11 wedding terms explained

Story highlights

  • Planning a wedding entails learning a whole new vocabulary.
  • A full place setting involves 14 different items, including silver, glass, china and linen.
  • Know the difference between an "escort card" and a "place card"?
  • Vellum isn't just for invitations; it can be crafted into boxes and decor as well.

Have you ever wondered what on earth your wedding planner or florist was talking about when he or she used the word "dragee" or "grosgrain"?

Before you get started with your planning, read our glossary of wedding terms to see what you need to know and brush up on before your big day. You'll be a wedding expert in no time!


A hard frosting made of sugar and water that's mixed together, cooked, and cooled. Like buttercream, it is traditionally used on wedding cakes.


Chocolate- and candy-covered almonds that are often served at wedding receptions or given out as favors. In many cultures, they represent fertility!

Place Setting

The table service for a single diner: a napkin, salad fork, dinner fork, dessert fork, service plate or charger, soup bowl, bread-and-butter plate, butter spreader, dinner knife, teaspoon, soup spoon, water goblet, red wine glass, and white wine glass.

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A large decorative plate that's placed under the dinner plate to bring color and texture to the table.


Woman goes over balcony for bouquet
Woman goes over balcony for bouquet


    Woman goes over balcony for bouquet


Woman goes over balcony for bouquet 00:43
Big business boom for same sex weddings
Big business boom for same sex weddings


    Big business boom for same sex weddings


Big business boom for same sex weddings 02:24

Another word for table arrangement or centerpiece. It's most often used when each table has multiple components.

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Escort Cards

Printed cards that inform guests of what table they'll be seated at. They are typically displayed as guests enter the reception, or at cocktail hour.

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Place Cards

Printed cards that are placed at each seat at the reception to let guests know which chair they will be sitting at.

Stationery Suite

A term to describe all of the stationery, including the save-the-dates, invitations, reply cards, reception cards, and any other invitation enclosures.

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Heavy, transparent paper that is often used as an overlay on wedding invitations. It can also be used for a variety of other things, including these favor boxes.

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A silk or silk-like fabric with a ribbed appearance. It's often used in trims, belts, and handle wraps—like the one pictured above.

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Shoes or fabric that can be dyed to match a specific color swatch.