Wedding Planner Glossary


Acts of God clause:A legal term within a contract which exempts a wedding planner or vendor from fulfilling their duties to your wedding, in the unlikely event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, locust infestation (yes, seriously) or tsunami.

Bridal consultant: This is a confusing term as many wedding planners go by the title of ‘bridal consultant’. Therefore, a bridal consultant can be a person who helps to plan a wedding OR it can be a person who advises couples on how to plan their own weddings.

Budget: The amount of money that a couple is willing to spend on their entire wedding including the ceremony, reception, pre-wedding parties and honeymoon. Oftentimes, the bride and groom’s parents contribute towards the overall budget. A wedding planner can help a couple to create a realistic budget and stick to it.

Cancellation policy: Should you decide to cancel your bookings with a vendor or to change the date, time, venue, or any other details, the vendor may or may not return your deposit to you. Cancellation policy details will be listed in the contract. Some vendors return a percentage of the deposit whilst others may not return it after a certain date, whilst others still may not return it at all. A wedding planner can help to clarify your vendors’ cancellation policies.

Contract: A legally binding written agreement between a vendor and a couple or a vendor and a couple’s wedding planner. A contract is also drawn up between the couple and their wedding planner. It is extremely important to insist upon a contract with all vendors and to read the fine print before signing anything.

Deposit: Also known as a down payment. A partial payment – usually between 20% and 50% – paid to vendors to secure a booking of their services on your wedding day. The final payment or payment plan should be outlined in the contract between yourself and the vendor.

Engagement party: A party which is held up to three months after the proposal, to celebrate the couple’s upcoming nuptials. An engagement party can be a full-blown soiree or may be a simple gathering of friends and family. Wedding planners are often asked to assist couples in arranging their engagement party as well as their wedding.

Force majeure: Also known as an ‘act of God’ – see above listed term. Force majeure is a French term and is translated to ‘superior force’. A contract may contain an ‘act of God’ clause or a ‘force majeure’ clause. Either way, it removes the responsibility from vendors to fulfil their services to you in the case of a natural disaster.

Full service planner: A wedding planner who is hired to arrange the wedding from the very beginning of the planning stages and will assist the couple right up to the end of the reception. The planner may even make the couple’s honeymoon arrangements for them.

Kickback: Wedding planners often receive kickbacks from the vendors they recommend to you. This means that they receive a percentage of the payment because they did the marketing on behalf of the vendor. Be wary of planners who only recommend vendors from whom they receive kickbacks. It’s important to do your research and make sure that your planner’s recommendations really are the best deals.

Off-premise: A hired vendor who does not come as part of the venue package. For example, an off-premise caterer does not work for the reception venue but prepares the food in their own kitchen facilities and then transports it to the venue.

On-premise: Vendors which come as part of the venue package such as caterers or sound technicians. These services may be purchased at an extra fee which could end up being more affordable than hiring off-premise services.

On-the-day planner: A wedding planner who doesn’t assist the couple throughout the entire planning process but rather acts as a facilitator during the ceremony and reception. They attend the run-through, the night before the wedding, to iron out any wrinkles in the service program and then make sure that the wedding day runs smoothly, by keeping in close contact with all of the hired vendors and bridal party members.

Plus plus: Caterers often charge an amount plus plus per person (e.g. $70.00++). The first plus refers to tax and the second plus refers to tips (nice little hint there, eh?).

Rehearsal dinner: A dinner which is held right after the run-through so that the bride, groom, their families and other attendants can savour this exciting time in the couple’s lives. The rehearsal dinner can be formal or casual and is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents. However, nowadays, the bride and groom or other attendants may pay for this pre-wedding dinner.

Run-through: A practice run of the ceremony, usually conducted the night before the wedding, with all of the bridal party members and important attendants. A run-through doesn’t necessarily have to be conducted at the ceremony venue but the attendants should be clear on their cues in the processional, when to be seated, where to stand and the order of the recessional.

Vendor: A professional who offers their services – such as photography, catering, car hire or floristry – for a wedding. Wedding planners can recommend reputable vendors to suit the unique needs of their client’s wedding.

Wedding Planner: Also known as a wedding co-ordinator. A wedding planner is a person who is hired to help a couple arrange their wedding. They play a major role in budgeting and hiring vendors as well as facilitating the wedding ceremony and reception. They may also be responsible for assisting with decorations, pre-wedding parties and/or honeymoon arrangements.

Wedding stylist: Not to be confused with a wedding planner, although they often are as wedding planners sometimes offer styling services and wedding stylists sometimes offer planning services. A wedding stylist is a person who is hired to help the couple with the aesthetic side of their wedding. They will assist with colour schemes, the theme, decorations, and the overall look. Brides, if you’re having trouble convincing your future husband to allow you to hire a wedding planner AND a wedding stylist, explain it to him this way: a wedding planner is like a building contractor whilst a wedding stylist is like an interior designer. Although some contractors can do interior design and vice versa, you would feel much more comfortable hiring two individuals to do the jobs separately.