Wedding Terms 101

Blusher? Corkage fee? Processional vs. recessional? Here's how to talk the bridal talk.

  • Cake: Buttercream

    Cake: Buttercream

    The most common type of icing. It’s soft, creamy and sweet, and made of butter, sugar and milk. Your baker can use it to cover the outside of your cake and/or as a filling in between the layers.

    Photo Credit: Nikki Cole Photography

  • Cake: Fondant

    Cake: Fondant

    Icing made of sugar, gelatin, corn syrup and glycerin that has a firm yet tender texture and a smooth, porcelain-like finish. It’s more expensive than buttercream because decorating with it is more complicated and labor intensive.

    Photo Credit: Infiniti Foto

  • Cake: Royal Icing

    Cake: Royal Icing

    A hard, brittle and not-very-tasty type of icing made of sugar and egg whites. It’s used mostly for sculptural decorations, like roses, swirls and dots.

    Photo Credit: Memoire Studio

  • Catering: Canapé

    Catering: Canapé

    Any bite-size appetizer served on a small round of bread, cracker or vegetable, such as blinis with crème fraiche and caviar.

    Photo Credit: Belle Momenti Photography

  • Catering: Corkage Fee

    Catering: Corkage Fee

    Many caterers charge a fee per bottle of alcohol just to open it during your reception. The charge applies only if you have provided the alcohol yourselves instead of getting it through your caterer. The price ranges from $5 to $10 per bottle.

    Photo Credit: Jen Philips Photography

  • Catering: Crudités

    Catering: Crudités

    An appetizer of raw vegetables (like carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers), sliced up and served with dip.

    Photo Credit: Larsen's Photography

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  • Ceremony Music: Prelude

    Ceremony Music: Prelude

    Quiet, gentle background music played at the beginning of the ceremony, as guests arrive and are seated.

    Photo Credit: Caset Fatchett Photography

  • Ceremony Music: Processional

    Ceremony Music: Processional

    Music played as the bridal party walks down the aisle, with the bride and her escort at the very end.

    Photo Credit: Brendon Pinola Photography

  • Ceremony Music: Recessional

    Ceremony Music: Recessional

    Upbeat, triumphant music played at the end of the service, as the bride and groom make their way back up the aisle and exit the ceremony.

    Photo Credit: Holli B. Photography

  • Fashion: Blusher

    Fashion: Blusher

    A short, thin layer of veiling worn over the face; it’s flipped back once the bride reaches the altar.

    Photo Credit: Muriel Silva Photography

  • Fashion: Fingertip

    Fashion: Fingertip

    The length of this veil extends to the fingertips when a bride holds her arms straight at her sides.

    Photo courtesy of DB Woman

  • Fashion: Flyaway

    Fashion: Flyaway

    A veil with multiple tiers, the longest of which is shoulder-length.

    Photo courtesy of Oleg Cassini

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  • Fashion: Basque Waist

    Fashion: Basque Waist

    A continuation of the bodice that dips below the natural waist in front, ending in a point or rounded detail.

    Photo courtesy of Forever Yours Bridal

  • Fashion: Buying Off-The-Rack

    Fashion: Buying Off-The-Rack

    A term that refers to purchasing the actual wedding dress you try on in the store (rather than custom-ordering your exact size from a sample). Doing so can often save you up to 50 percent of the price.

  • Invitations: Engraving

    Invitations: Engraving

    A formal printing style, distinguished by slightly raised lettering and indentations that can be felt on the back of the invitation. It’s a labor-intensive, and therefore expensive, process.

    Photo Credit: Memoire Studio

  • Invitations: Thermography

    Invitations: Thermography

    A machine-printing process that uses heated powder to give print a raised look. It looks almost identical to engraved print, but costs far less.

    Photo Credit: Cherish Paperie

  • Flowers: Cascade

    Flowers: Cascade

    A bouquet style in which the blossoms are woven into a waterfall effect; when held, the bouquet flows to just below your waist.

    Photo Credit: Casey Fatchett

  • Flowers: Filler

    Flowers: Filler

    Inexpensive flowers and foliage (like baby’s breath or ferns) used to fill out bouquets and other floral arrangements.

    Photo Credit: Honey Heart Photography

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  • Flowers: Pomander

    Flowers: Pomander

    A round “ball” of flowers suspended from a ribbon handle. Use it as a bouquet or have your flower girl carry one, in lieu of a basketful of petals.

    Photo Credit: Wilton Photography

  • Reception: Escort Cards

    Reception: Escort Cards

    These direct guests to their designated tables. They’re usually placed on a table near the entrance to the reception room.

    Photo Credit: Joy Marie Photography

  • Reception: Place Cards

    Reception: Place Cards

    These can be used at very formal weddings to designate each person’s specific seat at a particular table.

    Photo Credit: D. Park Photography

  • Reception: Table Cards

    Reception: Table Cards

    Prominently displayed sign at the center of each reception table bearing a number or name so guests can find their place.

    Photo Credit: Two One Photography