Washington Wedding Day's Essential Wedding Dictionary

A guide to all the terminology you'll encounter when planning your big day.
Written by
Mackenzie Sylvester


Seattle Bride Fall/Winter 2023
First Look 

This is an opportunity to privately (with or without the photographer) see your significant other for the first time on your wedding day, before the ceremony. Not only does it offer a calming, intimate moment and a magical photo opportunity, but “it can help calm nerves before the ceremony,” says photographer Alexus Nekich of Film Moods. “Some couples like it because they can express themselves more truthfully to how they would as if they were alone.”

FirstLookFilmMoodsFilm Moods

Cutting Cake

If an enormous wedding cake to feed the entire guest count isn’t a priority or in the budget, a small “cutting cake” is often created specifically for the cake-cutting tradition. “The cake becomes the centerpiece, surrounded by florals, champagne and candles,” says Amber Markland of Sift & Gather.

Styled Shoot

For styled photo shoots, wedding or elopement designs are created by wedding vendors to inspire real couples with ideas; they also give vendors the opportunity to showcase their work. “They are designed by a team to inspire creativity, help build portfolios and also be inspiration for real-life couples for their weddings,” says Film Moods’ Nekich.

StyledShootFilmMoodsFilm Moods

Vendor Meals

These are meals provided for the wedding vendors at the event. This may include planners, photographers, videographers, musicians—anyone working at the event.

Toss Bouquet

The bouquet toss often leaves wedding bouquets a wilted mess—not ideal for preservation. “The toss bouquet is a petite bouquet that mimics the bridal bouquet’s style but is built to fly through the air into the hands of a hopeful, and single, wedding guest,” explains Natalie Parks of Natalie Parks Floral and Design. “Instead of throwing the bridal bouquet, the smaller bouquet is made especially for this long-standing tradition.”

Courtney Hellen PhotographyCourtney Hellen Photography

Last Dance

Couples are generally so busy on their wedding day, they often don’t get a chance to just take it all in and be together. Unlike the first dance, when all eyes are on the couple, a last dance offers them a private moment. “Basically, it is your last chance before the night is over to cherish each other exclusively and take in all the feels,” says Nekich. (Plus, it’s an amazing photo op!)

Film Moods Last DanceFilm Moods


“‘Strike’ is another word for teardown at the end of the night,” notes Taylor Rychener of Bixby + Pine. Vendors will remove installations after the event. This removal will often need to be scheduled in a staggered manner among vendors, depending on the complexity and size of the event.

Invitation Suite

This refers to the package of all the standard paper components that come with your invitations. “This is the entire invitation that goes to your guests, oftentimes consisting of your ceremony/reception invite, a details card (with welcome party and farewell brunch info), RSVP/envelope, and anything else (a sketch of your venue, a map of the area, etc.), all wrapped up in a pretty envelope,” explains Taylor Rychener of Bixby + Pine. 

Meg Layman PhotographyMeg Layman Photography