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Wedding terminology A-Z: The lingo you need to know before your big day

From corkage to pomander, here's everything you need to know

Rachel Avery

Planning the wedding of your dreams can be both magical and perpetually confusing. Faced with a barrage of wedding lingo which you may not understand can be quite exhausting, but our handy guide is here to help. Whether you are having a small ceremony amid the coronavirus pandemic, or are planning your big day for later down the line, you'll need to get to grips with the vocabulary. From what a wedding breakfast actually is to why you need a charger plate, here is everything you need to know about wedding terminology…  

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Appliqué

Often heard when talking about wedding dresses – this term is used when lace is overlaid onto a dress, creating a 3D effect.

Boutonniere

Also known as buttonhole, this is referring to the small spring of flowers affixed to a lapel. This is typically worn by the groom and other males within the bridal party. The colours and flower types usually match the bride's bouquet.

Bridegroom

It's not a hybrid word to describe the happy couple, but actually a more traditional way to describe the groom.

Celebrant

Anyone who performs and officiates the formal ceremony – this can be a religious figure or a humanist celebrant.

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Charger

Not the type you require to charge your phone, but the styled-up plate of a place setting which lies on your wedding breakfast table.

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Wedding tables are usually styled up with charger plates

Corkage

This term may be used by your wedding venue as it is the charge venues sometimes give to serve your own wine.

Cummerbund

This is a thick waist sash worn by men wearing a formal dinner suit – it is usually made from a silky material.

mens-suit-wedding

A cummerbund is worn by some grooms to add another luxe layer to their look

Favour

When it comes to weddings, a favour comes in the form of a small gift for your guests. This is usually served at the wedding breakfast, but can also be a welcome or parting gift.

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Pomander

A small ball of flowers usually held by flower girls.

Procession

This simply means the process of the bride and bridal party walking down the aisle.

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Stationery

We're not talking notepads and pens here – stationery is the term used to describe the paper-related wedding items such as invites, save the dates, place cards, seating plan etc.

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Tablescape

If you know your way around Instagram you will have seen a tablescape or two – this essentially just means the overall style of your table as a whole – including place settings, centerpieces and any other decoration.

tablescape-wedding
The tablescape of dreams with a gorgeous view

Toastmaster

Also sometimes referred to at the master of ceremonies, this is someone who basically hosts the wedding – they announce the toasts (hence the name), they also introduce the newlyweds when they enter the wedding breakfast, they organise the guests for photographs and generally keep the day ticking along nicely.

Topper

Referring to the display on top of your wedding cake, this can be a traditional couple figurine or something more modern like laser-cut lettering. 

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Train

We aren't talking modes of transport here, as your bridal train refers to the length of fabric which extends out along the floor behind you.

grace-loves-lace-wedding-dress-martini
The Martini dress from Grace Loves Lace has a jaw-dropping train

Tulle

A material you will more than likely come across when wedding dress shopping. This net-like fabric is what they use in princess-esque wedding dresses.

Usher

Unless the singing sensation Usher is your wedding entertainment, you will be seeing ushers of a different kind. Where brides have bridesmaids, the groom gets ushers - and it is usually their job to show people to their places at the ceremony.

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Wedding breakfast

Eggs won't be required for this breakfast as it means the first meal you have after you are married. Royal wedding-day meals have included everything from Scottish lamb to salmon en croute.

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