A Guide to Wedding Tradition Terminology

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Wedding RingAll throughout the United States, there are many traditions that make up an average wedding ceremony. Regardless if you include traditions from other cultures or choose to do the most common ones, there are going to be a lot of phrases and terminology you’ll need to learn to understand everything that’s going on. Since you probably won’t hear most of these terms at any other time in your life, we have put together this guide to wedding tradition terminology to help you makes sense of it all.

Standard Wedding Tradition Terminology

  • Jack and Jill: Rather than having a bridal shower with just the bride and her close friends, a Jack and Jill is pretty much the same thing except the groom and his friends are also invited. This can be fairly typical if the couple is older or has children already, and also there are usually more gifts given to the couple in this type of scenario. Popular locations for these types of coed wedding showers include bars, nightclubs, or a backyard barbecue.
  • Trousseau: This is just a term that is used to describe the items a soon-to-be bride gathers for the bedroom for their wedding night. These items include the sheets and blankets as well as the lingerie she’s planning to wear. Trousseau is an old term that was considered more elegant than simply spelling out what its definition was.
  • Sendoff Line: A sendoff line can go by many different names such as a “grand exit” or “farewell line”, but regardless of what you call it all means the same thing. Essentially, all of your guests line up to form an aisle and say farewell as you leave the reception hall for your honeymoon. Traditionally, your guests would throw rice as part of an ancient fertility rite, but things like birdseed, wedding sparklers, and confetti have become more popular in recent years.
  • Wedding Ring: Probably the oldest tradition in the book, the exchanging of wedding rings is meant to symbolize the circle of love that is always unbroken and never ending. The reason that wedding rings are placed on the 4th finger of the left hand is due to the idea that there was a vein in that finger that led straight to the heart; a notion the was eventually disproven.

The terminology listed above should help you understand some of the more common wedding traditions and their historic origins. Though we tried to cover most of the terminology we are asked about on a regular basis, the above guide to wedding tradition terminology is far from a complete guide. Always be sure to ask your friends or family for information if you run into something you don’t understand because chances are they’ve gone through it already at their wedding ceremony. If you found this guide to wedding tradition terminology helpful, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media platform. Good luck and have fun planning your wedding!


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