Four Wedding Terms You’ve Never Heard Of

Wedding Terms


If you think you know everything there is to know about weddings, think again. Here are four fun wedding terms that you’ve probably never heard of, and how you can incorporate these new things into your own unique wedding.

John Maher:  Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today Faye Broderick, senior consultant at the Essex Room, a wedding venue on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Today we’re talking about four wedding terms you’ve never heard of. Welcome, Faye.

Faye:  Thanks, John.

How Weddings Have Changed in Recent Years

John:  So Faye, how has the way people talk about weddings changed? Do brides today not use the same language to describe design elements of a wedding as they used to?

Faye:  I think it really depends on what it is that brides are talking about, [like] a particular item. [For example], a piece of place setting or a flower arrangement, a hair piece, [or] something of that nature. So the terms may have changed or shifted a bit, but I think in general, when using a different word they are trying to get the same point across.

John:  Right, right. So I’m going to go through these four terms and maybe take my guess as to what they are. I might know one or two of them, and you can let me know whether or not I’m right.

1. What Is a Charger?

John:  OK, so the first one is a charger. And if I’m right, this has something to do with plates.

Faye:  Yes. So a charger is an oversized plate, usually, that runs about 11.5 to 13 inches. They are generally decorative in nature, and decorative only. So when you walked into your banquet hall, your function room, wherever it is that you are holding your reception, the tables would be set with the flatware or the glassware and this pretty charger.

It could be textured, it could be beaded, and usually, its function is just for decoration. They come in a variety of colors and different textures. Some of them look burlapy, they’re woven, [or] glass. They can really add a lot to a place setting, but their function is simply decorative.

John:  But you’re not putting food on them?

Faye:  No. What we would do is we would set your charger. We would maybe put your first course, if it’s a salad course, on the charger. Depending on the size of your dinner plate, it may go on the charger. But in most cases, the charger will leave after that first course.

John:  Oh interesting. So you’ll actually take the salad plate and the charger away at the same time and then bring the dinner plate out instead.

Faye:  Yes.

2. What is a Pomander?

John:  All right, so the next term is pomander. Am I saying that right?

Faye:  Close enough.

John:  Yeah. And I actually don’t know what that is.

Faye:  So think of the holidays and what they call kissing balls. They are the big balls that have the evergreen stuck in them and the big bow, and sometimes they have some pine cones, maybe some little ornaments and maybe you hang them from a hook in your yard or hook on your doorway.

John:  Similar to a wreath, but it’s in a ball shape.

Faye:  Exactly. The way we see those used in weddings are usually the flower girl is carrying them or a smaller version is hung from something like a Sheppard’s hook lining a ceremony aisle.

John:  OK.

Faye:  They’re cute. They’re pretty.

John:  It’s just decorative. Does it have any meaning to it at all?

Faye:  Nope.

3. What is a Fascinator?

John:  No, OK. Then our third term is a fascinator. I think I know what this one is, actually. I know it, because of the royal wedding. I think everybody learned about fascinators then. Because if I’m right, it was Princess Beatrice who had this crazy ribbon thing in her hair at the royal wedding with Kate Middleton. And everybody was talking about this crazy thing that she had in her hair and that was a fascinator.

Faye:  That was a fascinator. Almost everyone at that wedding was wearing a fascinator at some sort, because the term is pretty broad. You mentioned Princess Beatrice, and I don’t think there was anything that wasn’t in that headpiece.

A fascinator, in general, is a large decorative design usually attached to a clip that you would put in your hair. Sometimes, in most times, it is attached to a hat‑like base to give it some stability. Again, your best reference, as you said, to see a fascinator would be to look at photos of Kate and William’s wedding.

John:  Look up Kate Middleton, Beatrice, or something like that, and it will come up.

Faye:  Who didn’t watch that? If it was not even for the royal part, but for the fashion part, it was fantastic. I wore a hat that day. It was great!

John:  So that’s what it is. It is basically an alternative to wearing a hat. A lot of women would wear hats to weddings back in the day. Of course, the bride would wear a veil. Is the fascinator something that the bride would wear in place of a veil, or is it something that people might wear to the wedding?

Faye:  A little bit of both. A bride could, depending on the size and the dress and the style of the wedding. You don’t want to overwhelm your face, your head, your dress, your stature in general, with an overly large headpiece. When simplifying a headpiece, these days, most girls are going for a birdcage veil.

If your wedding is more formal and a church might have a longer cathedral length veil to trail out the bottom of your dress and your veil. But usually, you would see that on guests, and predominately in Great Britain and Europe. Fascinators, not so much here. The hats, usually in the south, here in the US.

4. What is a Trousseau?

John:  Then our fourth term is a trousseau, if I’m saying that right. It has something to do with the dress, maybe?

Faye:  Not exactly. Related, but not really. In times past, a trousseau was what the bride took into the marriage. A collection of perhaps undergarments, garments, jewelry, things of that nature. Think of when you hear your grandmother maybe talk of her hope chest.

So those were things that were collected in the hope chest for when the woman got married and she took those into her marriage. So they would be things past to present, and they would see the bride through her newlywed days, her new outfits, her new dresses for formal occasions, things of that nature.

John:  All of those things are considered the trousseau?

Faye:  Yes. Not quite similar to a dowry.

John:  Yeah. I was going to say similar to a dowry, in a way. But yeah.

Faye:  If anyone watches Fiddler on the Roof, matchmaker makes me a match. And with no dowry, no money. The dowry was what your dad paid the groom to marry you so.

John:  It could include livestock and things like that way back in the day.

Faye:  Can you imagine? You got pretty things to take with you into the marriage, and your husband got some cows, maybe some cash.

John:  But in a similar way, it was something to get them started as a couple and as a family, and something to keep them moving forward so a little bit of that wealth from the family passed down into next generation.

Faye:  Yes. And usually, the hope chest went, too.

John:  All right, OK. That was really great information. That was a lot of fun. Thanks, Faye.

Faye:  Thanks, John.

John:  And for more information and wedding plan tips or to inquire about having your wedding at the Essex Room you can visit the or call 978‑768‑7335.