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The Wedding Planning Glossary

The world of wedding planning is a blast to dive into, but it’s also full of new terminology that many couples may not know. Your vendors, venue and wedding planner (if you have one) will likely use words and phrases specific to their fields that you might not be familiar with, which is why I’ve put together this handy guide to some of the most common wedding planning terminology you may hear as you start planning your special day!


Micro Wedding

This term has become more common during the pandemic. A micro wedding is a small wedding and/or reception with fewer than 50 guests.

micro wedding
Micro Wedding at Grandfather Golf and Country Club, Linville, NC

Day of Coordinator

A day of coordinator works on your wedding day to ensure that your vendors are in place and that everything runs smoothly and stays on schedule. Unlike a wedding planner, they won’t help you with your planning process, but will be there to coordinate your day.

Wedding Planner

A wedding planner is a professional who assists you in planning your wedding day. Planners generally have relationships with venues and vendors and can help you stay on budget and keep organized.

First Look

The first look is when the bride and groom have a private moment prior to the ceremony where they first see each other. This event is captured by the photographer and/or videographer. Click here for more information to help decide if a First Look is right for you.

Color Palette

Your color palette for your wedding day includes the colors you plan to use in your décor, flowers and bridal party attire. Many of your vendors will ask about your wedding colors to help ensure that your wedding vision comes to life.

Naked Cake

A naked cake doesn’t have any frosting on the outside, allowing everyone to see the filling, usually an assortment of fruit.



Fondant is used to decorate cakes and is generally used for fancier wedding cakes.


wedding cake cutting
Bride and Groom cutting cake under chandelier, fondant icing

Candid Photography

Candid photography, also known as photojournalistic or documentary photography, includes natural images captured as they happen. Candid photos are not posed and capture genuine emotion. I do a mixture of posed and photojournalistic photography when shooting weddings.

A western North Carolina wedding photographer capturing the bride and groom cutting their wedding cake.
fun time cutting the cake, roses and hydrangeas, candid photo
bride and groom in the glens at McRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain, Linville, NC
more formal, posed shot of the same couple

Shot List

Your photographer will likely talk to you about your shot list, which is a list of photos that you would like captured during your wedding ceremony and reception. These can include specific events, such as your first kiss or first dance, as well as posed photos of your family and wedding party.


Click here for ideas to help you plan your Wedding Details shot list.   


Click here for ideas to help you plan your Wedding Formals shot list.

These are things we will discuss and plan together prior to your wedding day.  

Place Cards

Place cards show each guest their assigned table and seat at the reception. These cards are used for a more formal event, generally with a served dinner.


Escort Cards


These cards direct guests to the table where they are supposed to sit, instead of a specific seat. Escort cards are less formal than place cards.


The processional is when the wedding party walks down the aisle to start the ceremony. Those involved in the wedding party include the officiant, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer and the bride and groom.



The recessional is when the wedding party exits after the ceremony is over.

A couple in a red dress posing on a fence captured by a western North Carolina wedding photographer.
posed shot that turned into a candid--one of my favorites!

Save the Date

Save the Date cards are often sent to guests prior to your official wedding invitations to inform them of the date of your wedding.


Sweetheart Table

A sweetheart table is a private table set up just for the bride and groom.


Corkage Fee

A corkage fee is often charged by the bottle at a wedding venue for any alcohol that is not provided by the venue itself. That means, if you purchase your own wine for your wedding reception, your venue may charge a fee for each bottle.


E-Session / Engagement Shoot

An engagement photo session is a fun way to document and celebrate your engagement. These photos are often taken by your wedding photographer, giving you and your partner the opportunity to get to know your photographer better and to feel more comfortable with them prior to your wedding day. Many couples use their engagement photos to announce their engagement or personalize their save-the-date cards. These photos can help you tell your love story and celebrate what makes your relationship unique.


Golden Hour

Your photographer may mention “golden hour,” one of the most beautiful lighting times during the day for photos. Golden hour is right before sunset and can result in some incredible images, both for your engagement session and your wedding photography.


Vendor / Supplier Meal

When determining how many people you need to feed, don’t forget to include your vendors, such as your photographer, videographer, coordinator and anyone else who will be present during your reception and working during your wedding day.



The send-off is when the couple exits the reception, traditionally to leave for their honeymoon, although some couples have their honeymoon at a later date. During the send-off, the bride and groom walk past all their guests who generally line up in two rows, creating an aisle for the couple to walk down. Send-offs often include streamers, bubbles, flags, flowers or sparklers.

wedding couple with sparklers

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Hi, Friend

From Rodney

I look forward to getting to know you in the weeks and months ahead as we journey together to plan your wedding day photography experience. I am here to capture your moments, one memory at a time. 

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