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Modern Wedding Lingo: 31 terms and concepts to get your head around

A modern dictionary for modern brides. Discover the definitions for the emerging terms and concepts in the current wedding world!

  • After the wedding
  • Advice
  • Cocktails
  • Cupcakes
  • Sweet tables
  • DIY
  • 2017

The world and everything in it is constantly changing, even weddings. Back in the day, wedding celebrations would fulfil their purpose without making life too complicated. However, nowadays there are lots of new and far more sophisticated aspects of wedding planning, and with them comes a whole list of new vocab. Weddings are incredible spectacles; every one of them is individual and equally special. So, if you’re tying the knot soon, you might want to consider taking a look at some of the latest wedding lingo. Get clued up!

saveSelia Photography
Photo: Selia Photography

General organization etc.

First look: that special moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time, just before the ceremony, in the company of the photographer. That most memorable moment, full of gesture and once-in-a-lifetime emotion, goes by the expression: ‘the first look’.

Wedding Planner: the professional organizer/adviser, who is in charge of supervising the most important (and dramatic) aspects of the wedding. Their experience in knowing how to plan a successful wedding, and their knowledge of suppliers allows you to sleep easy knowing that your wedding is being planned by a thorough expert.

Do It Yourself (DIY): the idea that the couples themselves are the ones in charge. This refers to all aspects of the wedding preparations, big and small, that will make your day special. Most of the time, this involves hand-making decorations and choosing to reuse or recycle various objects to reduce the overall cost of the wedding.

saveLa Dichosa
Photo: La Dichosa

Save the date: this is a card sent out several months before the official invitations. It will let your guests know which date you have chosen for your wedding day. The card can be quite informal, written in a nice font, perhaps with drawings and detailing, but make sure the message itself is clear and direct to mark the start of the organization process, which will avoid any disappointment later on.

Bouquet: This is the bunch of flowers that the bride holds during the ceremony. The bouquet is also seen as a form of floral art, made up of any combination of flowers the bride chooses based on their colours and meanings.

saveSylvain le Lepvrier Photography
Photo: Sylvain le Lepvrier Photography

Fashion and Style

Vintage: a sophisticated type of style that often involves reusing and updating items of clothing and accessories from a few decades ago. Products that are considered classic often come back into fashion and are mixed into modern settings.

Minimal: a very 21st century concept of style whereby less is more, and elegance, class and simplicity are the order of the day, incorporating simple designs without lots of detailing, often in neutral colours whether it be the wedding dress itself or just the decorations

Rustic chic: a sophisticated mix of rural life and all of its aesthetic characteristics, from functional bits and bobs through to atmospheric designs, all put together with good taste, elegance and a touch of modernity. The idea of rustic chic means appreciating and giving a twist to the idea of rustic living.

Boho: this is a harmonious mix of hippy, ethnic, vintage, bohemian and rural vibes, all of them immersed in a world of peace and spiritual relaxation. So, it’s not surprising that boho style is often defined by large and comfy clothing, scarves and hats… (a bit like the ones from Little House on the Prairie), as well as old cloth bags that have been updated. The term ‘boho’ can also be used to refer to the general style of a wedding.

saveEmily Magers Photography
Photo: Emily Magers Photography

Trendy: this means modern, current and on-trend – the latest thing you might have bought from a fashionable shop might be deemed trendy.

Midi: a length of shirt just below the knee.

Tattoo effect: this is used to describe dresses whose super fine and intricate lace appears to be in direct contact with the skin rather than part of the dress itself.

Halter neck:  a type of dress that comes up to the neck and fastens around the nape of the neck, leaving one’s shoulders, collar bones and back exposed. This makes for a highly feminine and sophisticated look – ideal for brides wanting to feel especially elegant.


saveBrooke Dombroski Photography
Photo: Brooke Dombroski Photography

All things food-related

Nibbles: it’s a good idea to have a little something for hungry guests to snack on throughout the night, particularly whilst most of them will be dancing the night away. Most of the time sweet things go down well although having a mix of sweet and savoury snacks will please all palates.

Food corner: these are little self-service food stations that each have a different kind of food for your guests to enjoy. This is a more informal way of serving food, although having a food corner could serve as an interesting counterpoint at a more formal wedding.

Food truck: a well-known trendy addition to the most original weddings in the last few years. Food trucks are little lorries or trucks that are often manned with someone handing out food. Most of the time gourmet burgers and hot dogs etc. are a popular choice of food to serve. The idea came from America and has been used lots at casual weddings.

Candy bar: this is where you can pick up all sorts of sweet things. People often choose to have a candy bar station open towards the end of the celebrations. Here you tend to find little cakes and muffins to satisfy those late night sugar cravings.

saveIl Baccello di Vaniglia
Photo: Il Baccello di Vaniglia

Molecular Cocktails: By deconstructing the ingredients, these cocktails always look like little balls of flavour that you have to burst in your mouth in order to taste the cocktail. Molecular technology gave rise to this invention whereby the original form of the ingredients is changed to create new textural and tasting experiences.

Naked cakes: this is a cake with a minimal layer of frosting or no frosting at all – exposing the cake´s natural texture and color. A sweet treat without any visual surprises. However, this type of cake still carries charm in its simplicity and wonderful taste – without a doubt, a modern classic.

Cupcakes: having mini cakes as opposed to one large one allows you to have a number of different cake designs and flavours – a great idea for those wanting a more informal cake.

saveLea Bremicker & Christopher Nolan Photography
Foto: Lea Bremicker & Christopher Nolan Photography
saveMónica Dantas
Foto: Mónica Dantas

Macarons:  a type of French sweet treat ideal for satisfying a sweet craving. Macarons are made from egg white, ground almonds, icing sugar and sugar and come in a variety of flavours and colors.

Cake pops: these are little sweet treats designed like lollipops. That is to say they are essentially small balls of cake on a stick, covered in icing, which look great as a display when put all together.

Fondantthis is the sugary paste that is used to decorate cakes and biscuits etc.

Cake toppers: a very Anglo-Saxon tradition involving two figurines that represent the bride and groom used to decorate the wedding cake. Nowadays there is a huge variety of designs to choose from.


Photocall: a little set that simulates where you would pose on the red carpet. You and your guests can all be stars too!

Scrapbooking: a technique used to put together collections of photographs and messages etc. with a hand-made touch which gives off a sense of innocence and creativity – release the artist inside you!

Photo bootha booth that often comes with a complimentary pack of novelty hats, wigs, glasses and other accessories to throw on and look silly. The perfect way for you and your guests to enjoy a couple of minutes of fun during the celebrations.

saveErnestine Ruben
Foto: Ernestine Ruben

Letteringthe term used to describe the type of writing used on the invitations and save-the-date cards, or on the place settings on the day. You can often choose what sort of decorations you would like to accompany whichever lettering you choose.

Beauty cornerthis is a corner where the bride and the female guests can touch up their makeup and hair throughout the celebrations whenever they need to.

Trash the dress: this so-called ‘trashing of the dress’ is often filmed. The idea is that the bride and groom can do whatever they want to their wedding clothes seeing as they won’t be used again. For example, some people choose to throw their dress in the river. It’s up to you, but we say go for it!


saveErnestine et sa famille Photography
Foto: Ernestine et sa famille Photography

It’s time to be a bit different, and to welcome the new trends and customs that accompany modern weddings. We now have more variety and options than ever before. So, whilst keeping with traditions, you can ensure that your contemporary wedding style is completely personal to you.

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