WTF is an STD: Offbeat Bride's glossary to wedding acronyms and phrases

Updated Oct 12 2015
meggyfin
Wedding invitation from Minted.
Wedding invitation from Minted.

If you're new to wedding planning, there may be some terms you don't know. Or are you wondering why your engaged friend keeps talking about their STDs? Here's a list of phrases that get mentioned a lot in the wedding industry.

You will notice that there are a lot of wedding acronyms, but please note that we feel strongly that acronyms suck. We avoid the use of wedding acronyms on Offbeat Bride because we think they create a wall of abbreviated language that shuts people out.

But it's not just the wedding acronyms that can be confusing — the wedding planning lexicon is a strange beast. For example, what's the difference between Escort Cards and Place Cards? You're about to find out…

A

AFAIK – As Far As I Know
Aisle Runner – Something that runs the length of the aisle, typically cloth.
A-Line – A dress shape with a fitted bodice and slight flare starting around the waist
Appliqué: French word meaning "applied," in fashion it involves decorating the surface of a fabric by applying pieces of cut fabric on top of it.

B

BF – Best friend/Boyfriend
BFF – Best friend forever
BM – either Best man, or Bridesmaid, or bowel movement (see? this is why we hate acronyms!)
BIL – Brother in law
Birdcage veil: Skims the face and head, never falling below the chin.
Black Tie – A formal dress code that calls for tuxedos and evening gowns
Black Tie Optional – Tuxedos and formalwear are suggested, but not required
Boutonnière – a small grouping of something-or-other attached to the left lapel of a jacket.
Blusher: A short veil that covers the bride's face, aka. "shoulder length veil"
Bomboniere – The Italian word for wedding favors
BP – Bridal party
Bridal Portraits – Professional photos of the bride
Bridezilla – Irrational demanding bride
Bridethulhu – it's the new Bridezilla
Browncoat – Fans of TV show Firefly and it's movie Serenity. AKA geeks.
BTB/B2B – Bride To Be
BTW – By the way
Buffet – An informal way of serving food (or candy) at wedding receptions where dishes are set out and guests serve themselves.
Bustle – Attaching the train of a dress to the back to keep it up.
BWW – Big White Wedding, a traditional and formal Western wedding.

C

Card Stock – Paper that is thicker than writing paper but thinner and more flexible than other forms of paperboard.
Cash Bar – A bar where guests have to pay for drinks.
Cathedral Train – A dress train typically over seven feet long
Cathedral Veil – A dramatic veil length that extends to the floor
CF – Child free
Charger – A larger more decorative plate that rests under the dinner plate
Chiffon – A lightweight, sheer fabric
Chuppah – A traditional canopy held over the couple in Jewish weddings.
Cocktail Attire – A dress code that is less formal and calls for suits and cocktail dresses
Cons – Short for Conventions, usually used in reference to Comic Conventions
Cosplay – Short for Costume Play, can refer to period dress or theme dress as in paying homage to favorite movie/television/game/comic characters
Crinoline – A petticoat, or the fabric it's made from.
Crudités – Raw vegetable appetizers served with dip

D

Dais – A raised platform where the bride and groom sit at a reception
Damask – An ornate flowery pattern, typically comes in black and white
DD – Dear daughter
Day of Coordinator – The person organising all the other wedding staff.
DF – Dear Fiancé or Dear Father
DH – Dear Husband
Die Cut – A technique used to create "windows" in invitations
DIL – Daughter in law
DIY – Do It Yourself
DM – Dear Mother
DOC – Day-of Coordinator
DS – Dear Son

E

E-ring – Engagement Ring
Elopement – Running away to get married, or getting married without telling anyone
Engraved invites – similar to embossing, it gives the writing a texture
Escort Cards – Cards that direct guests to their assigned tables

F

Fascinator – Feathers, ribbons, beads etc. as a headdress but not a hat or veil.
Family Style – A dinner where guests help themselves as they would at a dinner table
FBIL – Future Brother in Law
FIL – Father in Law
FFIL – Future Father in Law
FH – Future Husband
FI – Fiancé/Fiancée
Fiancé/Fiancée – A French word meaning "this is the person I'm gonna marry." Fiancé is the masculine and fiancée the feminine.
Filler – Inexpensive flowers and foliage (think baby's breath) used to fill out floral arrangements
FMIL – Future Mother in Law
FOB – Father of (the) Bride
FOG – Father of (the) Groom
Fondant – A very smooth and maleable icing that dries hard.
FSIL – Future Sister in Law
FTB – Father to Be
FTW – either For The Win (yay) or Fuck The World (boo)
FW – Future Wife

G

Gamer – people who are heavily involved in the world of video gaming
Ganache – thin icing or sauce composed of chocolate and heavy cream.
Garter – narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg
Getting weddinged – planning a wedding after you're already legally married.
Genderqueer – gender identities other than "man" and "woman"
GF – Girlfriend
GFIL – Grandfather in Law
Groom's Cake – An excuse for a second cake, that's often way cooler than the wedding cake.
GM – Grooms Man
GMIL – Grandmother in Law
Guestbook – something available for your guests to acknowledge that they were there

H

Handfasting – a Pagan wedding ceremony where the couples hands are tied together.
Henna – In some Muslim and Hindu weddings it's traditional to have a paste made from dried henna leaves to paint intricate patterns on hands (and sometimes also feet) of the bridal party
HTB/H2B – Husband To Be

I

IL – In-laws
Inspiration Board – A collection of photos providing ideas and inspiration.
IRL – In Real Life

J

JOP – Justice of (the) Peace, a type of officiant

K

Ketubah – The contract Jewish couples sign that states the obligations of the marriage.

L

Letterpress – A vintage-style printing technique giving words a grooved texture.
LGBT: Collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people.

M

Mantilla Veil – A Spanish-style veil with a wide lace border
Marzipan – An almond-flavored paste.
Mercury Glass – The term for silvered glass
Mermaid Dress – A dress silhouette that is fitted through the body and hips and flares out below the knees
MIL – Mother in Law
MOB – Mother of (the) Bride
MOG – Mother of (the) Groom
MOH – Maid/Matron of Honour
Momthulhu – an overbearing mother
MTB – Mother to Be

N

NSFW – Not Safe For Work
NWR – Not Wedding Related

O

OBB/OB – Offbeat Bride
OBG – Offbeat Groom
Offbeat Bride Tribe – The private community for Offbeat Brides planning their weddings
Officiant – the person conducting the wedding ceremony.
OH – Other Half
One lowsmanship – getting competitive about how little you're spending
OP – Original Post/er
Open Bar – A bar where the drinks are free to guests.

P

Pew Bow – Decorations on the end of rows of seating at the ceremony.
Place Cards – used to designate a guests seat at the table
Pomander – A round ball covered in flowers and often with an attached ribbon.
Porn – Exciting photos of wedding related stuff.
Pro-Porn – Professional photos of exciting wedding stuff.
Processional – The bridal party's entrance to the ceremony

Q

Queer – an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, or cisgender.

R

Recs – Recommendations
Receiving Line – The couple greets each guest in turn as they enter the reception.
Reception cards – include both escort cards and/or place cards
Recessional – When the wedding party exits at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony.
Ren Faire – Short for "Renaissance Fair," where people dress and act like they're in the Renaissance time period.
Reply Card or RSVP ("Répondez s'il vous plaît" — French for "please respond") – a card included with the invitations that your guest send back informing you if they're coming or not.
RL – Real Life

S

Save The Date (STD) – A "pre-invite" sent out ASAP to tell guests when the wedding will be.
Sheet Cake – A large flat cake instead of a tiered wedding cake
SIL – Sister in Law
SO – Significant Other
SOL – Shit Out (of) Luck
SS – Same Sex
Stationery Suite – Describes all of the wedding stationery: save-the-dates, invitations, reply, reception cards, etc.
Steampunk – Sci-fi meets Neo-Victorian fashion
Swagging – Fabric that is gathered and draped into soft arcs
Sweetheart Table – A two-person table just for the newlyweds
SWR – Something Wedding Related

T

Table Cakes – A cake that is used as a centerpieces and the dessert
Tablecards – The sign or name on each table so guests can find their place
Taffeta – Crisp fabric often made from synthetic fibers
Tea Light – A small candle in a thin metal cup
TBD – To be determined
TLAs – Three Letter Acronyms
TL;DR – Too Long; Didn't Read
Topiary – Flowers or plants trimmed into geometric shapes.
Toss bouquet/garter – a second version to toss into the crowd so you can keep yours.
Train – the bit at the back of a dress that drags on the floor.
Tulle – A fine netted fabric used for veils, gowns, or tutus

U

Unity Candle – At the beginning of the ceremony, a representative from each family light the two taper candles. Later the couple use those tapers to light the unity candle in the middle together.
Unity Ceremony – Something done by the couple during the ceremony to symbolize their joining together as one
Unity Cocktail – a beverage mixed during the ceremony that couple drinks together
Ushers – People selected to seat guests as they enter the ceremony

V

Venue – The place the wedding/reception will happen

W

Wedding Party – The people helping plan/involved in the wedding, often with specific expectations and/or roles (maid-of-honor, bridesmaids, best man, groomsmen, etc)
Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) – The commercialized, mainstream component of the wedding industry
WOW – World Of Warcraft
WP – Wedding Party
WTF – What the Fuck

Y

Yichud – The period immediately following the wedding ceremony when a Jewish couple spends time alone together.
YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary


Whew! See why we discourage using acronyms and wedding jargon? It's so confusing! That said, did we forget any terms that have been confusing you? Ask in the comments.

  1. Love this. By the way (BTW), B2B could also be "business to business" – as in, a business that sells its products or services directly to other businesses, rather than to consumers (B2C). A florist who sells to anyone who wants to buy some flowers would be a B2C company, but a wholesaler who only sells to florists would typically be considered B2B. I've never seen B2B used as "bride-to-be," so it's interesting to discover some new terms!

    I've also seen the Offbeat Bride Tribe as "OBT," which you haven't explicitly called out. (And you've got Momthulhu twice here.)

  2. In the gaming community these days (especially esports and online play) BM can also mean "Bad Manners" as either a state of being or a verb. Definitely what I thought of first, because acronyms are dumb. ;P

  3. I have to admit I was confused by the acronym DH for the longest time because I thought it was 'damn husband' but when I saw people referring to their 'Damn Daughter' & 'Damn Son' I figured I was wrong & checked with the internet.
    I will say this website has made me look like less of a dork on the internet a number of times.
    http://www.acronymfinder.com/

  4. This is not only super helpful but also quite entertaining. I might have laughed out loud (lol) a few too many times.

  5. Just want to inform American readers, here in England "STD" is a standard term for a sexually transmitted disease, as in "STD Clinic", could cause puzzlement as to why B2B's are quite so excited about their STD's! Great article though!

  6. funny you mentioned "bomboniere"… I've never seen it used anywhere (except in Italy, of course)
    I'll add a fun fact (that I'm probably repeating for the tenth time, bear with me).
    Bomboniere are traditionally (and usually) accompanied by 5 sugared/Jordan almonds, that in Italy are a fine, high quality, absolutely delicious product and not the yucky thing you seem to have across the pond. They are called confetti in Italian, it means sugared.
    They used to be thrown at people for good luck. I find it funny that in English the term remained for the thing you're throwing, even when they decided to throw something less expensive 🙂

  7. Can I also give a shout out to the word Queer? It's been used a few times on here and isn't an especially wedding-y word, but I think is good for a "wedding labels 101" listing.

  8. One I haven't been able to figure out is BAM. Ladies post pictures after their wedding on the forums and label them BAM.

    • Well, I'm not allowed in the forums being a vendor and all (and I SERIOUSLY respect OBB for having that standard), so I can't say for sure… BUT, I do have friends who will do similar things on Facebook or whatever, and it's generally a written sound effect (if that makes sense) expressing happiness or excitement. Like, BAM – there it is, look what I did! (Same idea as "boom" or "booya") Urban Dictionary agrees with me (I checked)… unless you're from Scotland, and then it means Below Average Mentality. lmao!

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