Wedding terminology couples planning a wedding need to know


If you’re recently engaged or planning a wedding, you’ll soon learn about the unusual yet remarkable lingo used in the wedding and events industry! From corkage, elopements, and dry hire to tablescapes and monograms, planning a wedding could mean learning a totally new vocabulary which might be a tad confusing, especially for couples doing it for the very first time! Fear not because this blog was written to help clear up any confusion and break down the jargon.

  • Boutonniere or Buttonhole – This refers to the small assortment of flowers that go onto the lapel of the groom and other male members of the wedding party & family. The arrangement usually mirrors the bride/bridesmaid’s bouquet but can also be unique.
  • Canapé – Canapés are classed as small bite-sized pieces of food that tend to be served during the drinks reception or cocktail hour before the main meal. They are usually small enough to be eaten with one hand so that a drink can be held in the other. 
  • Celebrant – Definitely a big trend for 2023 (check out the Wedding trends to look out for in 2023 blog), a celebrant is a person who officiates the wedding ceremony and has the power to announce you ‘married’!
  • Corkage – This is a charge some venues apply for bringing your own alcohol and in some cases, non-alcoholic beverages too. 
  • Day of coordinator – This is a person who comes on board in the final weeks leading up to the wedding and ensures the smooth running on the day of your event including the logistics and supplier arrangements. 
  • Dry hire – This refers to hiring a venue, or space, on its own without the venue providing any of the usual venue services such as catering, staffing, and bar. Dry hire is really just hiring the space, allowing you to outsource other elements of the wedding. 
  • Elopement – Elopements are intimate, private ceremonies where the couple decide to tie the knot alone or with very few witnesses.
  • Family style service This food service style is one where guests are seated at a table and bowls of various options are served as a shared meal. Great for building relationships and fostering dialogue between guests.
  • Favours – These are thank you gifts couples often give to guests usually placed on each place setting in order to commemorate the occasion.
  • Maid of Honour – Typically a close ‘single’  female friend who stands by the bride on the wedding day.
  • Matron of Honour – Same as above but in this case the person is ‘married’.
  • Monogram – A distinctive logo associated with the couple and their wedding. Can be the couple’s initials or family crest/emblem and can be used across multiple elements of the wedding such as decor, signage, as well as on favours.
  • Mood board – A collection of images that reflect the overall wedding motif and theme which includes textures, colours, design concepts and so on. It helps guide the styling and vision for the day.
  • Planner – A wedding planner assists you with the overall planning, design and management of your Special Day and walks with you every step of the way, basically bringing the day to life through careful curation! From budget creation/tracking and venue sourcing to helping you select the perfect wedding motif (theme) and working with the right suppliers plus reviewing contracts, the benefits of working with a wedding planner are vast. 
  • Signage – This refers to any signage that is required during the day such as the welcome sign, and seating plan.
  • Shot list – This is a checklist of pictures,  given to or provided by the photographer, which needs to be captured throughout the day. From getting ready photos to the first look, room reveal and cake-cutting images, this list maps out the must-have shots you’d like to have of your special day.
  • Stationery suite – This refers to all the wedding stationery needed for your Big Day. This includes invites, save the dates, itinerary, maps, menus, programs, and envelopes.
  • Tablescape – This describes the styling of your wedding tabletop and essentially is the collective arrangement of the table setting including plateware, crockery and glassware, flowers/ornaments,  centrepieces, and linen.
  • Unplugged ceremony – This is a wedding ceremony where the couple ask guests put their mobile phones, cameras, and any other devices away.
  • Venue coordinator – Usually a person who works at the venue and is dedicated to ensuring all things, from a venue standpoint, are taken care of. This includes things like opening the venue, ensuring tables and chairs are set up and that facilities are clean plus venue safety. They are not responsible for putting together the wedding day timeline, decor set up, or liaising with suppliers
  • Wedding Breakfast – Undoubtedly one of the most confusing terms in wedding lingo but this describes the late afternoon/evening meal the couple and their guests have after the wedding ceremony, typically during the reception. It’s noted as a ‘breakfast’ as it’s the first meal the couple partake in after getting married.

There’s your whistle stop run-through of the different wedding terms you might encounter on your wedding planning journey. Of course, I haven’t covered everything but do send in recommendations of any further terms you’d like to know more about via email ( As always, please don’t hesitate to ask your wedding supplier or planner if there is something that doesn’t make sense. There are honestly no silly questions or any type of judgement! If you’ve found this blog helpful, don’t forget to share it with others online using the share function below. If you’d like support with planning your upcoming celebration of love, check out the services the PV team offer and let’s work together!  

Photo credit: Ben Achana Photography

If you found this useful, share this!