The world of wedding planning is a blast to dive into, but it’s also full of new terminology that many couples may not know. Your vendors, venue, and wedding planner (if you have one) will likely use words and phrases specific to their fields that you may not be familiar with. We’ve compiled this handy guide to some of the most common wedding planning terminology you may hear as you start planning your special day!

Micro Wedding

This term has become more common during the pandemic. A micro wedding is a small wedding that may or may not have a reception with fewer than 50 guests.

Day of Coordinator

A day coordinator works on your wedding day to ensure that your vendors are in place, that everything runs smoothly, and stays on schedule. Unlike wedding planners, they won’t help you with your planning process but will be there to coordinate your day.

Wedding Planner

A wedding planner is a professional who assists you in planning your wedding day. Planners generally have relationships with venues and vendors and can help you stay on budget and organized.

First Look

The first look is when the bride and groom have a private moment before the ceremony where they first see each other. The photographer and videographer captured this event.

Color Palette

Your color palette for your wedding day includes the colors you plan to use in your décor, flowers, and bridal party attire. Many of your vendors will ask about your wedding colors to help ensure your wedding vision comes to life.

Candid Photography

Candid photography, or photojournalistic or documentary photography, includes natural images captured as they happen. Candid photos are not posed and capture genuine emotion.

Shot List

Your photographer will likely talk to you about your shot list, a list of photos you would like captured during your wedding ceremony and reception. These can include specific events, such as your first kiss or dance, and posed photos of your family and wedding party.

Place Cards

Place cards show each guest their assigned table and seat at the reception. These cards are used for a more formal event, generally served at dinner.

Escort Cards

These cards direct guests to the table where they should sit instead of a specific seat. Escort cards are less formal than place cards.


The processional is when the wedding party walks down the aisle to start the ceremony. The wedding party includes the officiant, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, and groom.


The recessional is when the wedding party exits after the ceremony is over.

Naked Cake

A naked cake has no frosting outside, allowing everyone to see the filling, usually an assortment of fruit.


Fondant is used to decorate cakes and is generally used for fancier wedding cakes.

Save the Date

Save the Date cards are often sent to guests before your official wedding invitations to inform them of your wedding date.

Sweetheart Table

A sweetheart table is a private table for the bride and groom.

Corkage Fee

The venue often charges a corkage fee at a wedding venue for any alcohol that they do not provide. If you purchase wine for your wedding reception, your venue may charge a fee for each bottle.

E-Session / Engagement Shoot

An engagement photo session is a fun way to document and celebrate your engagement. These photos can help you tell your love story and celebrate the uniqueness of your relationship. Your wedding photographer often takes these photos, allowing you and your partner to get to know your photographer better and feel more comfortable with them before your wedding day. Many couples use their engagement photos to announce their engagement or personalize their save-the-date cards.

Golden Hour

Your photographer may mention the “golden hour,” one of the most beautiful lighting times during the day for photos. Golden hour is correct before sunset and can result in some incredible images for your engagement session and wedding photography.

Vendor / Supplier Meal

When determining how many people you need to feed, don’t forget to include your vendors, such as your photographer, videographer, coordinator, and anyone else who will be present during your reception and working during your wedding day.


The send-off is when the couple exits the reception, traditionally to leave for their honeymoon, although some couples have their honeymoon later. During the send-off, the bride and groom walk past all their guests, who generally line up in two rows, creating an aisle for the couple to walk down. Send-offs often include streamers, bubbles, flags, flowers, or sparklers.

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