Photo by Cindy Vatavuk

Wedding terminology that can help couples make more informed choices:

• Blusher: A short, single-layer veil that covers the bride’s face before the ceremony.

• Boutonnière: A single flower bud worn by the men in the bridal party.

• Canapés: Bite-sized appetizers served during the cocktail hour of a reception.

• Civil ceremony: A marriage ceremony conducted by a council official or justice of the peace at a municipal location rather than in house of worship.

• Cocktail hour: Typically an hour-long interlude between the wedding ceremony and the main dinner of the reception. Guests have time to arrive and mingle before being seated.

• Corkage fee: A fee some establishments charge to allow guests to bring their own wine.

• Dais: A podium or platform raised from the floor where the bride and groom are seated.

• Deposit: A percentage of the total cost of service given to a vendor to secure a date for their services.

• Dragées: Round, small edible balls of sugar that appear on wedding cakes.

• Escort (seating) cards: Printed cards that direct reception guests to their seats.

• Fondant: A sweet, plyable product used to decoratively cover layered cakes. It can be used in lieu of straight buttercream.

• Handle wrap: Ribbon or fabric that wraps around the stems of a bouquet the bride and wedding party carries.

• Maid/matron of honor: The title given to the woman who assists the bride and stands closest to her at the altar. “Maids” are those who are unmarried, while “matrons” are women who are.

• Master of ceremonies: An individual who will work with the DJ or band to announce the various components of the wedding reception.

• Nosegay: A small bouquet or flower arrangement typically given to the mothers of the bride and groom before the ceremony.

• Processional/Recessional: Musical pieces that mark the entrance and exit from the wedding ceremony.

• Receiving line: A line of the key people in the wedding who welcome and greet guests.

• Stationery: All of the paper products used at the wedding, including invitations, programs and enclosures.

• Tablescape: A word that describes the multiple components of centerpiece designs.

Learning some basic wedding terminology can simplify wedding planning.