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Acetate Fabric A thin, synthetic fabric with the luxurious look of silk.
Alencon Lace A fine needlepoint lace made of linen thread with corded designs on a sheer net background, often embellished with beading, sequins or pearls.
A-Line A universally flattering silhouette, which gradually flares from the waist.
Anniversary Cake A small cake to be enjoyed on the anniversary of a wedding.
Antebellum Waistline A bodice that dips two to three inches below the natural waist to a point in the center front. (see Basque Waistline)
Appliqué A piece of decorative fabric design or lace cutout applied to another fabric such as a dress, veil or shoes.
Ascot Tie This wide, formal tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a stickpin or tie tack. Reserved for wear with morning dress for formal daytime weddings, the ascot is worn with a grey cutaway (morning) coat, grey striped trousers, and a wing collar shirt.
Asymmetrical An uneven design element that creates interest: gathering of fabric on one side, an uneven hem, or a one-shoulder strap.
Aufruf (OOF-roof) A communal acknowledgment of the upcoming wedding, Aufruf is the Jewish custom of a groom being called up to the Torah for an aliyah.


B2B Acronym for bride-to-be.
Back-Up Cake A sheet cake of the same flavor as your wedding cake that is used to serve guests after the display cake has been served.
Ball Gown Traditionally, a ball gown is full-skirted reaching at least to the ankles, but usually extending to the floor. Ball gowns are most often made from full tulle skirts or from a tulle skirt with a satin or taffeta overlay.
Ballerina Skirt A very full skirt ending just above the ankle, often seen in tulle ball gowns.
Ballet Veil A tier of veiling that is approximately 60 inches in length and comes to about the brides' knees. It is sometimes referred to as Princess length.
Basque Waistline A basque waistline, like an antebellum waistline, dips in the middle two to three inches below the natural waist. A basque bodice begins at the natural waistline on the sides and dips to a point in the front.
Basting The temporary sewing together of two pieces of fabric to assure perfect pattern matches. Threads are removed once it is time to cut the fabric. Also known as underbasting.
Bateau Neckline A neckline referring to a wide neckline that runs horizontally, front and back, almost to the shoulder points across the collarbone. Also known as a Boat Neck.
Batiste A very soft lightweight, sheer fabric in a plain weave.
Battenberg (Battenburg) Lace Large cutout needle lace pattern of delicate floral or geometric designs. Also known as Renaissance Lace and Mezzo Punto.
Beading or Beadwork The art of attaching beads to one another or to cloth, usually by the use of a needle and thread or soft, flexible wire.
Bedeken (b'DEKEN) Translating as "veiling," Bedeken is the ceremonial veiling of the bride by the groom in an Orthodox Jewish wedding. Also known as Badeken, B'deken, Badekenish, or Bedekung.
Bell Sleeve Relatively full in circumference, this sleeve is fitted at the shoulder and flares as it approaches the wrist.
Bertha Collar A decorative collar often trimmed with lace, which is attached to the neckline. It ranges in length from nine to 18 inches.
Besom (be'-zum) An interior pocket with edging or stitching on the pocket lip. Also known as a piped, bound, welt, or "Reece" pocket.
Best Man The chief, male assistant to the groom at the wedding.
Bias Cut A sewing cut that runs diagonal to the weave of the fabric rather than perpendicular.
Bishop Sleeve A full sleeve set into a normal armhole and gathered on a band at the wrist.
Black Tie Required An event where a tuxedo or dinner jacket is required. No other options are permissible.
Black Tie Invited An event where a tuxedo or dinner jacket is encouraged, but not required. Proper dress other than a tuxedo would be dressy attire, such as a coat and tie.
Black Tie Optional Common for a less formal or non-wedding event. A white dinner jacket, black trousers, and black or colored accessories may be worn as an alternative to the classic black tuxedo.
Blouson A garment with a gathered or fitted waist and fabric drooping in fullness from bodice to waist, often blousing over the waistline.
Blusher Veil A shoulder length layer of veiling used to cover the face before the ceremony. Typically combined with a veil of another length, the blusher is then removed or flipped back.
BM(S) Acronym for bridesmaid(s).
Bodice The part of the dress that extends from shoulder to waist.
Bolero A cropped jacket that remains open in the front.
Bomboniere Italian for "favors," bombonieres are passed out to wedding guests as a keepsake in appreciation of their attendance.
Bouffant Slip The fullest of all slips, built with multiple layers of ruffle or tulle. Typically built with a drawstring at the waist, this style gives a slimming effect.
Boutonniere (boo'-t?-nîr') This is a single flower or bud or small group of flowers or buds worn by the males of the wedding party.
Bow A knot with two loops and loose ends, a bow is a popular addition to bridal and special occasion fashions. Bows are also occasionally used on invitations.
Bow Tie The bow tie is a men's necktie popularly worn with formal attire, such as suits or dinner jackets. It consists of a ribbon of fabric tied around the collar in a symmetrical manner such that the two opposite ends form loops.
BR Acronym for bride.
Braces The English term for suspenders, available in either button-on or clip-on.
Breaking of the Glass The symbolic smashing of the glass by the Chatan at the conclusion of the ceremony at a Jewish wedding.
BRG Acronym for bridal gown.
Bridal or Bride's Bouquet The bunch of flowers carried by the bride during the wedding ceremony, traditionally given to the bride from the groom.
Bridal Procession The entrance of the bride and her attendants in the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the bride enters last escorted by her father.
Bridesmaid A girl or unmarried woman who atttends a bride on her wedding. Historically, the bridesmaids protect the bride by wearing similar clothing to the bride's attire in an attempt confuse any "evil spirit" as to who the bride was.
Brocade A heavier fabric woven with a rich raised design to create a tone-on-tone pattern. Often the pattern is a floral or ribbon design.
Brush Train A very short train that barely sweeps the floor during the walk down the aisle. It is very attractive on a slim fitting gown.
Bubble Shaped Veil A veil designed in a "bubble" or fountain shape to create a voluminous look.
Buffet A self-service style meal at a wedding reception. Food and drinks are presented on a long table or series of tables for guests to serve themselves. Typically the most affordable option, however costs can rise as less control over food portions are exercised.
Bun Holder/ Wrap A medium to small circular headpiece that wraps around a bun, which is often decorated with beads or lace.
Burnout A process chemically treating fabric to create a distinctive pattern produces burnout fabrics.
Bust Measurement The tape should be at the fullest part of the breast, which is typically at the nipple line. This measurement should be taken by someone else to allow the bride or bridesmaids' arms to be relaxed at their sides.
Bustier A form-fitting article of clothing which supports the breasts to create cleavage.
Bustle The pulling up and fastening of fabric at the back of a dress to shorten the skirt or train. A longer train of a wedding dress may be bustled with multiple tiers.
Buttercream Icing This classic icing is made of butter, confectioner's sugar, and milk that can be colored or flavored. Used for decoration or filling on of wedding cakes, buttercream icing is soft and creamy making it versatile in texture.
Butterfly Sleeve Similar to a bell sleeve, the butterfly sleeve starts at the shoulder and gets wider toward the end of the sleeve. The butterfly sleeve connects to the garment across the front and back and is usually no more than four or five inches long.


Calligraphy This is an ornate, highly stylized form of handwriting seen on expensive wedding invitations and other places.
Candelabra Candelabra is the term traditionally referring to a pair (or more) of large, decorative candlesticks. Candelabras are often shaped as a column or pedestal and having several arms or branches for holding candles.
Candle Lighters The people chosen to light the taper candles before the wedding that the bride and groom will use to light the unity candle during the wedding ceremony.
Cane A formalwear accessory, this type of cane is straight and black with white tips on both ends. Traditionally carried when wearing "white tie and tails," it is accessorized with white gloves and a top hat.
Cap Sleeve A very short, often rounded sleeve that barely covers the top of the shoulder and does not extend below armpit level.
Capelet Sleeve Falls several inches below the elbow in a soft flare.
Capelet Train Flows from back of shoulders.
Cashmere Fabric A highly appreciated dress fabric; cashmere is commonly used in the making of formal sweaters, wraps, and and shawls.
Cathedral Train Extending six to eight feet, this formal cascading train is often removable for after the ceremony. A cathedral train is common for very formal weddings. Also known as a Monarch Train.
Cathedral Veil A long, typically three and a half yards in length, formal veil that coordinates with the Cathedral length gowns. It is often worn in combination with shorter veil.
Center Fold Card Center fold is a card with folds on both right and left which fold toward center.
Centerpiece Cake A specialty cake that takes the place of flowers as your table decorations.
Chapel Train A train that extends between three and four feet behind the gown. This is the most popular train length.
Chapel Veil Longer veil that coordinates with chapel length trains. This is the name for a length of bridal veil that will reach the floor, extending two and a half yards from the headpiece.
Charmeuse Fabric A lightweight fabric woven with a sativ weave, where the warp threads cross over three or more of the backing (weft) threads. The front side of the fabric has a satin finish - lustrous and reflective - whereas the back has a dull finish. Charmeuse wedding dresses are youthful and sexy, hugging the body and showing off curves.
Chatan (ha-TAN) Hebrew for groom. In Yiddish, the "Chossen."
Chiffon Fabric A flowing fabric made from silk or rayon that drapes well on the body. Chiffon is delicate, sheer, and transparent with a soft finish. It is often layered because of its transparency, making it practical for bridesmaid dresses and destination wedding dresses.
Chupah (hoo-PAH) The wedding canopy. Usually made of fabric with four corners attached to poles, this canopy is stretched over the couple.
Comb A decorative headpiece that is held in place with comb teeth. It can be worn alone or with a veil.
Continental Vest A backless vest designed to accommodate varied sizes of men. Available in a wide array of colors and fabric patterns. With the exception of boys sizes and extra large sizes, the vest comes as a "one size fits all." Includes adjustable strapping at the back of the neck for length and across the lower back to adjust waist. Also known as a waistcoat.
Corded Edge A slender length of twilled or twisted fabric creating a subtle raised line, often used as a border or edging pattern on netting.
Cornelli A complicated decorative form of icing used on wedding cakes which resembles lacework.
Corsage A single flower bloom or a small spray of blooms which are attached to a lace and either pinned to the front of a woman's dress or worn at her wrist. At weddings they are usually only worn by female relatives of the bride and groom. Currently, orchids are among the most popular flower choices for corsages.
Cotton Fabric A soft, natural, fabric produced from the vegetable fiber growing around the seed of the cotton plant. Cotton is a popular fabric choice for destination wedding dresses.
Court Train Extends a little under three feet from the waist.
Crepe de Chine Fabric A soft, thin crepe usually made from silk with a slightly crinkled surface.
Crepe Fabric A silk, wool, or polyester fabric of a guazy texture, having a crinkled appearance.
Crinkle Chiffon Fabric A lightweight, gently-textured sheer fabric with a fluid movement.
Crinoline Chrinoline was originally a stiff fabric with a weft of horse-air and a warp of cotton or linen thread.
Croquenbouche A specialty wedding cake formed with profiteroles (cream puffs) filled with hazelnut pastry cream, dipped in hot caramel, and placed on top of one another to create a cone shape.
Crown This traditional headpiece sits atop the head and usually features jeweled or beaded embellishments.
Cufflinks A decorative fastener worn by men or women to fasten the two sides of the cuff on a dress shirt or blouse.
Cummerbund Broad pleated waistband made of satin worn in place of a vest or waistcoat.
Cutaway Classic daytime formal attire that was traditionally worn only for events prior to noon, but is now acceptable up until mid-afternoon. A single button charcoal grey or black coat with a long coachman back. Also known as a morning coat.


Damask Fabric Damask (Arabic: دمسق‎) is a reversible figured fabric of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers, with a pattern formed by weaving.
Detachable Train Train that can be removed by a series of snaps or buttons.
Dias A podium or platform raised from the floor where the bride and groom are seated for the wedding reception. Also used to describe the centerpiece of the head table which drapes over the front for visual effect.
Die-Cut Cuts, slits, and holes in the paper which allow other pieces of paper or folds to tuck or slip into. The main purpose of a die-cut is for decoration, or to hold things together in the invitation decoration.
Dinner Jacket Panama weave, single or double breasted, self-faced shawl collar dinner jacket with black formal trousers. Traditionally in white, off-white, or Sahara tan, worn with pleated wing-collar or spread-collar shirt.
Dolman Sleeve A sleeve set into a very low armseye - the armseye may extend to the waistline, in which case there will be no underarm seam on the bodice.
Dotted Swiss A type of fabric first made on hand looms in Switzerland in 1750. While there are many variations of dotted swiss sold, the original look is always the same: a sheer, lightweight fabric with a dotted motif.
Double Envelopes Invitations and announcements typically come with double envelopes: an inner envelope and an outer envelope.
Double Tier A two layered veil with one layer typically longer than the other.
Dragees Round These are the edible and brightly colored balls of sugar seen on wedding cakes.
Drop The number of inches smaller the trouser waist of a suit is than the coat. A size 40 regular suit, for example, usually has a six inch trouser drop - a 34 inch waist.
Duchesse Satin Fabric A lightweight hybrid of silk and rayon (or polyester), this fabric is elegant and lustrous. Duchess satin is a shiny, heavy, and luxurious fabric commonly used for both couture and designer wedding gowns.
Dupioni Silk Fabric A crisp, lustrous fabric often woven from two different colors of threads, allowing it to shimmer or change color in the light. Made from an irregular, rough silk, dupioni has a crisp drape, reflective luster, and a nubby texture.


Elbow Length Veil A shorter veil, often in multiple layers, extending to the elbow.
Embellishment Adornments sewn onto a bridal gown - may include embroidery, lace, glass or crystal beads, ribbons, bows, sequins, fringes, pearls, and others.
Embroidery Elaborate designs stitched into the gown by hand or machine; may be beaded.
Empire Waist High waisted with a short bodice. The bodice has a high waistline directly below the bust and a skirt that begins two more inches above the natural waist.
Enclosure Card One of several invitation cards: reception, response, at home, ceremony, informal, thank you. Often identical to or coordinating the invitation, this is usually a folder card with five to six lines of print.
Euro Tie Often worn with a spread collar, this is a long tie that is more formal than a regular necktie, but less so than an ascot. (See Ascot)
Evening Dress Also known as full evening dress or white tie; this is the most formal dress code that exists for civilians today. A lady must wear a formal ball gown.
Extender Sheer netting or veiling that extends the length of the cathedral gown.
Eyelet A small hole edged with embroidered stitches to prevent unraveling.


Faille Fabric A heavier-weight, softly structured fabric with a delicate horizontal matte weave, creating a distinctive textured feel.
Father of the Bride Responsible for escorting his daughter down the aisle. According to tradition, the Father of the Bride pays for everything at a wedding but in modern times both families often share the costs.
Favors Small inexpensive gifts given to guests at a wedding ceremony or reception as a thank you and to serve as a souvenir.
Fedora (fí-dôr'-uh) A soft felt hat with a fairly low crown creased lengthwise and a brim that can be turned up or down.
FI Acronym for fiancé.
Fiancé or Fiancée Traditionally, the title of the groom or husband-to-be between the engagement and the wedding. A man who is engaged to be married is called his partner's fiancé. A woman similarly engaged is called her partner's fiancée.
Fingertip Veil A popular veil usually consisting of several layers that extend to the fingertips.
Fit and Flare A style of skirt that is fitted through the hip and flares out at approximately mid - thigh.
Flat Taffeta Fabric A medium-weight iridescent fabric with body and a relaxed all-over texture and sheen.
Flower Girl These are small children (usually girls) that lead the way down the aisle for the bride by holding a pomander or scattering flower petals from a small basket. Also known as a flower child. (See Pomander)
Flyaway This is a many layered veil that will barely reach to the shoulder.
FMIL Acronym for future mother-in-law.
FOB Acronym for father of the bride.
FOG Acronym for father of the groom.
Foil Foil is a shiny imprint commonly used for invitations, personalized napkins, and most paper accessories.
Fondant This is a sweet icing made from sugar, syrup and gelatin that has supple qualities which enable a layer to be draped over the wedding cake like a fabric. It is then used as the base for other elaborate decorations and designs.
Fountain A veil style, where part is gathered up atop the bride's head and the remainder set loose to fall around her face. A fountain veil will reach to either side of the shoulder or the elbow, depending on preference.
Four-in-Hand A four-in-hand is the simplest tie to knot; it creates a small knot to wear with a narrow-spread collar. The knotted tie hangs vertically similar to a business suit tie. It can be fastened with a tie tack and should be worn with a spread collar.
Fullback Vest Similar to the continental vest but with a full satin back like on a traditional three-piece suit. Usually found with an adjustable strap across the lower back to cinch-in any excess fabric. Also known as a waistcoat.
Fur A garment, such as a shawl or jacket, made of or lined with the dressed pelt of a mammal. Faux fur fabrics are often used as they come in a variety of thread lengths.