Do you Speak "Event"?: A Glossary of Common Industry Terms

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Unless you work in events, planning your wedding is likely your first introduction to the events industry and all the wacky words that come along with it.  If the terms Gobos, amuse-bouch, and B.E.O have you scratching your head, don't worry you are not alone!  Every industry seems to come with it's own language and the wedding/events industry is no exception.  I am often asked by clients to clarify some of the terms and phrases that come up while they are planning their day.  Below is a little "Cheat Sheet" of event terms that I have put together that may be useful to know while you plan your day! 

Amuse-bouche – Is a small one-bite appetizer; directly translated means “Mouth amuser”

B.E.O – Banquet Events Order – This is a document used by most venues that outlines the schedule and elements of your wedding.  It is given to all staff members who will be working on your wedding.

Bomboniere – another word for party favour- a small gift given to guests to thank them for attending.

Charger – A large plate that is placed at each table setting for decorative purposes.  Charger plates are not used to hold food, and are usually used as a base for service plates throughout the evening.  Chargers are always removed before serving dessert.

Escort Cards– Cards that are placed in the reception area and are used to tell guests which table they will be sitting at. 

Flow – This is the path that your guest will use to go from one area/element of your event to the next.  This smooth transition between elements is the “flow” of your wedding.

High top (also called ‘Highboy’)– Is a tall bar height cocktail table.

Initial meeting – Most Wedding Vendors (planners included) offer a FREE Initial Meeting – This meeting is a chance for you to meet with a potential vendor to get to know them, the services that the offers and decide how you can work together.   

Up lighting – lighting that is placed on the floor shining up, used to highlight structures- often used behind a head table backdrop and for interesting architectural elements around the perimeter of the room

            Pin spot – a focused beam of light to highlight a specific object – often used for centerpieces and Wedding Cakes.

Gobos – Metal stencils that are placed over lights to create a pattern or picture – used often in weddings for lit monograms and symbols on dance floors.

Officiant – The individual who will be leading your wedding ceremony and makes your marriage legally binding.

PAL Insurance –PAL (Party Alcohol Liability) Insurance protects you from lawsuits when hosting any function where alcohol will be served – See:  for more information.

Pipe & Drape – Metal pipes that fit together to form a stand for removable drapes.  Pipe and Drape is commonly used at events for temporary room dividers, decoration or to hide unsightly areas.

Place cards  - Cards that are placed on the guest tables and are used to tell guests which specific seat they will be sitting in.

Room flip – A term used to describe the transformation of a room from one part of an event to the next – a room flip is commonly used to change your hall/space from ceremony to reception.

SOCAN fee – SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) fee is collected by your venue and allows you to have music played and/or performed at your event.  Fees are collected and distributed to pay royalties.

Vendors – These are all of the people/services that you hire and work with to create your wedding including your planner, florist, photographer, caterer, decorator etc

Do you have an event industry term you think should be added to the list?  Please leave it in the comments below.  Need clarification on a term?  Ask below and I will leave a response! 

Thanks for reading!