WINNER: 2023 "BEST of WEDDINGS" at TheKnot.com, and Wedding Wire "COUPLE'S CHOICE"
The boutonniere is a small flower worn by the men who make up the wedding party, and often fathers & grandfathers. It is worn on the lapel of the man's jacket. Men not wearing jackets do not get boutonniere's. Stems may be wrapped or unwrapped. The Corsage is the flower worn by the women in the wedding party, often this is only for moms and grandma's. a Corsage may be pinned onto a dress (if the fabric is heavy enough to hold, and if the mom wants a pin in her dress), or it may be a wristlet.
This is why we are here. These are the spoken words by the bride, groom and officiant that make the marriage legal.
This is the moment when the groom sees his bride in her dress for the first time, and is often a moment filled with emotion. Many times we stage this moment 2 hours before the ceremony, in private between the bride, groom and photographer. After that, we wedding party joins in for fun pictures before the ceremony. Sometimes the bride and her father would also like a "first look". Traditionally, the "first look" is of the bride entering the chapel.
Similar to the "first look" this is a moment between the bride and groom where they don't see each other but photographs are taken of them "touching" by holding hands around a corner. During this moment, often they exchange private notes or token gifts, or sometimes pray together.
A laser-cut piece of metal that fits over a large spotlight, and usually shines a name or monogram on the wall, ceiling or dance floor.
The Grand Entrance is when the bride and groom officially enter the reception after being married. This is typically after they have 45 minutes of friends and family photos, and a 15-minute "time out" to refresh and snack in private. Often the wedding party begins the grand entrance. The Grand Exit is the staged send-off for the bride and groom at the end of the evening. Often we line up the guests and the bride/groom run through glow sticks, optic wands or sparklers.
The rehearsal is the required activity that help plan and practice for the ceremony. All wedding party members, parents and the officiant should attend; although often the officiant does not and the Planner steps in. Usually the Planner conducts the rehearsal and talks with the wedding party and family about the events and expectations of the wedding. It is good practice to walk through the steps of the ceremony 2-3 times at the rehearsal. Usually scripting is not practiced here. Ask your wedding party to arrive 30 minutes before the rehearsal so they can talk and catch up and we can begin on time. Immediately following the Rehearsal is the Rehearsal Dinner. This dinner is a special time for the wedding party (and their dates) and parents of the bride/groom. Traditionally at the rehearsal, the Father of the Groom welcomes everyone (the Groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner).
These are the tables used for your wedding-related items such as your gift table, guest book table, photo booth table, memory table, DJ table, escort cards table, etc. They are usually 6' banquet tables covered in a plain linen. Your room diagram must account for all specialty tables.
These are half-inch candles that burn out in four hours and are set around the centerpiece on each dining table. Tea lights or the more standard 1" votive should always be placed in glass containers, and a plan should be made for who is responsible for lighting them (usually your planner and/or catering team). The standard setting is 4 per table.
This is a smaller version of the bride's flower bouquet and is used by the bride to toss out on the dance floor to all the single ladies. Tradition says that the woman who catches the toss bouquet is the next to be married. Sometimes the bride can use a junior bridesmaid's bouquet, or an adult bridesmaid's bouquet as long as that person doesn't mind tossing it and not taking it home. This tradition is often not done at weddings, as nobody wants to single out all the single ladies and watch them fight over some flowers.
Lights that set on the floor, around the perimeter of the room, and shine colors on the walls are often used to create a beautiful ambiance. They can be set up often by the DJ or Band, or sometimes an event rental company will place them if the job is more intricate.
The "venue" is the location where we hold the reception...it can be a hotel, a private residence, a designated wedding business locale, or the middle of a meadow. Venue's often have "venue managers" who help make sure you use the space according to the rules and regulations, and often they offer a wealth of experience as to what has been done in this space in the past. Venue managers do not substitute for wedding planners, as they do not do all the other aspects of planning your wedding, and often they do not touch your decor for set up and strike.
These are cards that "escort" your guests to their assigned table or seat. They are usually located at the entry to the reception, and are arranged in alphabetical order so guests can easily find their name. Sometimes the card also indicates the chosen meal (beef or chicken...) so that the catering staff can swiftly serve your guests.
The Head Table seats your wedding party. The table usually faces your guests, and is often rectangular or "U" shaped. Usually, we have more flowers and upgraded linens on the head table. Sometimes the Planner will put personal notes written to each member of the wedding party or gifts in each place setting at the Head Table. Chargers may be used here to upgrade the design features. There is no rule about dates of wedding party members being at this table or not, but keep in mind most people want to sit with their dates during dinner.
We use place cards when you want to assign "seats" rather than simply assign "tables". Place cards have the guest's name, and sometimes menu choice, and are at each seat at the table indicating where someone should sit. When you use placecards, you still need to use a seating chart to direct guests to the correct table.
This is a smaller table, usually a 36" round or 48" banquet, and is only for the newlyweds to sit at. Often it is very decorative with upgraded linens, and chargers. Sometimes the Sweetheart Table is spaced separately between the rest of the Head Tables for the wedding party.
Table numbers are necessary so that guests know which table to sit at (we highly discourage "open seating" which causes chaos). Table numbers should be facing the direction guests will enter from, and should be easily recognizable. In lieu of "number" some clients use "names" of things that are important...like places the couple has visited together, or years they have been together. Table numbers should be picked up as soon as dinner is over.
These small, passed or plated, bites are to keep your guests happy while you take photos after the ceremony. We always also want food served while people are drinking.
A buffet is a long line of food where guests walk by the table and choose their food. Sometimes a buffet is "self serve" and sometime the buffet is "served" by catering attendants (which helps with portion control). A plated meal is fully on a plate and served tableside by catering staff.
The ceremony cake is a small, usually 6" or 8" round, cake that is for the act of cutting the cake, but not meant to serve all guests. Most often we see a ceremony cake, and then a dessert bar. Sometimes a ceremony cake is made to feed the head table only, and then cupcakes of the same flavor is on the dessert bar for guests.
Chargers are the larger "plates" that generally go underneath the dinner plate for a dramatic table setting. Sometimes, we use chargers for serving the dessert bar (as long as they are food-safe).
Cocktail hour is designed to serve cocktails and appetizers to guests while the bride/groom take post ceremony photographs and have a brief "time out" to refresh and snack in private. Cocktail hour is usually in a separate location from the dinner reception, and includes music and small bites as well as cocktails. Sometimes we serve each guest a special, custom, cocktail upon arrival to cocktail hour.
Sometimes the couple does not want wedding cake, and would rather serve a dessert bar. This "serve yourself" sweet bar can be made of any individual desserts...from cupcakes to cheesecake shooters, to mini pies and cake pops. A dessert bar should be set up during dinner so that the desserts remain as fresh as possible before serving. This table requires multiple layers of trays and varying heights; often we need signs indicating what each dessert is. The bride and groom can still use any item on the bar to signify their first activity together...such as feeding each other a cupcake or a cheesecake shooter. This is usually a special table with upgraded linen and decor.
This cake is often in the groom's favorite flavor and can be made to resemble a favorite sport or hobby. It is often in addition to the wedding cake or dessert bar...making a lot of extra dessert that may go to waste. A good option is to serve the Groom's Cake at the rehearsal dinner.
Clients are responsible for making sure all vendors eat a meal if they work more than four hours. Usually your planner will call in vendor meals to the catering team so they are prepared. Some vendors will accept a "less expensive" vendor meal by contract, and some require the same meal as you are feeding your guests. The Planner will schedule a time for each vendor to eat that does not disrupt his/her work responsibilities. Vendors are not permitted to drink alcohol while working.
The tradition of cutting the cake signifies the first activity done as a couple. Often the wedding cake is white, but in more modern times it can have vibrant flowers or ribbons that match the bride's color palette. The bride and groom usually provide an engraved cake server to be used at this time. This cake usually sits on a special table with upgraded linen, and often the bride's bouquet.