Just like every industry, the wedding and event world has a Rolodex of lingo and jargon that can sound so foreign. For example, you sit down to talk to your florist about bouquets and he or she asks about the shape you like. “Umm, a round one,” you say. Then the florist starts mentioning terminology you’ve never heard – cascading, round, nosegay, hand-tied, insert the shoulder shrugging emoji here! The same can be said about every wedding vendor – invitations, catering, cake, rentals, you name it, everyone uses lingo that may not be common knowledge. We’ve come to the rescue and have put together a wedding term guide for every bride! Our list below defines many of the most popular terms you will hear, but doesn’t cover them all.
Common Cake Terms
Fondant: A type of wedding cake frosting that is smooth and almost porcelain-like. When you see photos of wedding cakes that look incredibly smooth, most likely it’s fondant.
Ganache: A rich chocolate that can be used as a filling or icing.
Groom’s Cake: Traditionally, it’s a gift from the bride to the groom that reflects his personality and tastes, so have fun with it! Just remember it’s completely optional.
Kitchen Cake: An undecorated wedding cake, similar to a sheet cake, designed to be kept in the catering area and cut into slices for serving. Typically, kitchen cakes are less expensive than a tiered cake. Just FYI, most bakeries have a minimum serving requirement before they allow you to order kitchen cakes.
Sugar Flowers: Artificial flowers made out of gum paste that can look stunningly real! If your favorite blooms are out of season (aka – peonies), sugar flowers are a great alternative.
Do you have a cake tasting coming up? Here are some tips and tricks!
Common Catering Terms
Banquet Event Order: Also known as a BEO, it is a contract that outlines every detail of the event. The complete menu, beverages and setup will be listed on the BEO.
Cake Cutting Fee: Some caterers, restaurants and reception venues charge a fee to cut and serve the cake. It can range anywhere from $1-$5+, depending on where you are getting married. Be sure to ask about this when touring venues or interviewing caterers. The fee can quickly add up for larger weddings.
Food and Beverage Minimum: This is the minimum food and beverage amount you are obligated to meet by the terms of your catering contract. It’s commonly referred to as F&B minimum. Typically, the F&B minimum is dependent on the day of the week and month of the year. For example, a Saturday evening event in September is going to have a higher F&B minimum than a Friday evening event in February.
Intermezzo: A way to cleanse the palate in between courses. Typically, it’s something light and refreshing, such as a sorbet.
Service Charge: A fee that is added to the bottom line of your BEO or catering contract. It’s often mistaken as gratuity, but really it covers the overhead and administration costs.
Common Floral Terms
Cascade: The name is exactly what you think! This style of bouquet looks like a waterfall of flowers and greenery.
Hand-tied: A loosely tied bouquet that is less uniform in nature. Typically, this style of bouquet has a more organic feel and is tied together with a ribbon.
Nosegay: A bouquet style that is a compact cluster of flowers, tightly wrapped and cut to one uniform length.
Posy: A smaller round bouquet style that is perfect for bridesmaids, Jr. bridesmaids and flower girls.
Pomander Ball: Also known as a kissing ball. It is a round ball of flowers usually held up by a loop of ribbon. It is typically used for flower girls or hung on chairs at the ceremony.
Do you have favorite flowers, but not sure if they will be in season? Take a peek at our seasonal floral guide.
Common Invitation Terms
Belly Bands: A chic wrap for the outside of your invitation suite and a perfect place for your monogram.
Deckled Edge: Think of handmade paper. Deckled edge wedding invitations have uneven edges and gorgeous texture.
Foil Pressed: Ever notice paper or invitations with shiny rose gold text? It probably has been foil pressed! It is a unique process that presses real foil onto your paper.
Invitation Suite: The complete package of all of the pieces included in your invitation. Typically, there is the invitation, an RSVP card, an RSVP envelope and the outer envelope. Most people also include a details card with hotel room block information, the wedding website, directions and other important details.
If you have any questions on what to include or how to word something, our invitation etiquette guide may have the answers.
Spot Calligraphy: When important words on an invitation suite or other paperie items are written in calligraphy and the rest is in a type font.
Common Rental Terms
Charger: It’s the plate to hold the smaller plate! Chargers are larger plates that act as a base for salad plates, soup bowls and the main course.
Floor Length Linen: You guessed it, they are linens that hit the floor! It’s worth noting that if you don’t have the correct size, the linen may not touch the ground. Many venues include white, black or ivory linens in their rental fee, but they may not be floor length. Be sure to check!
Overlay Linen: A linen that is used to partially cover a tablecloth. Typically, these are specialty linens such as lace or sequins.
Pin-spot: Focused beams of white light projected onto tabletop focal points, such as centerpieces and the cake table.
Uplighting: Small lighting units that are placed on the floor around the perimeter of your venue. The lights will illuminate the walls with a desired color and transform the ambiance of your venue.
While we put together an extensive wedding term guide, there are several other words you may run across during the planning process. We would love to add to our wedding term guide! What words did you Google while planning your wedding or event? We would love to hear!