Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle! Let’s Explore Wedding Vocabulary…

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced their engagement! The fifth in line to the British throne became engaged to the American actress earlier this month. The news was revealed to the media last week and has been warmly received by everyone. The union of Harry and Meghan brings Britain and America together – although they remain two nations divided by a common language! Join us for an exploration of wedding vocabulary and words related to engagements as we await the next royal wedding.


Vocabulary related to weddings and engagements

Clarence House announced the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Monday 27th November. The couple plan to marry in May 2018 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. So we can expect the royal wedding in the spring, giving plenty of time to plan a suitable EFL lesson.!

The engagement of Harry and Meghan will bring British and American English head to head within the royal family! The news has also brought wedding and engagement vocabulary to the forefront of many English language lessons.

We have collected together some common words and phrases related to weddings and engagements to help students with this vocabulary and give teachers some ideas.

This is the perfect time to explore British wedding traditions and learn some new words!


Engagement Vocabulary

The couple are engaged

The couple have got engaged,  the couple became engaged, the couple were engaged

They announced their engagement

Prince Harry has proposed to Megan Markle

He proposed to her

She proposed to him

She accepted his proposal

He went down on one knee (traditionally, the person proposing kneels on the ground on one knee, often holding an engagement ring)

He asked for her hand (in marriage) – old fashioned way of saying he ‘proposed’

My fiance / fiancee – the person you are engaged to (the person you have agreed to marry)

My intended – old fashioned way of saying fiance / person you are going to marry

The engagement happened in London.

They got engaged in London.

They were engaged in London.

She tried on the engagement ring.

She wore a diamond engagement ring.


Wedding Vocabulary

Weddings have lots of related words and expressions, in addition to many special traditions. Here is some common vocabulary related to weddings and getting married:

Marriage – the legal union of two people in marriage / a personal relationship

Wedding – the marriage ceremony and celebration

Marriage licence (the licence couples have to obtain before being legally allowed to marry)

To get married

To marry

To walk down the aisle (in a Church wedding, the bride walks down the aisle towards the altar where the groom is waiting to get married)

Wedding dress (special dress worn by the bride for the wedding)

Wedding ring (ring worn by the bride and groom after they are married – usually gold worn on the fourth finger of the left hand in the UK)

Reception  – the party that follows the wedding, traditionally involving a meal, speeches and dancing

First dance – bride and groom’s first dance at the reception, which then traditionally opens up the dance floor to everyone else

Wedding party (the main people at the wedding – bride, groom, bridesmaids, best man)

Wedding cake –a special cake served at a wedding reception

Speech – a talk (traditionally the best man and the father of the bride give a speech at the reception. The father of the bride talks about the bride, while the best man talks about the groom. The speeches are usually humorous. In modern weddings, other people in the wedding party often also give speeches, such as the bride and bridesmaids)

To give a speech

Bride (woman getting married)

Groom (man getting married)

The wedding party in the Francis Ford Coppola film, The Godfather

Maid of honour (female companion/supporter of the bride – the maid of honour is usually an adult)

Bridesmaids (female companions/supporters of the bride – bridesmaids can be children. The bridesmaids usually wear matching dresses, which are different from the bride’s dress)

Page boy (male companion/supporter of the bride – a page boy is a child)

Best man (male companion/supporter of the groom – the best man is usually an adult)

Tuxedo (man’s special suit with long jacket)

Top hat and tails (a traditional outfit worn by a man at a wedding consisting of a tall hat and a tail coat)

Bouquet – collection of flowers held in the hands (traditionally, during the reception the bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder to a group of unmarried women. Superstition dictates that the woman who catches it will be the next to get married!)

Corsage – small bouquet of flowers worn on the clothes or wrist (usually for women)

Buttonhole – flower worn in the buttonhole of a jacket (usually for men)

Newly weds – people who have just got married

‘Just  married’ – the car in which the couple drive away after the wedding often has a ‘just married’ sign in the window or on the car!

Honeymoon – a special holiday taken by people who have just got married


Share your thoughts on weddings and engagements

Are you excited about the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?

Can you think of any more useful wedding vocabulary?

Do you enjoy going to weddings?

What is your favourite part of a traditional wedding day? (Perhaps the cake!)

Do you like long engagements or are they a waste of time?

Is the concept of marriage still relevant today or do your think it old fashioned? Should marriage be replaced with something else?

How do traditional weddings in your home country differ from traditional British weddings?


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