The Essential Wedding Day Dictionary

A guide to all the terminology you'll encounter when planning your big day.
Written by
Mackenzie Sylvester


California Wedding Day Fall/Winter 2023

First Look

This is an opportunity to privately (with or without the photographer) see your significant other for the first time on your wedding day, before the ceremony. Not only does it offer a calming, intimate moment and magical photo opportunity, but “it definitely does save time,” says photographer Nicole Kirshner of Nicole Kirshner Photography. She adds that, otherwise, couples would spend the cocktail hour taking photos instead of mingling with guests.

Nicole Kirshner PhotographyNicole Kirshner Photography

Last Dance

Couples are generally so busy on their wedding days, they often don’t get a chance to just take it all in and be together. Unlike the first dance, when all eyes are on the couple, a last dance offers them a private moment to be together as their wedding day comes to a close, typically before the send-off. The last dance also creates an amazing photo op.

Styled Shoot

These wedding or elopement designs are created by wedding vendors to inspire real couples with ideas; they also give vendors the opportunity to showcase their work. “Typically, they are styled in a way that is trend-forward, showcasing the latest [trends] or what is to come,” says Kirshner.

Nicole Kirshner PhotographyNicole Kirshner Photography

Vendor Meals

These are meals provided for the wedding vendors at the event. “We need to feed all vendors who are on site at the venue throughout the entire wedding day,” says Heflin. “This can be the production team, musicians, planning team, photographers, videographers and sometimes venue staff, such as security.”

Cutting Cake

If an enormous wedding cake to feed the entire guest count isn’t a priority or in the budget, a small “cutting cake” is often created specifically for the cake-cutting tradition. “The ‘cutting cake’ is more of a ceremonial centerpiece and may not be large enough to serve all of the guests,” says Autumn Qiu of Autumn Cake Design. “Some couples may choose to have a different type of dessert or cake to provide variety for their guests.”

Kelsa HolderKelsea Holder

Toss Bouquet

The bouquet toss often leaves wedding bouquets a wilted mess—not ideal for preservation. “We love creating a separate toss bouquet, rather than using the couple’s so that they can keep their main bouquet as a keepsake,” says Josie Brainard of Good Seed Floral. The toss bouquet is a smaller arrangement fashioned specifically for the tradition, leaving the bridal bouquet intact to preserve.

Marisa Vasquez PhotographyMarisa Vasquez Photography


"This is when vendors come to break down or pick up items,” says Brooke Heflin of Burlap & Bordeaux. Vendors will remove installations after the event. This removal will often need to be scheduled in a staggered manner between vendors, depending on the complexity and size of the event.

Invitation Suite

This refers to the package of all the paper goods that come with your invitations. “A standard suite typically includes an invitation card, response card with an envelope and the large mailing envelope,” explains Jasmin Sabau of Jasmin Michelle Designs. “Anything extra like a details card for example, is considered an additional insert.”

Courtesy of Jasmin Michelle DesignsCourtesy of Jasmin Michelle Designs