The Bride's Guide to Basic Wedding Terminology

by Danielle Salazar June 14, 2014

We’ve all been there. You sit down to have a productive chat with your florist, caterer, or dress consultant to discuss your ideal purple bouquets, that loaded baked potato bar you've always dreamed of, or that stunning lace bridal gown you saw in a magazine. All of a sudden, what you thought would be a simple, fun conversation has turned into a whirlwind of foreign wedding terminology being thrown at you like gibberish! We know how exhausting wedding lingo can be so with this brides guide, you can walk into your next appointment feeling confident and prepared for any strange word that come your way.

Wedding terminology that every girl should know.


Corkage Fee – If you want to pop bottles, it’s going to cost you! Unless provided by your caterer, many venues and caterers charge an opening fee per bottle of alcohol that you bring. The price can range from $5-$10 per bottle.

Crudités – A simple appetizer of raw vegetables that are cut up and served with dip. Seriously? What’s wrong with calling it “veggies and dip”?

Canapé – A fancy term for a bite-size appetizer served on a small flat piece of bread, cracker, or vegetable. Bruschetta, blini’s, and wheat thins with cheez-whiz are among some of our favorites.

Buttercream –Made of butter, sugar, and milk, its soft and creamy texture makes it the most common (and delicious!) icing for wedding desserts.

Fondant – Because of its firm texture, this icing creates a smooth finish that is perfect if you’re looking for an elegant, detail-oriented cake design.

Cocktail Hour - A social period between your ceremony and reception where guests can relax and mingle before the actual partying begins! Drinks and light appetizers are often involved.

Florist Terms - The Brides Guide to Basic Wedding TerminologyCatering Terms - The Brides Guide to Basic Wedding Terminology

Photos by: Ray and Kelly Photography


Filler –Flowers and foliage used to fill bouquets and floral arrangements. Think baby’s breath, wax flowers, and anything your pet likes to munch on in your Valentine’s Day bouquets!

Pomander – A round bouquet of flowers that is carried by a ribbon handle. Great for a flower girl who can’t quite get the whole flower-throwing thing just right.

Corsage – A tiny flower arrangement usually worn by immediate female relatives of the bride and groom. These can be pinned to a dress or worn on the wrist.

Boutonniere – A tiny flower arrangement usually worn by the groom, groomsmen, ushers, and immediate male relatives of the bride and groom, and worn on the jacket’s left lapel.


Prelude – The soft music played during the ceremony as guests arrive and are seated. A great way to include your piano-playing great aunt or 13-year-old violinist cousin!

Processional – The romantic music played as the bridal party (including the bride) walk down the aisle.

Recessional – The upbeat and joyous “We just got married!” music played as the bride and groom exit from the ceremony as husband and wife.

Kennedy Blue bridal gown Grace is the perfect A-line shape. | The Brides Guide to Basic Wedding TerminologyKennedy Blue bridal gown Nicole has a gorgeous lace illusion neckline. | The Brides Guide to Basic Wedding Terminology

Kennedy Blue Bridal Gown Grace (left) is a perfect A-line and Nicole (right) has an illusion neckline.


A-Line – The most universally flattering silhouette. Slim through the bodice, it gradually flares out from the natural waist forming a soft “A” shape.

Ball Gown – The most formal and traditional silhouette, the ball gown is fitted through the bodice and dramatically flares away from the body into a full skirt.

Fit-and-Flare – Fitted throughout the bodice and hips, the skirt softly flares out just below the hip line.

Mermaid – Tightly hugging the torso and hips, the mermaid skirt dramatically flares out from the knee or just below it.

Empire – A high-waisted style that cinches just below the bust line. A great style for pregnant women or those with curvy figures.

Sheath – With very little structure, the sheath silhouette is a long and narrow, close-to-the-body style meant to loosely show off those curves!

Bateau or Boat Neck – A wide, modest neckline that runs horizontally across the collarbone from shoulder to shoulder. Think classic Audrey Hepburn style!

Illusion Neckline - Made of tulle, net, or lace, it's a panel of sheer fabric that's attached to the bodice and extends to the collar. This is great for the girl who wants top coverage, but also a sweetheart neckline!

Bustle – Hooked, looped, or buttoned, the bustle is used to pull up and shorten the train on a wedding gown. This ensures the safety of you and your guests as you Cha Cha Slide across on the dance floor!

Blusher – A traditional, short, single layer veil worn over the face. It’s flipped back once the bride reaches the altar or right before the big first kiss!

Do you have something to add to our brides guide or wedding terminology? Leave a comment below with words or phrases that you think other soon-to-be brides might need to know!

Danielle Salazar
Danielle Salazar


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Measurement Guide - How to Measure for Your Size

Taking Your Measurements

For the most accurate measurements, do not measure over your clothing. Your measurements should be taken while wearing undergarments similar to the ones you will wear with your dress. The measuring tape shouldn’t be pulled too tight or have too much slack, and should always be parallel with the floor.

Wedding apparel is typically sized differently than retail clothing, so keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to find yourself requiring alterations.

Compare these three measurements to the Kennedy Blue size chart above. It is very important that you order the largest size that corresponds to your measurements. For example, if your bust measures 40.5” (size 12), your waist measures 31” (size 10) and your hips measure 41.5” (size 8), we advise that you order a size 12, and get your dress altered down to custom fit your body.

Bust Size

Wrap the tape around your back and under your arms at the fullest part of your bust (not underneath the bust).

Waist Size

While standing up straight, bend at the waist to one side. Take the measurement where the natural crease happens in your side. This should be a few inches above your belly button. Stand up straight and do not “suck in” when taking this measurment.

Hip size

Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips and butt to get this measurement.

Depending on the fabric, a dress can be altered down up to 2 full sizes, but can be very difficult to let out as there is only about .5 inch of fabric to do so at the seams.

Ordering anything smaller than a size 12 would not fit in the bust area. Please note: Our bridal gown size chart is different than the bridesmaids sizing and is listed below.