Wedding Industry Terms You Should Know Before Planning Your Massachusetts Wedding | Saphire Event Group

So you’re planning a wedding… congratulations!!  

We know how fun, yet sometimes complicated wedding planning can be, being that the wedding industry seems to have a language of its own. Before getting lost in the word jumble, we’ve put together a list of the top wedding industry terms you should know before planning your wedding. 


  • Semi-Formal Attire- Sometimes known as, “Dressy Casual,” Semi-Formal is a great option for a relaxed afternoon wedding. Men are encouraged to wear a nice button down shirt with an optional tie. Women typically wear a cocktail length dress or a dress below the knee. 
  • Cocktail Attire- Cocktail attire bridges the gap between a day wedding and night wedding. Guests are still expected to dress up but are not expected to wear a floor-length gown or tuxedo. 
  • Formal or Black Tie Optional- Formal attire or Black Tie optional  is the bridge between Cocktail and Black Tie. Guests really have the freedom to get as dolled up as they want, but floor-length gowns and tuxedos are not required.
  • Black Tie– Guests are required to wear floor length gowns and tuxedos.
  • White Tie- A step above Black Tie, White Tie requires not only floor-length gowns and tuxedos, but men must wear tuxedo tailcoats with peaked lapels. Talk about fancy!

    Teal Bridesmaids Dresses for Summer Wedding
    Katie Karlberg Photography

Bar Types

  • Cash Bar– Guests are expected to pay for their own drinks at your wedding. 
  • Open Bar by Consumption- This means that the person paying for the wedding will pay the bar tab after the wedding is over, based on how much guests actually consume. 
  • Open Bar- All drinks ordered by the guests are already paid for by the couple or family member responsible. Guests are still usually expected to tip unless otherwise noted by the newlyweds.
Bridesmaids Toast in Multicolor Bridesmaids Dresses at The Villa
The Talented Photographer

Décor Details

  • Escort Cards- Escort cards are similar to place cards, however guests are guided to a table and not a particular seat.
  • Invitation Suite– The invitation suite includes all of the wedding details and info your guests need such an RSVP card, rehearsal dinner or welcome party information if applicable, overnight accommodations details such as if there is a particular hotel block, any transportation information, and details about their wedding website where guests can find additional information such as the couple’s wedding registry. Click here to learn more about when to send your invitation suite and what to include.
Wedding Invitation Flat Lay With Neutral Color Palette
Candid Memories Studio
  • Pergola/Arbor- A pergola, also sometimes referred to as an arbor, is an arch that creates a focal point for the wedding ceremony. Many wedding venues have a pergola onsite for your wedding ceremony, however many venues allow you to bring in your own!
Bride and Groom Kiss Under White Pergola
Angelina Rose Photography
  • Chiavari Chair- A Chiavari chair is a light-weight chair that is recognizable for its bamboo-like frame. Chiavari chairs add another element of sophistication to your wedding reception.


  • Floating Candles- Decorative candles that are designed to float in a vase of water to serve as an elegant decor piece. 
  • Taper Candle- Taper candles are what you would think of when you think of a candlestick. Some venues require taper candles to be inside of a hurricane vase to avoid potential accidents.
  • Votive- A votive candle is a small decorative tea candle. 
  • Pillar Candles- A pillar candle is thick enough to stand on its own without a stand. Similarly to taper candles, some venues require pillar candles to be encased in hurricane vases. 
Sweetheart Table Decorated With Floating Candles and Babys Breath
In Our Image Photography

Check with your venue to see which types of candles they allow for your wedding day and any regulations they may have that you should be aware of before making that dreamy Pinterest inspo board for your wedding décor!


  • Wedding Producer- At Saphire Event Group, a Wedding Producer is someone who will be assigned to you six months out from your wedding day to help with confirming vendors, planning your timeline and details, and executing your wedding on the big day! Click here to learn more about the differences between a Saphire Event Group Wedding Producer and an outside event planner. 
  • In-House Catering- Your wedding venue has its own chefs and staff who will provide all of the catering for your event. 
  • Out-Caterer– An out-caterer is when you hire a caterer that is not affiliated with your wedding venue.
  • Split Meal- A split meal gives your guests the option to choose what they will be having to eat at your wedding. When you receive a wedding invitation in the mail and the RSVP card says “Chicken or Beef” this is considered a split meal. If you wanted to offer guests a chicken, beef, and vegetarian option to choose from, this would be considered a triple-split meal.

Pan Seared Salmon with Mango Pineapple Salsa

  • Ceremony Processional- When the wedding party walks down the aisle toward the location that the ceremony will take place. 
  • Ceremony Recessional- Opposite of the processional, the recessional is the order in which the newlyweds and wedding party exit the wedding ceremony and into cocktail hour for drinks and delicious passed apps.
  • Receiving Line- A receiving line is a tradition that we are seeing far and few between at weddings these days, but they are still incorporated by some! The receiving line typically is a welcome line including the newlyweds and their close family members who say hello to guests as they walk from the ceremony into the reception. Traditionally this is when gifts were handed to the family and couple, which is where the name “receiving line” came from. 

At Saphire Event Group, we’ve been helping plan and execute beautiful weddings for over 40 years at our four Massachusetts wedding venues. For more wedding planning tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on social media at @saphireeventgroup on all platforms!

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