All the Wedding Vow Lingo you need to know
When you begin planning a wedding, you’ll be surprised by how many different words, expressions and terms you’ve never heard of before on your way to saying your wedding vows. Before you stare blankly at the florist as they question whether you’d like a “nosegay” or “tablescape,” we’ve put together a glossary of some of the more obscure, confusing wedding terminology to help get your head around the different lingo before diving into your wedding planning journey.
Applique: Ornamental needlework made from one type of material then sewn on top of a different type of material. A handy term to know when shopping for bridal gowns.
Arbor: A shelter, arch or canopy made of branches/wood and flowers under which the couple stands during the wedding ceremony. Especially popular with boho style weddings.
Blusher Veil: The smaller portion of a bridal veil that’s worn over the face of the bride as she walks down the aisle and sometimes during the ceremony.
Boutonniere: A flower or small floral arrangement that goes in the lapel or buttonhole of the groom and groomsmen’s jackets (also commonly known as a “buttonhole”).
Cardstock: A word used to describe the texture of paper that’s thicker and more durable than normal writing paper but not as thick or inflexible as cardboard. Cardstock is the type of material typically used for wedding invitations, place cards, menus, etc.
Cathedral Veil: A long, dramatic veil worn by the bride that cascades from the crown of their head to the train of the gown. Cathedral veils typically require the help of the bridesmaids to manoeuvre and are mostly worn in church weddings or more formal ceremonies.
Celebrant: A person with legal power to perform a wedding ceremony in Australia. You can view our list of recommended NSW celebrants here.
Drop Waist: A style of waistline on a dress where the waistline is slightly elongated for positioning around the hips rather than the waist.
Handfasting: You may have witnessed this before if you’ve attended a non-religious wedding. Handfasting is a ceremony where the bride and grooms’ hands are tied together using rope, string or ribbons to signify the tying of their union together.
Handle Wrap: The piece of ribbon, fabric or other material that’s wrapped around the stem of a flower bouquet to hold it together.
Fascinator: A decorative hair accessory typically consisting of feathers, flowers, lace or beads that’s worn to the side of the head (think Melbourne Cup style!).
Fingertip Veil: A traditional bridal veil that reaches the bride’s fingertips when her hands are resting at her sides. This is the most commonly worn style of veil and goes well with most styles of bridal gowns.
Garland: An elaborate woven strand of flowers used to decorate pews, doorways or aisles, or a full circle of flowers worn in the hair (also known as a flower crown).
Gobo: A customised shield used in front of a light source to generate a design that displays on the floor, wall or ceiling. When used in weddings, a gobo typically displays the name of the newlywed couple and the date of their marriage.
Maid of Honour: A close friend or family member (typically a sister) with the highest responsibility of bridesmaid’s duties, who stands closest to the bride during the ceremony.
Nosegay: A small bouquet of flowers often given to the mother of the bride and groom prior to the ceremony.
Place Cards: Printed cards that are placed at each table setting to inform guests where they are supposed to sit during the reception.
Pomander: A round floral arrangement that’s tied to a piece of ribbon and carried by flower girls instead of a basket of flower petals.
Receiving Line: No, it’s not an American football term – a receiving line is where the newlyweds and their immediate families (typically just the parents) welcome guests as they enter the room before a wedding dinner. This isn’t practiced often anymore but may still be part of more traditional weddings.
Stationery Suite: A term to describe all the different pieces of stationery you’re using for your wedding, including save the date cards, invitations, RSVP cards, thank you cards and any other pieces of information included within.
Sweetheart Neckline: The front neckline of a dress that’s shaped like the top of a heart – a very popular choice in bridal gowns.
Tablescape: Another word for a table centrepiece or table arrangement.
Topiary: A sculpture made out of shrubbery or flowers.
Tulle: Soft silk, cotton or nylon netted material used in bridal gowns and veils.
Typography: The visual style or appearance of any written matter.
Usher: Although mostly used in American lingo, an usher is a man selected by the groom to help show guests to their seats for the wedding ceremony. These days, this duty is typically assigned to the groomsmen.
Writing Wedding vows that wow wow wow
Keeping the romance alive whilst planning your wedding
Getting your wedding flowers right
Our engagement ring guide could also be of use!