Image of orange floral sweethearts table at wedding reception

A Glossary of Terms for Your Wedding

If “I do” is in your near future and you’re hoping to tie the knot at a gorgeous wedding in Lancaster, PA, it’s essential to be fluent with wedding lingo. Venues, vendors, decorations, and dress codes all have specific terms for weddings in this area that could easily throw off any bride or groom-to-be who isn’t prepared. Don’t let these unknowns ruin what should be a joyous occasion – brush up on terminology before saying “yes!”

To ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to guarantee a successful wedding in Lancaster, we’ve compiled this extensive glossary of essential words and phrases for your wedding. It can be hard to keep track of all the different terminology, stages of the ceremony, and other elements of a wedding event timeline. However, with these definitions in your back pocket, you can be sure your special day will be perfect. And once you’re ready to start choosing a venue, we can help with that too! Contact us today to schedule a tour of our beautiful, historic location.

Engagement Terms & Planning Your Wedding

Congratulations, you’re engaged! While this is such an exciting time for you both as a couple, the questions from others about your big day will start almost immediately after the ring is on the finger. Here are some introductory phrases, what they mean, and what they are in the context of your special day so that you both can enjoy this precious time.

Engagement Ring Terms

From carats to clarity and beyond, knowing the lingo of engagement ring terminology will help you talk about your ring to those who want to know all its details. Here is an overview of some key terms associated with an engagement ring.


This term refers to the weight of diamonds or other gemstones used in jewelry making. One carat equals 0.2 grams and is subdivided into 100 points, so a diamond of 75 points weighs 0.75 carats.


The gemstone or diamond’s cut refers to its angles and proportions that create the desired shape of the stone. The quality of a cut can drastically affect the diamond’s beauty and sparkle.

Ring Setting

The setting of an engagement ring is a crucial element in the overall design, as it anchors the center stone and completes the piece’s look. It also reflects personal style and taste, ranging from simple solitaires to elaborate designs with multiple stones.

Phrases That Have to Do With Planning Your Wedding

From “tiered cake” to “the perfect flowers for your boquet,” many things come up in conversations related to wedding planning. Before you head out to find the wedding venue of your dreams, we think this short list of phrases can help you plan the best day ever.


Wedding save-the-dates are a great way to let your guests know they should keep your wedding date open on their calendars in advance. Save-the-dates come in many forms, from small cards to magnets or postcards. Many couples choose save-the-dates to match the look and feel of their wedding invitations. They will usually include a photo of the happy couple with their names, as well as the date and location of the wedding venue, ceremony, and wedding reception.

Mood Board

A wedding mood board is a tool couples use to express their wedding ideas and bring them to life visually. It usually comprises fabric swatches, wedding photos, magazine clippings, color palettes, patterns, hand-lettering, and other things that inspire the couple. A mood board can also serve as a great reference as the couple begins planning their event, and can be taken to prospective wedding venues when looking for event spaces.

Paper Suite

A wedding paper suite, also known as an “invitation suite,” is a selection of decorative and commemorative stationery used to celebrate the special day. It can contain various pieces, such as invitations, RSVP cards, thank-you notes, and even fun extras like personalized cocktail napkins.

Wedding Timeline: Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Day, & Reception Terms

The pre-wedding and day-of timeline is an integral part of any nuptials, as it helps ensure that the day goes smoothly and that all guests know what to expect. Whether you’re getting ready to hit the event venue or are preparing to walk down the aisle, here are just a few phrases we think you might need to know to celebrate.

Image of floral centerpiece at a wedding, with a card that says, “Jean”

The Night Before The Wedding

The night before a wedding day is usually a flurry of activity as everyone prepares for what is to come the next day.

Rehearsal Dinner

A rehearsal dinner is a gathering of friends, family members, and wedding party participants the night before a wedding, and usually takes place after you rehearse the wedding ceremony. The bride’s parents typically host this dinner, and it is a chance to celebrate and talk about the wedding plans.

Wedding Officiant or Celebrant

A wedding officiant or celebrant is a person who is responsible for performing the legal, religious, or non-religious ceremony that binds two individuals in the marriage. In the United States, a wedding officiant must have authorization by the state and/or religious organization to perform a marriage ceremony.

The Wedding Ceremony

A wedding ceremony is a meaningful event that marks the start of your new life together as a couple. Here are some phrases worth writing down so that your ceremony goes swimmingly.

Wedding Prelude

The wedding prelude is the period before a wedding ceremony officially begins. It typically takes place 30 minutes to an hour before the start of the ceremony and serves as a way for guests to find their seats and get settled in.

Wedding Processional

A wedding processional begins with the bridal party, which includes the bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and flower girls walking down the aisle.

Wedding Recessional

The wedding recessional is a joyous moment in the wedding ceremony where the newly married couple, their bridal party, and family members walk down the aisle together. As the couple recedes, usually to the sound of music, they are greeted with cheers and well wishes from their friends, family, and guests.

The Wedding Reception

The wedding reception is the highlight of any wedding day. It’s a time for guests to celebrate the newlyweds and enjoy each other’s company while they indulge in delicious food, drinks, and music. Here are some things you might enjoy during a wedding reception timeline before you hit the dance floor and cut the cake.

Grand Entrance

A grand entrance usually takes place in your wedding venue’s event space, as soon as all guests have taken their seats, and includes the wedding party, the families of the bride and groom, and the newlyweds themselves. It can be accompanied by music, sparklers, or biodegradable confetti for an extra-special effect. It is the first thing to happen during a wedding reception timeline.

First Dance

A wedding’s first dance is a significant event in the reception and is traditionally shared between the newlyweds, who will be the first on the dance floor. It is a moment of intimacy, joy, and celebration that marks the start of their married lives together.

Parent Dances

A parent dance is a beautiful way to honor the special bond between parents and their children during a wedding reception. Parent dances are typically done after dinner has been served but before any special dances or festivities on the dance floor begin.

Cake Cutting

Cake Cutting usually takes place after the first dance and before dinner or dessert is served. Cutting the cake is a long-standing wedding tradition, symbolizing the couple’s commitment to each other.

Bouquet Toss

The bouquet toss is a fun and exciting part of any wedding reception and is usually done by a bride near the end of the reception after all the formalities have been completed. During the toss, a bride will throw her bouquet to a group of single wedding guests in attendance. Whoever catches it is said to be the next one to marry! Typically, the boquet toss is met with lots of excitement and a thrill at the potential for more weddings in the future.

Grand Exit

The grand exit is a special moment at any wedding. To provide a proper sendoff, family, and friends often line the aisle or gather around the entranceway to offer well wishes for the newlyweds as they enter married life.

Need The Perfect Venue for Your Wedding in Lancaster, PA? We Have Just The Place At Melhorn Manor

Whether you’re just beginning to plan your big day or are ready to look at wedding venues, Melhorn Manor is the ideal setting for your wedding in Lancaster, PA! Contact us to book a tour of our stunning, historic Mount Joy farm wedding venue today!