Wedding Dictionary With Words & Meanings (All Terms!)

Your personal lingo dictionary to understand who's who and what's what in a wedding

While there are many exciting elements to a wedding, some words and terms always cause confusion. If you've ever been confused by the common wedding words and phrases or who's who and what's what in a wedding, consider this guide a blessing. From what a wedding day involves to what bridesmaids do, our ultimate guide “Weddings 101: Wedding Dictionary With Terms & Meanings” is your personal wedding wiki to help you understand not only difficult wedding terms but also common wedding responsibilities.

How does this guide work?

We will start by explaining the wedding words and phrases related to marriages, ceremonies, and receptions. In the final piece, we will answer the most common wedding terms related to brides, bridesmaids, grooms, and groomsmen.

Pro Tip: Use our table of contents to navigate quickly to your favorite wedding term.

Take a cup of coffee and put your feet up because today you're going to graduate from wedding jargon school!

We have covered every possible wedding term from questions such as what involves on a wedding day to what is the purpose of a wedding cake, this guide will help you start planning and sorting all wedding matters in no time.

Wedding vs Marriage: What's the Difference?

Have you ever wondered about what's the difference between marriage and wedding? Most blogs seem to use them interchangeably, although they serve distinct purposes. Let us help you understand everything about weddings and marriages. Later on, we have explained most common words and phrases for wedding.

Wedding vs Marriage Whats the Difference
Weddings 101: Wedding Dictionary With Terms & Meanings

What is the difference between a wedding and a marriage?

A wedding is a ceremonial event that results in marriage. A marriage is a legally and culturally recognized partnership between two people who share a common love for each other and are often referred to as spouses (or life partners!).

What's a purpose of marriage?

A marriage establishes rights and obligations between the couple, as well as rights and obligations between their children and in-laws. Marriages take work, commitment, and love, but couples also need respect to be truly happy and successful.

Why marriage is important?

Marriage establishes a couple's commitment to caring for one another. Marriage promotes social bonding which is important to the development of a community or society.

How old is the term “marriage”?

According to theweek, the best available evidence suggests that marriage is about 4,350 years old term. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia.

What is an Engagement?

Engagement refers to a successful wedding proposal accepted by the bride by wearing an engagement ring. Engagement means both partners have committed to starting a family through a formal marriage ceremony.

What is a Marriage Proposal?

A marriage proposal is a moment when usually boyfriend asks his girlfriend for hand in marriage. The habit of getting down on one knee to propose dates back to medieval times. Furthermore, it is a gesture associated with prayer and respect.

Wedding Fun Fact

Did you know that in Mesopotamian times, marriage had very little to do with religion or love?

Ceremony 101

Everyone knows that a wedding is all about dedicating your life and love to your chosen one. You might be wondering about what a wedding ceremony involves or perhaps what events take place on “wedding day.” A wedding ceremony is a beautiful event that joins two people's passion, love, and care for each other for the rest of their lives. Let's give you a quick guide on the concept of a wedding, typical wedding day activities, responsibilities, and everything related to the ceremony.

What is a Wedding Ceremony?

A typical wedding is a ceremonial event at which two people's union is recognized in the eyes of society, either legally or religiously, depending on the ceremony. As a result, their union is called a marriage, and they are referred to as spouses.

What is involved at a Wedding Ceremony Day?

The wedding ceremony day involves wedding party entrance, welcome and readings, exchanging vows and rings, pronouncement with a couple's kiss, photography and gifts. Wedding ceremony activities may change depending on the culture, religion, and personal preferences. The marriage is usually pronounced publicly by a recognized officiant or celebrant.

What is a Wedding Officiant?

A wedding officiant is a person who leads a religious or social ritual, such as a wedding, naming or blessing, or funeral. They are registered and recognized by government or religious bodies. An officiant arrives an hour early, officiates your marriage, prepares the necessary paperwork, and then departs for the next event.

What's the difference between Officiant and Celebrant?

Wedding celebrants are the life-coach type professional officiants who are experienced with secular, spiritual, or interfaith ceremonies. While a wedding officiant leads the legal or religious ceremonies, celebrants also help couples plan their wedding ceremony. From writing vows, music selections and follow cultural or ethical boundaries, celebrants sometimes also provide premarital counseling.

What is the difference between Ceremony and Reception?

The purpose of a wedding ceremony is to officially recognize two people's union as a marriage. The wedding reception, on the other hand, is a gathering hosted by couple to celebrate their marriage.

What are Wedding Vows?

Wedding vows are the words exchanged by the couple during a wedding ceremony. Wedding vows express a couple's intentions and feelings towards each other, including history, love, and commitment.

What is Wedding Music?

Wedding music is the soundtrack of a wedding, which sets the mood for the ceremony. The music played throughout the ceremony is what truly makes it special for the bride and groom and their guests.

What are Wedding Rings?

Wedding rings or wedding bands refer to couple's love and commitment for each other. The exchange of wedding rings at wedding ceremony symbolizes a couple's vow to spend the rest of their lives together.

What is a Wedding Bouquet?

A wedding bouquet (also known as a bridal bouquet) is a bunch of flowers and greenery held by the bride as she walks down the aisle to get married. Taking the flowers is traditionally considered to bring luck and fertility. Many people believe that whoever catches the wedding bouquet will be the next to marry!

What is a Wedding Alter?

A wedding altar is a spot where couples exchange vows before the officiant declares their marriage legal. Traditionally, alters have been used as a place to make sacrifices.

What is a Wedding Aisle?

A wedding aisle is a walkway inside a cathedral or outside in a garden where guests sit on both sides. As part of the traditional wedding, the bride walks down the aisle with her father or a guardian.

What is a Destination Wedding?

Destination weddings often take place far away from the bride and groom's hometowns at a popular or favorite location, such as Disney World. Destination weddings are considered expensive weddings because not every family member or friend can afford to travel or stay there.

What is an Elopement?

Elopement, also known as “eloping,” is a sudden and secretive way of celebrating a wedding. Traditionally, eloping meant marrying without telling friends or family, but now eloping mostly refers to an intimate ceremony.

What is a Wedding Registry?

A bridal or wedding registry is a list of products that an engaged couple has chosen in advance for wedding guests to purchase from an online or retail store. More and more couples now opt for cash or honymoon fund as a wedding registry item.

What is a Wedding Color?

A wedding color refers to a combination of two or more color palettes that define the whole wedding decor, including dresses, backdrops, tables, chairs, and the aisle. The most popular wedding colors include fall wedding colors and winter wedding colors.

What is a Rehearsal Dinner?

The supper following the wedding rehearsal is known as the “Rehearsal Dinner.” The wedding party and extended family participate for the rehearsal dinner to practice their vows and speeches.

What is R.S.V.P?

R.S.V.P or répondez s’il vous plait is a French phrase which means please reply. The invitations and a card are sent out at least two months before the wedding. It should be returned to the bride and groom as soon as possible with the names of those who will be attending and their preferred meal selection.

What is an Appliqué?

When you first start looking for wedding dresses, you will hear this term. Appliqués are textured and frequently three-dimensional effects created by sewing pieces of lace onto a foundation fabric. Don't worry if you don't need one!

Wedding Planning 101

Wedding planning consists of several important decisions to ensure the wedding becomes the best and most memorable event while also staying within budget. Many people go for small wedding ideas to save money. Here's a list of a typical wedding planning responsibilities to begin with:

  • Set up a wedding budget
  • Choose wedding theme and colors
  • Shop wedding rings
  • Select wedding party members
  • Organize an engagement party
  • Make a wedding guest list
  • Book venue and vendors
  • Make a wedding registry
  • Send wedding invitations
  • Shop dresses and accessories
  • Sorting our legal matters
  • Plan honeymoon trip

If you're a soon-to-be couple, we suggest downloading our free wedding guide to start planning your wedding including tips and free templates.

Bonus Wedding Tip: Ensure to set a timeline and maintain open communication with your fiance and wedding party. You can use our wedding budget tracker spreadsheet to record all expenses.

Reception 101

Reception is all about celebrating a new life with family and friends. From cutting the cake to dancing and food and drinks, there are so many things around the reception that confuse new couples. Not to mention the reception venue, decor, and responsibilities often take the most time to plan and organize. If you're thinking about what to include and what to avoid at a wedding reception, here's our ultimate wedding reception guide to answer common questions.

Receptions 101: Couple enjoying their first dance at their wedding reception.
Wedding Dictionary With Terms & Meanings: Couple enjoying their first dance at their wedding reception.

What is the purpose of a Wedding Reception?

A wedding reception is the first formal gathering thrown by the newlyweds to celebrate with and entertain their guests. It is usually held right after the marriage ceremony or after a few days, depending on the wedding schedule.

Who hosts the Wedding Reception?

Couples host the wedding reception after their marriage to socialize with their wedding guests. Couple or their parents often pay for the reception depending on the culture or country.

What is involved at a wedding reception?

The wedding reception is all about celebrating the marriage as a newly wed couple. A reception involves cutting cake, sharing food and drinks, speeches and jokes, dancing, and favors with your personal wedding decor elements to set the mood for the couple, wedding party, and their guests.

Why do couples have a wedding cake?

A wedding cake is an old tradition with the purpose of wishing the bride good luck and fertility. The new couple take the first bites and serve them to their guests. Wedding cakes are typically served at wedding receptions following dinner.

What is the importance of wedding food?

Wedding food is served to satisfy the appetites of the wedding guests. Buffets are a popular wedding food option because they provide a casual dining experience.

What is a Wedding Charger?

A wedding charger is a large decorative item placed under the food plate to highlight the main dinner plate. A charger is not necessary at a wedding, but it uplifts the decor as an elegant item.

What is a Wedding Bonbonniere?

A wedding bonbonniere is an Italian name for an elegant tiny box used as a wedding favor to be handed to guests.

What is a Wedding Toast?

A wedding toast is a joyful speech to congratulate and wish the couple good fortune in their new life. A toast ends with everyone taking a sip of champagne or wine.

What is Wedding Cocktail Hour?

A wedding cocktail hour is the time between the marriage and reception when guests are getting ready for the reception by having some drinks and casual talks.

What are Escort Cards?

Wedding escort cards help the wedding guests with the seating arrangements. Escort cards are mostly shown as a seating chart with names corresponding to table numbers.

What are Wedding Favors?

Favors are small wedding gifts traditionally given to guests as a gesture of gratitude for attending a wedding. A wedding favor can be anything from a jar of candies to flower pots.

What is the First Dance?

The First Dance refers to the bride and groom dancing for the first time as a married couple, which they will remember for the rest of their lives. Following the bride and groom's dance, the bride and her father will have their turn, followed by the groom and his mother.

What is a Money Box?

In some cultures, it is a tradition to give cash to the newlyweds on their wedding day as financial support. A money box wrapped in white satin fabric is set up on a table for the guests to insert their envelopes, which usually include a monetary gift. Popular wedding registry sites also allow the collection of cash.

What is a Wedding Open Bar?

An open bar at a wedding means guests can enjoy alcoholic beverages for free. Some weddings limit the use of open bar services to save money.

What is a Receiving Line?

The bride and groom, their parents, and the wedding party form a receiving line. They will form a line outside the reception entrance to greet their guests. Furthermore, this is a fantastic opportunity to say hello and best wishes to the happy couple.

What is a Wedding Song?

Wedding songs refer to playing the songs for the first time after getting married. Wedding songs are part of the reception party.

Brides And Bridesmaids 101

So now that you know everything about a marriage, the wedding ceremony and the reception, let's jump onto the next wedding terms: brides and bridesmaids. From what they do to what they shouldn't do, these wedding terms and definitions will solve this mystery for you.

Ceremony 101: Bridesmaids attending bride at a wedding ceremony
Weddings 101: Bridesmaids attending bride at a wedding ceremony

Who is the Bride?

A bride is the most important person at weddings because she is the one marrying the groom to start a family and eventually changing her identity (if she wants to) and whole life. Becoming a bride is a beautiful moment in anyone's life.

What is the Bride's responsibility?

Traditionally, bride's responsibility has been to discuss the wedding planning matters such as budget and venue with fiance and family members. These days brides can do anything from organizing engagement parties to booking wedding vendors.

What is Bridal Party?

Bride's favorite people are called bridal party. The bridal party consists of the maid of honor (matron of honor if she is married) and the bridesmaids. A bridal party can also include mother of the bride and flower girl.

Who is the Bridesmaid?

The bride's attendants are known as bridesmaids. From ensuring the bride is calm to taking care of wedding tasks, bridesmaids are the ones who help the bride on her wedding day and afterwards.

Who is the Maid of Honor?

The Maid of Honor is an unmarried women leading the bridal party. She'll make sure the bride's dress is fluffed and not tangled as she walks down the aisle. Depending on assigned responsibilities, sometimes the Maid of Honor also organizes a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. She plays an important role throughout the wedding planning process from organizing bachelorette party to taking care of bride.

What is the difference between Matron of Honor and Maid of Honor?

A matron of honor is a married woman who leads the bridal party, while a maid of honor is an unmarried woman with the same responsibilities. You can request your close friend or relative to act as Matron of honor or Maid of honor.

What is a Wedding Dress Train?

The train on your wedding dress is an integral part of the wedding. The Maid of Honor usually takes way of the bride's train to make sure it stays untangled as she walks down the aisle.

What is a Wedding Veil?

The bride's head and features are hidden behind a veil. The practice of covering one's face with a veil dates back many years. Because it is considered bad luck for the husband to view the bride before the wedding, she wears a veil.

What is a Wedding Dress?

Wedding Dress or Bridal Gown is the traditional attire for the bride on her wedding day. Although white or ivory is the typical color of the wedding dress, any color is acceptable. Some brides forego the traditional white or ivory gown in favor of a more casual or formal attire.

What is the Wedding Shoes?

Wedding shoes refer to brides wearing shoes on their wedding day. Wedding shoes are considered an important part of bridal fashion but you can go for any types of shoes depending on your height and fashion taste.

What is Bridal Makeup?

A bridal makeup is an application of various things such as lipstick, eye shadow, and powder on the face and other body parts to look more attractive on a wedding day.

What is a Wedding Hairstyle?

A wedding hairstyle refers to the styling of the bride's hair to look gorgeous on her big day. Wedding hairstyles can also go for the whole bridal party. 

Who is the Flower Girl?

“Flower girl” refers to young girls tossing the petals during a wedding procession for the bride and groom to walk over next. The flower girl is typically a child between the ages of four and nine. Traditionally, children have participated in weddings as a flower girl or ring bearer.

What is Dress Bustle?

A bustle is a type of dress tailoring trick that uses loops, buttons, or ribbons to lift and tuck the train of a dress to make movement simpler. It is often used before dancing on the floor on wedding nights.

Groom and Groomsmen 101

The most popular guy on her big day is the groom. If you are wondering about confusing terms related to groom and groomsmen, this section will bust all myths for you. From groomsmen's responsibilities to ring bearer duties, we have covered everything so you can learn quickly and get back to your wedding planning.

Weddings Groom and Groomsmen terms and definitions
Weddings 101: Groom and Groomsmen terms and definitions

Let's start by understanding Groom's typical duties:

  • Choose the ring, though modern brides may also have input in this process.
  • Setting up the budget with bride and family
  • Choosing the best man, groomsmen, and any ushers for the wedding (if needed)
  • Deciding the wedding's theme and colors with bride and family
  • Choosing wedding party favors and gifts
  • Booking and paying for accommodations for his wedding party
  • Choosing a perfect gift for his bride
  • Helping bride with the wedding registry
  • Engaged couple choosing out wedding bands
  • Making sure the guest list in consultation with parents and friends
  • Work together to plan for a memorable honeymoon
  • Arranging and filing for a marriage license
  • Planning the logistics of making guests from the ceremony site to the reception venue.
  • Organization of a bachelor party or other event (if applicable)
  • Paying the officiant or having the best man offer the donation to the officiant
  • Participating in the reception's receiving line (if one has been set up) or making a point to personally meet each visitor beside the bride
  • During the rehearsal dinner and the reception, making sure to respond to each guest toast.
  • Participating in the first dance, dancing with the bride's mother, and dancing with the best man and maid of honor
  • Sharing a slice of cake with the bride

Who is Bridegroom?

Groom and bridegroom are interchangeable wedding terms. A bridegroom (or groom) is a man who is going marry bride or who just got married.

What is the responsibility of a Groom?

As the groom, you are in charge of selecting your best man, groomsmen, and ushers, if applicable. Working with his groomsmen is always the groom's obligation. Keep in mind that you'll need the same number of groomsmen as bridesmaids. Make room in your wedding party for your bride's brothers.

Who are the Groomsmen?

Groomsmen are the assigned attendents by the Groom to help him with the wedding planning and organizing. The groomsmen stand by the groom at the wedding altar along with the best man. Groomsman also performs the first speech at the wedding.

Who is the Best Man?

In a wedding, the best man acts as the groom's closest man. When it comes to the wedding preparations, the best man is always right at the groom's side to lend a helping way.

Who is Ring Bearer?

A ring bearer, or page boy, is a small child who carries the wedding ring down the aisle to the altar. Traditionally, children have participated in weddings as a ring bearer or flower girl.

What is Bach Party?

Bach Party of bachelorette party refers to a gathering that takes place ahead of wedding celebrations. Bach party means a weekend away with friends, a combined bach party with their fiancé, or a night out to celebrate the end of their “single era.”

What is Black Tie?

Black tie refers to the formal wedding dress code for guests. The wedding invitation usually specifies a black-tie dress code. Black Tie code means men dressed in a tuxedo and ladies in cocktail dress or a lengthy evening gown to show a formal setting.

What is the Black Tie Optional?

Black Tie Optional dress code refers to the slightly casual dress requirement for the wedding. Depending on the wedding theme, you can wear proper dress code.

What is a Boutonniere?

A Boutonniere or buttonhole is a small flower decoration placed on the left lapel near to the heart on tuxedo or suit jacket. Boutonnieres usually worn by groom and groomsmen.


That concludes our ultimate guide “Weddings 101: Wedding Dictionary With Words & Meanings,”. We hope this dictionary of the most common wedding words and phrases you'll encounter while organizing your big day will definitely help you get started as you plan your wedding. Don't forget to follow us on social media for the latest wedding inspiration.

About me


Seven years ago, I took a leap of faith and merged my organisational skills and love for all things wedding by starting this blog. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of sharing my insights, covering the latest trends, and offering practical how-tos, all aimed at simplifying your wedding experience.

Why weddings, you might ask?

Well, for me, weddings are more than just events; they are a tapestry of love stories, each unique and beautiful in its own way. With a blend of technical expertise and a keen eye for style, I bring a fresh perspective to the wedding scene, marrying (pun intended!) precision with creativity.

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