You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a lesson in a while. I’ve been busy with in-person English students…and beginning to plan my wedding! It isn’t until October, but it takes so much planning. It’s inspired me to post some wedding vocabulary for you!
Note: Below, I’ll use terms like “bride” and “groom” to refer to the woman and man (respectively) who are getting married, but of course, not all wedding couples are made up of a bride and groom.
A (wedding) reception is a party held after a wedding ceremony for the friends and family of the bride and groom. Typically, a reception has food, drinks, and entertainment, and it is where the bride and groom have their first dance together as a married couple, and cut and serve their wedding cake.
Example: You’re invited to our reception! It will be after the ceremony and we’ll have a band.
wedding party (n.)
Sometimes this phrase is confused for the reception. But the “wedding party” is actually a group of people who stand up with the bride and groom at the wedding ceremony. It fluctuates from couple to couple — some couples just have two people in their wedding party (one person for the bride and one person for the groom), while others have five or six or more for both the bride and groom.
Example: I was in the wedding party for both of my sisters when they got married.
best man / maid of honor (n.)
The best man and the maid of honor are both members of the wedding party. The best man stands next to the groom at the ceremony and may be a family member or close friend. The maid of honor (or “matron of honor” if she is married) stands next to the bride at the ceremony. Both the best man and maid of honor symbolize support for the new couple, and can also help to organize events leading up to the wedding (like a wedding shower or bachelor / bachelorette parties).
Example: I was maid of honor for my best friend when she got married last year. I also planned her wedding shower.
fiancé / fiancée (n.)
That’s right, English doesn’t have its own words for two people who are engaged to be married to each other. Instead, English uses the French words “fiancé” for a man and “fiancée” for a woman who are going to marry each other.
Example: My fiancé is from Brazil. (This means: My husband-to-be is from Brazil.)
wedding shower (n.)
Like other events with “shower” in the name – like a baby shower – a wedding shower is about celebration of something that is coming. Family and friends unite to celebrate a couple before they are married. This can be a dinner or small party where people play games related to the couple or other celebratory activities. Not everyone has a wedding shower, and sometimes instead, the bride and groom have separate pre-wedding parties, like a bachelorette / bachelor party.
Example: We are having a wedding shower at my mom’s house one month before the wedding. It will be informal and we’ll have some refreshments.
to get / be engaged (ph. v.)
This is when one of the people in the couple proposes marriage to the other person. When talking about the proposal, you use “to get engaged”, and when talking about your state of being engaged, use “to be engaged.”
(to get engaged) We got engaged on the beach! He proposed in the sand.
(to be engaged) We are engaged now! It has been almost 6 months.
This is the vacation that a married couple takes after their wedding ceremony and reception. Sometimes this is directly after the wedding, and sometimes it is later. Typically, a honeymoon is a romantic destination.
Example: We are going to Hawaii for a week for our honeymoon! I can’t wait!
What about you? What are some other wedding-related words or phrases? What are some common wedding traditions in your culture?
Get lessons like this sent to your email inbox
Sign up for the Teacher Amanda email list and get a free e-book of common English expressions in your first email.