Wedding Lingo - 101

Updated: Sep 18

Be the Savvy Bride That Knows Exactly What These Vendors Are Talking About





If you are just learning about weddings and the industry, I'm going to open the door a bit and show you into our house. Take off your shoes, too and get comfy. Figuratively, of course! Here's all the wedding lingo I think you should probably learn. Some of them you might know, and some of them you probably never even heard of.


General Lingo


All-Inclusive - We love an all-inclusive venue. This means they do tables, chairs, linen, catering, sometimes centerpieces or bar service. Like, The Omni La Mansion Del Rio. That's awesome! It takes the stress level down because you are not hunting for fifty-eleven vendors to fill X, Y, and Z. It's just one! Now-if they say they have a venue coordinator, that's not the same thing as me (A wedding planner, designer, and coordinator)!!


Naked Venue - Now that's something you don't hear every day. And it's exactly what it sounds like. Your venue is naked! That means you have to bring the stuff to dress it up. Tables, chairs, linens, catering, and so much more. That's when you would want a wedding planner. Desperately!!


Day-of Coordinator - In this industry, there is no such profession where a person just shows up on the day of to help coordinate. Coordination is a skill, there's a flow, and there is a way it has got to be. Your amazing coordinator should be pulling out the contracts and viewing and reading, and calling to verify each one to make sure the obligations are being met. We create a timeline where you imagine the day of events and the way they are positioned throughout the night. We are experienced in wedding mishaps. I've handed meltdown moments, had a bridesmaid's hem unfinished, groom stuck in traffic during the ceremony, and even the roof leaking! But I am prepared to do what it takes to get the show back on the road. It is our specialty to be there for you. Not just as the reception venue, but at your church/ceremony site where you walk down that aisle.


First Look - This is a new thing! Photographers are taking photos of who do first looks allow for the day to be a lot smoother. You aren't spending all of the day or your cocktail hour taking photos. You'll have each other's genuine reactions of the moment you see each other, without it being the in front of everyone.


Cocktail Hour - The hour where you literally have cocktails. This is necessary if you are not doing a first look. When will you be able to find the time for photos after the ceremony?


Hors d'oeuvre - Basically the food you eat during cocktail hour while everyone is still chatting and catching up. They are usually finger foods being delivered on a platter for your guests to pick up and eat with their hands.


Processional - Basically, the beginning of a ceremony. It includes the first wedding song and entry of the groom + officiant and all the walks through.


Recessional - Basically, the end of the ceremony. Also including the last wedding song and final walk-through of the new bride and groom and wedding party.


Save the Dates - These are invitations that help your guests plan for that day/week/month. Especially if they are out of town. Half of my bride and grooms do these kinds of invites, and most of the time it's for the guests who have the plan a flight, rent a car, stay at a hotel, or a combination of the two. It also helps your guests financially plan for the gifts and trips for the weekend! These can be sent a year out to 6 months. After that, you should probably just send a wedding invite. These things get pricey!!


Boutonniere - The little flower thing that goes on a tuxedo chest.


Calligraphy - The pretty handwritten font that goes on wedding signs, invitations, and other wedding stationary.


Corsage - Like at prom when you'd wear it around your wrist. It's pretty traditional for the mother and grandmother of the bride and groom wear one pinned to her chest.


Open Bar - Means anyone can just come in and drink and the tab is already paid for by someone else. Usually the couple or the parents.


Cash Bar - Meaning in order for guests to drink, they will have to do it on their dime.


Dry Wedding - A dry wedding means the wedding will not be serving any sort of alcohol to their guests.


Stationary - Stationary is the fancy word for paper goods like invites, place cards, menus, etc.


Bustle - The part of a dress that has to be pinned up so that the bride doesn't have to hold her train up for the entire night.


A, B, C Guest list - This is where the couple decides to have a classism approach to their guest list invites. Guest list A is given the invites first. If someone says they cannot attend, they notify the B list by sending them an invite. Once the B list is covered, you then start inviting the C listed guests.


Family Style Dinner - I think of this like a Thanksgiving dinner. This is when your guests serve themselves the food at the table. There will be a lot of, "Will you please pass the ____?"


White Glove Service - This is the most elegant looking. Servers are dressed more formally and wear white gloves as they serve each guest their meals. This extra special care creates a fine dining experience for each and every guest.




Photography Lingo


Light and Airy - This is a kind of style of photography that brings the dreamy white style to your wedding photos. Best used in the sunny months where the light is best.


Moody Photography - If your wedding is in the Fall or Winter, you might lean toward the style of photography that is darker, more dramatic, with richer tones.


Vivid Color - True to color, no filters needed, and vivid. These are traditional photos with an added elegance and timelessness.


Dress Code Etiquette


Semi-Formal - Think: You aren't going to a ball, but this isn't an ordinary event. Open toed heels, fitted style dresses, semi glam, and less polished looks. Men can wear their laid back jacket coats with slacks. No suit or tuxedo needed.


Black Tie - This is a real formal event. Floor length dresses. Full on glam. Tuxedo ready. Slicked back hair. Men wear black waist coats. This is a party that is happening at night. Because why would you glam in a floor length gown during the day? lol


White Tie - Even more formal than black tie. Think: Royalty. Ball gowns. Men wear white waist coats. Crested coats. Jewel toned get-ups. Bring out the diamonds for this one.


Cocktail Style - Pretty much what you'd wear to an upscale downtown bar is what comes to mind for me. Short dresses are welcome, a pressed button down with an unbuttoned jacket, comfortable shoes.


Casual - Jean jacket with a cute summer dress and some wedges would be nice with this one. Men - break out the khakis or nicer dark colored jeans.


Dressy Casual - Elevate your everyday look just a bit. Wear those nicer earrings, slap a smokey eye, wear a slinky dress, etc. Men can get away with just a nice button down shirt and some slacks.


Beach Formal - Lighter colored suits definitely apply here. Tan, grey, cream, white, or any other lighter color would look so great. Women can get away with s short, flowy dress or a nice blouse with a skirt. You know, something with beachy vibes.



Well, there it is! I hope that helps you navigate through the wedding world a little bit better! If not, at least you learned a thing or two... right?


Take care, loves!


Getting Married in San Antonio? Let's chat, I'd love to help!

Shoot me an email to the email address below or click here to take my planning questionnaire.

Stephanie@SweetGardeniaWeddings.com



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