Planning Your Wedding – Wedding Terms Defined

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Planning Your Wedding – Wedding Terms Defined. When you start planning your wedding – for many couples, the wedding terminology has them so confused.  Each wedding vendor throws more wedding specific terms and it just is all so confusing.  We are here to help.  Let’s break down some of the more common wedding terminologies so you can better manage your wedding plans.

Your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Officiant / JP

The person that is licensed to perform your wedding ceremony and exchange of vows.  Many of our couples have a family member or friend officiate their wedding.  They will need to get a 1-day license to do this legally.  Please consult your state regulations regarding the rules governing this.  You can also use a Justice of The Peace for this or your family priest or rabbi.  There are also licensed Wedding Officiant/Wedding Celebrant (Not Justice Of The Peace) that do an amazing job of customizing your exchange of vows in a much more personal manner.

Wedding Musicians / Ceremony Microphones

Many of our wedding couples opt to have live music at their outdoor ceremony.  Sometimes your wedding band can have 1 or 2 of their members do this for you.  Other couples choose to hire separate classical musicians to do this.   Remember, just because you have musicians, does not negate the need for microphones for your ceremony.  We offer a dedicated ceremony system (battery-powered – no plug needed) with multiple wireless mics including handheld and clip-on lav mics.

Wedding Processional / Wedding Recessional

The music that is played as you (typically Bride) walk down the aisle with your father (or father and mother) is called the Wedding Processional.  The music as the two of you exit the ceremony is called the Wedding Recessional.  

Many couples also choose a song for the groom and officiant or the rest of the bridal party enters as well.
Most DJs will also provide PRE CEREMONY MUSIC as guests arrive and are seated.  You can choose this music or we can offer suggestions on what we have seen that has worked well for past weddings.

Wedding Ceremony Readings / Readers

Many couples want someone (other than the two of them or officiant) to give a reading during the ceremony.  
These are called READERS.  Be sure to have a separate microphone for their use as the lav mic on your officiant and on you will not pick them up.  We typically have a mic stand and handheld wireless mic for this purpose.

Your Wedding Reception

The Cocktail Hour / Social Hour

We have on occasion had couples that opted to have their cocktail hour BEFORE their on-site ceremony, but for the most part – the cocktail hour is done immediately following your ceremony.   Although it is referred to as the Social Hour, it doesn’t have to be an hour in length.  

Some couples cut it short to speed up meal service or to give them more dance time later.  Others want a more relaxed pace at their wedding and they extend their social hour to 90 minutes or even longer.

Think of your cocktail hour as a way to warm up your guests and get them into the mood for your celebration. Picking instrumental music or classical music is highly discouraged.  Think of the kind of music that the two of you listen to that reflects your personalities (but is not necessarily danceable).  This is a great time to infuse your personalities into your wedding day soundtrack.

Grand Introductions / Wedding Party Introductions

If you have not been to a wedding reception in the recent past – it has been a tradition for the bridal party, parents and couple to be introduced into the room by your MC (Master of Ceremonies).  You don’t have to do this, but it can be a great way to make a big entrance before your first dance or a way to introduce all the people in your bridal party.

You can choose the background music for your entrance – some couples want each couple in the bridal party to have their own theme song, others just want the two of them introduced.  It’s your choice how formal, upbeat or low-key your introduction will be.

You can even opt to do what we call our LOVE STORY INTRODUCTION where we don’t just introduce the two of you, but tell a little about your love story (if it has not been done at your exchange of vows).

Your First Dance As A Married Couple

We find that doing your first dance right at the end of cocktails and before dinner and toasts work best for your wedding day flow.  If you have a broken up facility where there is no room for dancing or guests are seated in separate rooms for dinner, we might suggest an alternative flow for your first dance.  

The first dance is normally done with just the two of you on the dance floor.  You can have guests seated at their tables or standing and circling the dance floor as you do this.  Do what feels right for the two of you.  We can fade your song out early if you don’t want to be out there for 4 or 5 minutes alone or we can have guests join you and kick off a dance set BEFORE DINNER to set the tone for your wedding day celebration.

Wedding Toasts / Wedding Speeches

If you are the Best Man or Maid Of Honor – it has become a wedding tradition that you say a few words at the reception. Sometimes these are called wedding toasts other people refer to them as wedding speeches. If you want to be technical – the TOAST comes at the end of the speech.

Your wedding DJ will arrange to have a wireless microphone at your head table for these toasts. We want the person giving the toast NEAR THE TWO OF YOU so that your photographer can get both them talking and YOUR REACTION in the same photo. We can arrange to have the handheld wireless microphone on your table or on a mic stand.

Your Parent Dances

It is typical of a Bride to dance with her Father and Groom to dance with his mother at weddings.  These are what we call the PARENT DANCES.   You can do them combined with one song or use separate songs.   Most couples want to fade these songs out so again they are not out there too long on their own.    

These dances are typically done – Bride/Father and then Groom/Mom in order.  Most of the time we suggest that they are staged at the end of dinner to signify the start of dancing.  They can also be done between meal courses to help spark DANCING BETWEEN COURSES.

Dancing Between Courses

No one wants to drag out your meal service.  Your guests want to get to the party portion of your wedding day.  There is, however, some built-in downtime between your meal courses (if you are having a sit-down plated meal), and we can use that natural downtime to get guests up and dancing for a couple of songs while we wait for the next course to come out.   This is a great way to keep your guests engaged and will help us cater to the older crowd’s music interests while they are most active.

Station Meal / Family Style Meal

If you are not into sitting for a 5-course plated meal, you might decide to do something a bit more upscale than a buffet at your wedding reception.  Station meals refer to having different stations around the room – maybe you have a carving station, a pasta station, a mash potato bar or a taco bar for your station meal choices.

Family Style refers to bringing large serving platters (meat, potatoes, salad, etc) to each table so that you pass around plates (like at Sunday Family Dinners in the movies and on TV).

Wedding Cake Cutting

It used to be typical that all weddings had those large wedding cakes, but many couples are deciding to do a donut station, cupcakes or other alternative dessert options.  If you are have a typical wedding cake, you can pose for a photo at your cake or opt for the tradition and cut the first piece of cake and feed each other.  Most of our recent millennial couples have decided to skip the traditional cake cutting and opt for just a simple photo op with their photographer and keep things low-key without announcing it at all.

Garter / Bouquet Ceremony

In past – the groom would remove the garter belt from his bride and he would throw this to the single men at the wedding.  The bride would toss her bouquet to the single ladies.  These two contestants would then be embarrassed in front of everyone as the guy placed the garter belt on the girl who caught the bouquet.  

For most of our couples, either they skip the garter belt completely and just toss the bouquet only or more often, our brides PRESENT THEIR TOSS BOUQUET to a special person (grandmother, mother, etc) instead.

Wedding Reception Uplighting

There are a few area wedding venues with built-in LED uplighting, but for the most part – it’s up to you decide if you want to add to your wedding with UPLIGHTING to accent your wedding decor and color scheme.

These lights are placed around the perimeter of the ballroom on the ground pointing upward to add color to the room architecture, whether that be wood barn beams, white columns or between the windows at your wedding venue.

The Last Dance

Think of how you want to end your wedding reception.   Maybe you want to sing along to Journey or do one last slow song.  Your last song (or songs) will help cap the night off just the way you want.  Be sure to talk to your band or DJ about how you want to wrap things up and any last announcements that need to be made about shuttle buses, after-parties or tomorrow’s breakfast send-off.

Planning Your Wedding – Wedding Terms Defined – Contact Us

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