A Glossary of Wedding Terms You Need to Know

Once you dive into wedding planning you can sometimes feel like you’re learning a new language. As industry pros we know it can sometimes take a while to get a hold on the lingo, so we’ve put together a list of words you’ll be hearing often during your wedding planning journey. 

60s & 72s: This is shorthand for table sizes. 60” round tables fit up to 8 guests, 72” round tables fit up to 10 guests

Boutonniere: A single flower or small arrangement worn by the groom and the groomsmen on the left lapel of their jackets  

 Dirty Water Photography

Dirty Water Photography

Bustle: A bustle gathers up the extra fabric on your wedding dress to keep the hem from dragging on the floor or ground. “Bustling” the dress is done after the ceremony

Cake Topper and Cake Top: A cake topper refers to the decoration that sits on top of the cake while the cake top refers to the first tier of the cake itself, which is sometimes frozen and eaten by the couple on their one year anniversary 

 Cake by Three Sisters Bakery

Cake by Three Sisters Bakery

Charger: Nope, we’re not talking about your phone charger! Chargers are decorative plates that go beneath the dinner plate

Escort Card: Escort cards designate each guests’ name, table number, and meal choice. They are displayed on a table at the entrance to the reception room. These differ from Place Cards, which assign guests to specific seats and are already on the place setting when guests enter the reception room 

 Annmarie Swift Photography

Annmarie Swift Photography

Favors: Small gifts given to guests at the wedding as a thank you

FOB: Father of the bride

First Look: When a couple sees each other privately prior to the ceremony. Typically arranged by the photographer, a first look allows the wedding party to take formal portraits before guest arrival

Floor Plan: A visual layout of where the tables will go in the reception roo 

 A sample floor plan of the Grand Ballroom 

A sample floor plan of the Grand Ballroom 

Introductions: When the couple is formally introduced in public for the first time, this happens after Cocktail Hour once guests have found their seats in the reception room

MOB: Mother of the bride

MOH: Maid or Matron of Honor

Officiant: The individual who carries out the ceremony

Place Setting: Napkin, bread plate, butter spreader, salad fork, dinner fork, steak knife, dinner knife, water glass, champagne flute

Processional and Recessional: The wedding procession refers to the entrance of the bridal party and occurs in this order: Grandparents (if walking), MOB and escort, Parents of Groom, bridal party, ring bearer, flower girl, and culminating in the bride and her escort. The recessional refers to the formal exit of the wedding party and parents   

Ring Bearer: A small child, usually a boy, who is part of the procession. Note: please don’t give a small child your actual wedding rings to carry down the aisle  

Seating Chart: After you get back all of your RSVPs it’s time to compile the seating chart. Your seating chart should be arranged by tables and include your guests’ names, meal choices, and allergies

 The seating chart template we ask couples to fill out 

The seating chart template we ask couples to fill out 

Signature Drink: A signature cocktail or beverage is a fun way to put a twist on a classic cocktail. We recommend keeping the recipes simple in order to get through bar lines quickly

Tablescape: This refers to the overall look of the table, including elements like candles, runners, chargers, and china


Toasts: Speeches given before dinner service, typically given by the MOH and Best Man

Underlay and Overlay: Linen underlays go to the ground and overlays are a shorter linen tablecloth that adds another dimension of depth

Ushers: Not the same as groomsmen, your ushers are responsible for escorting guests to their seats for the ceremony and hand out programs

Vendors: Photographer, DJ, florist, videographer—anyone who will be onsite during the wedding


We hope this directory helps make sense of this (sometimes confusing) industry. And remember: during your wedding planning journey if you don't know what a word means never be afraid to ask!