Michelle Lindsay Photography

Are you in the middle of planning your big day and are feeling like a wedding novice? When it comes to wedding-related terms, it can be confusing and rather difficult to know what everything means. That’s why we decided to compile together some of the biggest wedding terms for you to learn! So the next time you’re talking to your wedding planner or venue coordinator you’ll know whether or not you’ll want terrarium centerpieces or bunting banners.

From the ceremony to the reception, this wedding decor glossary defines all the necessary wedding-related terms!

Ceremony

  • Aisle markers - Aisle markers are displayed at every aisle and help actually “mark” each aisle. They can either be draped on the first chair of each aisle or they can be placed next to each chair.
  • Aisle runners - Traditionally, an aisle runner was simply a long piece of fabric that is laid down before the bride’s entrance. Nowadays, aisle runners can range from rose petals to even feathers and are used to show personality and style.
  • Pew bows - Pew bows are a type of aisle marker that are attached to church pews. They usually feature tulle or ribbon and give your ceremony a classic ceremony style.
  • Altar arrangements - Altar arrangements help add volume to your altar decor. They are situated at either side of your altar and typically consist of lush florals.
  • Arch - An arch is a type of altar under which couples exchange vows. Whether you choose to use wine barrels, drift wood or even bamboo to create your arch, an arch can be transformed to fit any wedding day style.
  • Arbor - An arbor is made out of tree branches and is used as a place for couples to exchange vows. Perfect for outdoor ceremonies and couples wanting a boho or rustic vibe.
  • Garland - A garland is a type of wreath or rope material that features greenery and florals that can be hung as decoration throughout your ceremony or reception. You can use garland to dress up your altar or it can also serve as an entryway to your ceremony.
  • Chuppah - A chuppah is a canopy where Jewish ceremonies take place. It’s usually decorated with white drapery and can be adorned with florals or other accents.
  • Columns - Columns are tall pillars that have an old-world Roman Empire feel to them. They can be used in lieu of an arch or altar and can feature floral arrangements, candles or other decor items.
  • Ceremony signage - Ceremony signage is a fun way to add personalization to your ceremony and also inform guests of certain aspects of your ceremony. This includes telling them where they should sit or directing guests to and from the ceremony and reception.

Ben Q. Photography

Reception

Signage and Stationery

  • Monogram - A monogram is a way to brand your decor with you and your S.O.’s initials. You can trademark your decor with your monogram throughout your reception to give your wedding a cohesive and personalized look!
  • Motif - A decorative sign or pattern that can be displayed on invitations, wedding day signage, menu cards and more.
  • Calligraphy - Calligraphy is a type of penship that helps accessorize invitations, escort cards or other types of signage.
  • Welcome sign - A sign that greets guests as they enter the reception. It's usually displayed on a easel and can feature the wedding day timeline or other fun wedding-related details.
  • Chalkboard signage - An erasable sign that can be used to display the couple’s personalized hashtag, menu items and more!
  • Laser-cut signage - A fun way to add some personalization to your decor. Whether you choose to use them for table numbers or chair decor, this signage can easily be displayed throughout your decor. We especially love when they feature sequins, too!
  • Escort cards - Individual cards that include the guest’s name and a table number. They are used to lead guests to their reception tables and can feature an assortment of different displays.
  • Place cards - Also known as name cards, these individual pieces of paper are displayed either on top of a place setting or at the top of their plate.
  • Card box - A place for guests to drop off cards, well wishes etc. Some of our favorite card box options include wooden crates for a rustic homespun look or vintage candle lanterns can even double as a card box option!
  • Menu cards - Individual menus that are usually placed at each place setting. They also can be displayed on a buffet station, if you choose not to have a sit-down dinner.
  • Table numbers - Table numbers help identify each reception table and are usually placed either on or next to the centerpieces. Some of our favorite table numbers include gold calligraphy and even watercolor designs.
  • Social media signage - Social media signage lets guests know about your personalized wedding hashtag. This signage will encourage guests to upload their photos with your hashtag so you can have all your wedding photos in one place!

Table Decor

  • Tablescape - Your tablescape is the layout of your table decor. It usually consists of your centerpieces, place settings and table numbers.
  • Table runners - Table runners can range from rustic burlap, glamorous sequins, to lush greenery and help add some flair to your reception table. Just place them across the length of long dining tables to accentuate your tablescape decor.
  • Charger - A charger is a decorative plate that is usually placed underneath your dinnerware. It helps add color or different texture to your place setting.
  • Flatware - Flatware consists of your forks, knives, spoons and any other eating utensils. They can be placed at each table setting or can be displayed at your food stations in woven baskets or other container ideas.
  • Table linens - Fabric used to dress up your table tops. Just make sure your linens match your color scheme!
  • Swags - A way to hang fabric that can help dress up a head table, backdrop, or ceiling. Fabric is draped to form a curve and attached to a table’s legs or displayed throughout the reception.
  • China - China is a type of ceramic material that is used for dinnerware to give your tablescape a formal and homespun look.
  • Goblets - A vintage vessel used for drinking. They come in a variety of different sizes and also can be mixed and matched to create an offbeat tablescape aesthetic.
  • Flutes - Flutes are a type of glassware for champagne. We especially love when flutes are personalized for the newlyweds with their initials.

Olli Studio

Centerpieces

  • Planters - Usually made out of wood, planters can feature fresh blooms and give your reception table a countrified look. They can either be distressed or freshly painted and will still have that rustic vibe.
  • Geode - Couples opting for a modern reception table aesthetic should use geodes. The rock lined with crystals can add a fantastical look to your tablescape and are a great convo starter!
  • Compotes - These vases can range from copper, metallic to silver and are perfect for showcasing blooms.
  • Vessels - Vessels are a type of centerpiece container that dress up your tablescape. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are filled with florals, sand or candles.
  • Hurricane vases - A hurricane vase is a deep glass cylinder vase. It can feature candles, lush blooms or other decorative items for a formal reception style.
  • Topiary - A topiary is a type of shrubbery that can either be small or large. If you choose to use topiaries as centerpieces, we suggest potting them in miniature planters. Larger versions of topiaries can be used to add greenery to your reception entryway and more.
  • Mercury glass vases - Mercury glass vases or pots have a silvered glass exterior and provide a perfect focal point for your tablescape.
  • Terrariums - Terrariums are a type of container that can add a modern look to your tablescape. Usually filled with some kind of plant, such as a succulent and can either stand alone or be paired with other greenery.

Reception seating

  • Chair covers - In order to brighten up your reception seating, chair covers can be draped over your chairs! These slipcovers are an easy way to add some style to your seating, too.
  • Sweetheart table - A sweetheart table is a private table for the newlyweds to sit at during the reception. This allows for some alone time during the wedding day.
  • Newlywed chairs - Newlywed chairs includes signage that is draped on each chair that reads either the newlyweds’ initials or a special love quote. It is a great way to add some personalization to their reception seating, too!
  • Lounge - A lounge is a great way to give guests an area to relax and mingle in. Just provide some comfy seating, such as upholstered furniture for a vintage twist or even hay bales for couples wanting a rustic vibe.

Backdrops

  • Bunting banners - Bunting banners are miniature flags that are streamed across an area. We love the idea of using bunting banners inside a barn or other rustic space to create a casual and laid-back wedding aesthetic.
  • Geronimo balloons - Geronimo balloons are giant round balloons that feature tassels and are filled with confetti. They are a great addition for couples wanting a whimsical wedding day style.
  • Ombré - Ombré is a type of coloring that fades from dark to light. This coloring is popular in cake decor, invitations, and even backdrops.
  • Floral wall - A floral wall is composed of either real or paper flowers that are placed side by side each other to create a lush backdrop.
  • Chevron - Chevron is a type of pattern perfect for achieving a modern wedding day style. The zigzag pattern can be displayed on linens, backdrops or chair covers.
  • Hanging florals - Hanging florals can really give your venue space a garden-inspired aesthetic. Just hang them from the ceiling of your venue or on the walls to create a picture-worthy backdrop.

Lighting

  • Floating candles - Floating candles are round candles that are placed inside vases with water. They are lightweight and will float to the top of the surface, creating an enchanting aesthetic to your big day.
  • Votives - Votives are small candles that are usually placed inside mini cups and can be used to add lighting to reception tables, dessert stations and more!
  • Lanterns - Lanterns, which are a type of lamp that usually has a transparent case, can be used throughout your ceremony and reception. From centerpieces to aisle markers to even card boxes, lanterns provide a vintage touch to your wedding decor.
  • Candelabra - A candelabra is a type of candlestick that is perfect for a glam wedding style. They can either be filled with candles or they can be transformed into floral arrangements.
  • Chandeliers - Chandeliers are a classic way to add some dramatic lighting to your reception. Chandeliers feature branches for light bulbs or candles and are made out of either crystal or types of metal.
  • Gobo - A gobo is a type of screen where light is projected through and allows newlyweds to spell out their names, initials etc. Gobo lighting can add personalization to your wedding reception and also creates a dramatic ambiance.
  • Taper candles - Taper candles are long waxed wicked candles that can be displayed in silver, gold or crystal candle holders.
  • Marquee lights - Marquee lights are vintage lights that can spell out different words. We love the idea of using these lights in an outdoor reception on top of your welcome table or guestbook table.
  • Bistro lights - Bistro lights are round bulbed lights and help illuminate your venue. They can be strung inside or outside and are a perfect addition to any tented reception.
  • String lights - Also known as twinkle lights, string lights are smaller than bistro lights but can also be used to illuminate your venue. They are great for outdoor patios if you are opting for a cocktail hour, too!