10 Must-Know Wedding Terms for Event Planners

September 11, 2020  |  by:

Photo by Derek Thomson

The wedding industry has a language all of its own. Here are ten wedding terms to become familiar with before the big day.

“Here comes the bride” are magical words to any wedding attendee, but they can be a nightmare for event planners. I’m not saying every bride is a bridezilla, but we can all agree on one thing: a wedding is IMPORTANT. It’s one of the most important days of someone’s life! Therefore, event and wedding planners have extra emotional pressure to make everything picture perfect.

On that note, there’s no excuse for dropping the ball. That includes knowing everything there is to know about weddings. So let’s get to the wedding terms!

1. Charger

Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t what you plug your iPhone into. A charger in the wedding world refers to the decorative plate under the actual dinnerware. The charger’s edges or borders show adding extra color and texture to the place setting. They’re a great way to upgrade a tablescape and act as a ‘base’ between dinner courses.

2. DOC (Day of Coordination)

If a bride is more hands-on, they may pass on hiring a full-time wedding planner and hire a DOC, or day-of-coordinator, instead. This service means that the couple plans their own wedding (venue, vendor selection, etc.) and just needs help the day of. A day-of-coordinator usually begins work a few weeks out. They’re in charge of logistics and making sure the day runs smoothly.

3. Escort Cards

If there was a map for weddings, they would be escort cards. These cards are displayed – often in a beautiful manner – to help direct guests to where they will be seated for dinner. This revealing often happens before the reception or during the cocktail hour. Don’t confuse escort cards with place cards – the name tags left on individual place settings to indicate a guest’s assigned seat at their table.

Related: What Event Planners Should Know About Stationery & Printing

4. Grand Entrance

One might think the ‘Grand Entrance’ refers to the bride walking down the aisle, but no. The Grand Entrance is the kickoff of the reception when the bridal party is introduced to wedding guests. Then, the newlyweds are presented for the first time as an official married couple.

5. GOBO

If you’re curious how a projector shines patterns or logos onto a surface, it’s a GOBO. This laser cut piece of metal or plastic is simply placed on a spotlight or projector to shine the chosen shape. They’re often used at weddings to display the couple’s initials, monogram, or a quote onto a dance floor or curtains.

6. Groom’s Cake

If the groom is pushing to have Batman on the wedding cake, you can always opt for a Groom’s Cake. This additional cake is baked in the groom’s favorite flavor then decorated with his personal hobby or interest, favorite sports team or movie, etc. The groom’s cake is an excellent dessert for the rehearsal dinner since there will be a traditional wedding cake at the reception.

7. Nosegay & Pomander

These sound like made-up words, but they are actually floral-based wedding terms. A nosegay is a mini bouquet or arrangement gifted to the bride and groom’s mothers. These can be given in lieu of a wrist corsage. Next, a pomander is a ball of flowers used for decoration or accessory. You’ll find them hanging in the air or placed on the tops of vases. Some flower girls may carry a pomander instead of a basket.

Nosegay - Wedding Terms for Event Planners
Photo by Linus Mimietz

8. Room Flip

Wedding venues need to be versatile because they host multiple events in one day – a ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, dinner, or more. That’s where room flips come in. For example, suppose the reception is planned for the same space as the ceremony. In that case, guests are escorted out the room to a cocktail hour or other activity while the venue transitions the space.

9. Sweetheart Table

A sweetheart table is as cute as it sounds. This is the table set for only two – the bride and groom. This small table allows for a brief moment of privacy so the newlyweds can enjoy their first meal together. On the other hand, is the head table. This is the larger table where the bridal party or immediate family sits.

10. Votives

These are the small, often glass, cylinders commonly used as wedding decor. Votives are the holder for tea lights, the equally tiny candles. Note that tea lights only last for a short period, so opt for electric versions if you need them to ‘burn’ all night!

Now that you know 10 more wedding terms, you’re better prepared to plan someone’s big day! 

Amanda Larson, CED, is a Certified Event Designer, marketer, and content creator. With a degree in journalism and special events management, Amanda has worked in marketing and events for international startups and Fortune500 companies. She specializes in digital branding, copywriting, and graphic design freelancing for clients globally.

You can read other articles by Amanda here:

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