and bacon (unless you’d like it to be!). It’s the first meal of your life as a happily married couple, so it’s called the wedding breakfast. This is the traditional sit-down part of your wedding (though you could keep it casual if you wanted) where the main meal is served to your day guests.
Any terms we’ve missed that you’re not sure about? Get in touch and we’ll add them in.