Common Wedding Terms, Defined, Finally! :)

Essential Wedding Terms, Defined, Finally!

Common Wedding Terms

As one of the busiest DJ & Photo Booth services in Austin and central Texas, we get to meet and work with numerous couples and clients, and we’re always honored to be a part of so many weddings and special events! When communicating with our couples, we noticed we tend to get many of the same questions along the way.

We decided to make this helpful blog, to help not only our clients but couples from everywhere! It’s not Webster’s or anything, but this is our common wedding terms dictionary & guide to wedding vocabulary and all things wedding related!​

Bridal Party Members’ Definitions & Roles

Bridesmaid – Members of the bride’s party in the wedding, who are typically, not married.

Maid of Honor/Man of Honor – A bride’s honor attendant who is not married. This person typically will help the bride with wedding planning and logistics, the day of the wedding. Yes, the “man of honor” is a new one for the common wedding terms! 🙂

Matron of Honor/Man of Honor – A bride’s honor attendant who is married. This person typically will help the bride with wedding planning and logistics, the day of the wedding.

Usher – Guys (usually) who seat guests as they arrive. You can have groomsmen who are also ushers, but you can also simply have people who are only ushers.  

Groomsmen – Close friends or relatives of the groom, who are members of the bridal party who stand next to the groom, at the altar.

Best Man/Woman – The head groomsmen (or woman) who is also the main assistant to the groom and is usually in charge of keeping the wedding rings safe, until the ceremony. He/she usually stands next to the groom, during the ceremony. “Best woman” is also one of the newer common wedding terms. We love new traditions! 🙂

Common Wedding Moments & Events

Prelude – This is one of the main words we get asked about, of all the common wedding terms. For weddings, this is the time before the ceremony starts. Most preludes last 15-30 minutes. During this time, DJs, live musicians, or bands, will play music at the ceremony site, while guests are arriving and getting seated. 

Parent/Grand Parent Processional – Parents and grandparents will walk down the aisle. This usually lasts about 5 minutes, depending on the distance walked, pace, and the number of people walking. The groom will sometimes walk in with the officiant, before this happens, or after the parents. 

Bridal Party Procession –  Members of the bridal party will walk down the aisle at this time. This usually lasts anywhere from 2-10 minutes, depending on the distance they must walk, the pace that they walk, and how many members there are.  The groom will sometimes walk in first, with the groomsmen, followed by the bridesmaids, ring bearer, then the flower girls. 

Processional – The time when the bride/groom walks down the aisle with his/her escort. This is one of the confusing common wedding terms. We say bride/groom on our forms, and we always get the question “I thought only brides get a song, right?” While traditionally, this is true, but today, not so much.

Brides can get their song, and so can grooms. Also, we proudly do weddings were there are only grooms, or only brides (same-sex couples). 

Sand Ceremony/Unity Candle Ceremony – This usually occurs during the middle of the ceremony. Couples will take two separate vases of sand, or separate candles, and join the sand, together in one vase, or join the two candles to light one, new candle. 

Recessional – This is the time when the newly married couple walks back down the aisle!  

Cocktail Hour – This is the time, after the ceremony, when the couple, bridal party and immediate family, take pictures. All other guests will usually have cocktails, drinks, and appetizers. (Called Mocktail Hour for events without alcohol)

Bridal Party Introduction – This is the time, after cocktail hour, when the bridal party and couple is introduced, when arriving into the reception area. 

First Dance – The first song that the newlyweds dance to. This is often played right after the couple’s introduction, or it can be played after dinner, to kick-off the reception.

Parent Dances – (Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, sometimes Mother/Daughter) These are the special songs for the parent and the bride or groom. 

Anniversary Dance – This is a dance to celebrate marriage and long-lasting relationships. Typically, all the couples are invited to the dance floor, to dance together, along with the bride and groom. After a minute or two, the MC will begin “eliminating” couples from the dance floor, one by one, by the length of time they’ve been married/together.

It usually starts with “if you’ve been married or together 1 year or less, please exit the dance floor…” This continues until the last couple is left, along with the newlyweds. The last couple is then asked to give advice to the newlyweds. 

Dollar Dance/Honeymoon Dance – The dollar dance usually happens in the middle of the reception, usually after the bouquet/garter toss, and is usually 2 or more songs long. Guests are encouraged to line up and bring their “dollars,” which are collected by the Best Man/Woman and Maid/Matron of Honor.

Guests will give any dollar amount to the Best Man/Woman and/or Maid/Matron of Honor, to dance with the bride or groom. 

Send-Off – This occurs after the reception has ended. Guests are asked to line-up, outside, in two lines. Guests will have sparklers, bubbles, or glow sticks, and the couple will walk through the line, towards their vehicle, to depart for the night.

This looks great in pictures! Sometimes, a “mock send-off” occurs, earlier in the evening. This will be done to get pictures with more guests present. It will be the same send-off, but guests will return to the reception, after the send-off. 

Other Common Wedding Terms

These are the most common moments and terms that we get questions about. There are several other moments and common terms, but these are the ones that people usually ask about. We hope that this list of common wedding terms has been helpful. Feel free to contact us via email for any additional info and we’ll be happy to help!

– Austin’s Best DJs & Photo Booths

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