Wedding Terminology


The Language of Love – Wedding Terminology Explained!

For the majority of our couples this is the first time you will have given any thought to what goes into planning a wedding. It is one of the most enjoyable and exciting periods of your life and it will become almost an obsession over the forthcoming months.

It may also be the first time you’ve heard some of the weird and wonderful phrases used by wedding planners and suppliers. In an attempt to provide some clarity around what some of these phrases actually mean, here’s our light-hearted look at the language of love.


Think ‘English tea party’ or ‘country fete’, bunting is typically colourful triangular pieces of fabric sewn into lengths of ribbon which are then draped around the wedding venue. There are various places on the exterior of The Ashes where bunting can be draped and it is often used to great effect on both the East and West Barn balconies. (You can download the Bunting PDF showing where it can be hung at The Ashes, from your personal section of our website.)


Canapés are the Kylie Minogue of catering; small but perfectly formed. These bite size morsels can be sweet or savoury and are served during the drinks reception. Personal favourites include King Prawn with Fish Mousseline presented in a crisp Filo Basket and Miniature Scones with Raspberry Jam and Clotted Cream, always a winner with a chilled glass of champagne.

Civil Ceremony

A civil wedding is where the marriage ceremony is conducted by a local council official called a registrar at one of the UK’s licensed civil wedding venues, rather than by a vicar or priest in a church. Both The West Barn and The Coach House at The Ashes are approved civil wedding locations, approved for both civil weddings and civil partnerships. For more information visit ‘What is a Civil Wedding?

Civil Partnership

A civil partnership for a same sex couple is where the marriage ceremony is conducted by a local council official called a registrar at one of the UK’s approved civil ceremony venues, rather than by a vicar or priest in a church. Both The West Barn and The Coach House at The Ashes are approved civil wedding locations, licensed for both civil weddings and civil partnerships. For more information visit ‘What is a Civil Wedding?


Traditionally thrown over the Bride and Groom shortly after the ceremony, you are welcome to throw biodegradable confetti at The Ashes in The South Courtyard. Often made of real petals which have been freeze dried it makes a really lovely photograph.

Corkage (also called a Service Charge)

There are many other wedding venues which allow you to provide your own drinks but then apply a corkage fee. This is a charge applied to every bottle opened by their catering staff on your wedding day and can cost you a substantial amount! At The Ashes you are welcome to supply your own drinks for both the Drinks Reception and your Wedding Breakfast and in line with our ‘no hidden extras’ policy there is no corkage or service charge applied.

Drinks Reception

The Drinks Reception takes place straight after the ceremony and typically lasts around an hour and a half. Guests mingle and enjoy a drink in the beautiful surroundings while photographs are taken. Champagne is the classic choice for this period, served alongside bottled beers perhaps. Should you opt for another English classic, a glass of Pimms, our catering staff will prepare the chopped fruit and mint to ensure the perfect, long, summer drink. Equally they can warm through a heady jug of mulled wine or Winter Pimms for those frosted winter weddings.

Evening Buffet

It is customary to provide a modest evening buffet for your wedding guests at around 8.30pm, especially where you have a number of additional guests joining you for the evening celebrations. You may think that after generously providing a three course Wedding Breakfast your daytime guests won’t require any food in the evening but you should never underestimate the potent aroma of a bacon buttie especially when combined with the munchies that so often accompany an alcoholic beverage (or two!)

Exclusive Use

Basically The Ashes is yours for the day. From 11am on your wedding day right through to 12.30am, you and your guests have exclusive use of the whole venue. We don’t do any viewings and because we don’t have any facilities which are open to the general public, such as a restaurant, we can guarantee that the only people wandering around The Grounds are those you’ve invited! It means that you can totally relax and enjoy being the centre of attention all day. Of course, your Events Manager is on site all day and together with the Catering Manager and serving staff they work hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You may also catch a fleeting glimpse of Ben & Sarah with their girls as The Ashes country house is their family home.

Favours (also called Bomboniere)

As if it wasn’t enough that you’re providing drinks and a fabulous meal for all your guests, many couples embrace the time-honoured custom of giving each guest a gift or favour! An old and elegant tradition; across Europe, five almonds are intricately wrapped in fabric and given to the guests to represent the happy couple’s hope for fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness in their marriage.

The Ashes Event Manager will put out your chosen favours at each place setting and these days you can get creative, we do still see the traditional almonds but we’ve also placed everything from jars of homemade chutney to personalised ‘Sweet Hearts’ and even lottery tickets!

Master of Ceremonies (also known as a Toastmaster)

The Master of Ceremonies is called upon to announce the Bride and Groom into The East Barn once all your guests are seated for the Wedding Breakfast. For the Bride and Groom, entering this barn to the uproarious applause of your friends and family is one of the highlights of the day; made all the more so if someone you love has made the announcement with aplomb. You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional, just ask one of your more confident (read cheeky) friends or loved ones, who also won’t mind introducing your speakers at the appropriate time too. Although initially apprehensive they’re often unwilling to relinquish the microphone once they’ve got a taste for it!

Receiving Line (also known as the ‘Line Up’)

Not to be confused with the identity parade in ‘The Usual Suspects’ the traditional receiving line sees both sets of parents and the Bride and Groom stand abreast in a line outside The East Barn, to formally welcome each guest before they are seated for the Wedding Breakfast. This is a really good way of making sure that you have spoken to every single one of your wedding guests but you shouldn’t underestimate how long it can take to pass pleasantries with around 100 people.


In our experience the Registrar is a jovial, articulate and very pleasant, local council official charged with conducting your marriage ceremony in accordance with the law. Please visit ‘What is a Civil Ceremony?’ for more information.

Table Plan

In its simplest form, this is your plan of who is sitting by who and on what table for the Wedding Breakfast. Invariably you’ll end up doing three versions of it; a beautiful printed plan to pin in the frame in the anteroom of The East Barn which all your guests refer to as they enter for the Wedding Breakfast; a sketch for each table showing who sits by who which the Events Manager refers to when laying out your place name cards; and finally a detailed version for the catering staff showing the location of those guests with dietary requirements.

Top Table

Whether you choose a traditional straight top table or a more informal round one, the Top Table is where the Bride and Groom sit for the Wedding Breakfast. More often than not they are joined by their parents, best man and chief bridesmaid although it is also delightful on the odd occasion when the Bride and Groom choose to sit by themselves on our sweethearts table for two.

Ushers (also called Groomsmen)

Not to be outdone by the Bride and her Bridesmaids, the Groom can have any number of Ushers to help steady his nerves in the morning and assist with welcoming the guests as they arrive at the venue and directing them to their seats. Armed with Ashes umbrellas they are invaluable on an inclement day when ladies’ hats must be protected from the rain on the short hop from their vehicle to The East Barn and it can never be a bad thing to have a few smartly dressed young men about the place.

Wedding Breakfast

Perhaps one of the most confusing phrases used, the Wedding Breakfast is a three course celebratory meal enjoyed by the Bride and Groom and all their daytime guests which is normally served somewhere between 2pm and 5pm depending on the time of the wedding ceremony. Your Wedding Breakfast is very special, it is a meal shared with all those you love on a landmark day in your life. At The Ashes, we encourage you to choose a menu which reflects your individual personalities as well as your budget. Together with our catering partners; we’re on hand to offer a variety of suggestions and mouth-watering ideas.

Wedding Reception

This is a widely used term which most commonly refers to the ‘party’ element of the wedding day which kicks off at around 8pm when the DJ or band invites the Bride and Groom onto the dance floor for their first dance. You may choose to invite additional evening guests to the wedding reception who were not present at the ceremony or for the Wedding Breakfast. Your evening guests can purchase drinks at The Ashes Bar and enjoy the evening entertainment and buffet.

We hope that you have found this informative (and slightly amusing), there are no silly questions when it comes to your wedding so if you’re still left wondering about something please just drop us an email or pick up the phone, we’re here to help.

Incidentally, if you’d like more information about the role of the Events Managers and how we can help with everything from recommending great suppliers to arranging your bridal gown’s train on the day, click here.

Kind Regards from The Ashes Events Managers


  • Stott
    What is No Corkage?
  • Wedding Terminology Explained
  • What is a Civil Ceremony?
  • Can I have a Church Wedding?
  • FAQ's When Considering The Ashes
  • The Dream Team
  • Meet The Team
  • Your Event Managers



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