Wedding Planning Terms & Abbreviations Decoded

I will never forget the time I emailed a client an off-hand comment that was something like this: "We're ready for STDs."

Needless to say, I immediately got a phone call asking me why I was talking about sexually transmitted diseases. I was horrified. Obviously, I wasn't talking about traditional STDs but how was an innocent client going to know that? 

In my wedding planning-focused world it's easy to get wrapped up in all of the lingo and not realize that sometimes these words and acronyms sound cryptic and are confusing to the average person. 

I thought it would be fun to break down some of the usual wedding and event-related lingo so you're prepared (and not totally confused) when you see some of these things in wedding communications.

Wedding Planning Abbreviations and Terms Decoded | LIG Events | Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

Wedding Abbreviations

STD = Save the Date
When used in wedding communication, "STD" is used as an abbreviation for "Save the Date" which is the precursor to your invitation. Sent once you have a date and location, your STDs will alert guests to hold the date and start making plans while they await a formal (and more detailed) invitation.   

The next few are pretty self-explanatory... 

MOB = Mother of the Bride
When we use "MOB" we are not referencing crime families or flash mobs. 

FOB = Father of the Bride
Nope, we're not talking about keys or the little magnetic things you use to enter an apartment building. 

MOG = Mother of the Groom
"MOG" is our term for this important lady!

FOG = Father of the Groom
We're not referencing the weather.

MOH = Maid of Honor
Pretty self-explanatory based on the first initials of this important lady's title.

BM = Best Man
When we mention "BM" we are not using the medical abbreviation for something unmentionable.

HDO = Hors d'oeuvre
If you don't know what an "hors d'oeuvre" is, don't worry, you're not the only one.
"Hors d'oeuvre" is a French term for "appetizer" and in the catering world it's used to describe the one (or two) bite finger food that is offered to guests during the cocktail hour of an event. They can also be described as "canapés".
(Technically "canapes" are a form of an hors d'oeuvre as HDOs can also be larger and more than one bite. But don't let my technicalities confuse you. My degree in French is just dying to be used...)

MUA = Make-Up Artist
I'll admit that I see this term being used primarily amongst make-up artists themselves, not amongst most wedding planners I know. But I felt I should include it in case you come across it and say "HUH?" like I once did!

Wedding Terms

Have you ever seen a bride and groom's initials projected onto a dance floor? A gobo was used for that.
A gobo is a stencil placed inside a lighting fixture that controls the shape of the emitted light. They can either be made from metal or glass (glass is better for more complex/detailed artwork) and they're great for adding a custom touch to your event space!

Trash the Dress
This term describes a photo session that is usually done a day or two after the wedding when you take photos you wouldn't otherwise take on your wedding day. You may do things that cause irreparable harm to your dress (i.e. take underwater photos, frolic in the sand or mud, actually cut your dress) or you may just sit on some rocks by the water. 

Underwater "Trash the Dress" Photo via  Diego Munoz Photography

Underwater "Trash the Dress" Photo via Diego Munoz Photography

Engagement Session
I think this term is pretty intuitive, especially if you regularly peruse wedding blogs. However, if you don't, here's a quick explanation: An engagement session is usually a one or two hour shoot with your wedding photographer that is scheduled months before the wedding. It's a good way to get photos to use on your wedding website and/or Save the Date (if you want a photo-centric one). It's also a good way to get familiar with your wedding photographer and get more comfortable being in front of the camera before your big day. 

First Look
This term refers to the moment the bride and groom (or bride & bride or groom & groom) see each other for the first time on their wedding day. It's usually a well-orchestrated event that photographers love to capture. 
If you'd like time to get all of your photos out of the way before the ceremony, or you'd like some private time with your future spouse before the ceremony and festivities get underway, then a "first look" is probably for you.

Hand Canceling
This term is one that all stationers know!
"Hand Cancelling" refers to an old technique used by the Postal Service to stamp, or "cancel", your postage to prevent its reuse. These days machines do all of the work, but if you're mailing something precious that you'd like to arrive as intact as possible (i.e. your wedding invitations), take your mail to the Post Office and ask for the item to be hand canceled. You will get a lovely old-fashioned stamp over your postage and your envelope will be on its way without black ink smudges from an overused machine. 
(I must admit that this process is sometimes not as easy as it sounds. I will write another post on this topic soon to share some of my tips!)

So there you have it. A ton of information that will have you understanding wedding language in no time! 

I know I didn't cover all of the possible terms and abbreviations, so let me know which ones I missed in the comments!