Every industry has its own language and wedding and event planning is no exception.

Here are a few terms you should know (or brush up on) so you know what you’re talking about when planning an event!

Event Planning Lingo

DMC (Destination Management Company): a term used to describe a professional services company that specializes in local knowledge (i.e. hotels, restaurants, bars, local specialty shops, etc). They can be travel agent, event planner/manager, tour operator, and conference bureau all-in-one.

Contractsget your event contract here!

Attrition Clause: The fees that must be paid to a hotel should the room block commitment not be met.

Drayage: The costs a venue charges for receiving and moving your shipments.

Force Majeure: Circumstances beyond control that prevent the fulfillment of the terms of the contract. This typically includes natural disasters, war, and outbreaks of disease.

RFP: Request For Proposal. A formal request to a vendor to provide a bid for services for your event.

Rider: An addendum to the contract which details additional requirements. These are often used when contracting entertainment services or speakers and can include the brand of beverages required in their suite or the colour of the napkins required to be on the tables.

A/V Services

Lavaliere: A small microphone that can be clipped onto a presenter’s shirt or lapel, allowing for freedom of movement on the stage or around the room. You may also hear it referred to as a lav.

Load In / Load Out: These terms refer to the amount of time required by your provider to unload their equipment. It can also refer to the time and date a venue will allow the unloading. Load In / Load Out times should always be considered when contracting a venue.

Podcast: Recording a presentation in a format that will enable attendees, or those who could not attend, to listen to sessions at a later date using their computer, MP3 player or mobile device.

Riser: A platform used to create a stage. Risers come in various dimensions and can often be joined together to create a larger stage.

Roving Microphone: A wireless microphone that can be passed around an audience, enabling attendees to ask questions of the presenter, creating an opportunity for audience participation.

Simultaneous Translation: A service that allows attendees to listen to a live presentation in their native language using a headset. For example, if the presentation is in English, a translator sits in a booth and repeats the presentation in French, broadcasting it to the headsets of the French-speaking attendees.

Webcast: The live streaming of a presentation over the internet to viewers who could not attend the event in person.

Food and Beverage

Action Station: A table or area where guests can interact with the Chef and watch their meal being prepared.

BEO: Banquet Event Order. These documents detail everything from the set-up of the room, to the menu and wine selections, to any special dietary requirements of your attendees.

Corkage: A charge per bottle for the opening and service of wine brought into the event by a sponsor or your client (with advance arrangements and permissions).

Gluten Free: Often requested by guests with Celiac Disease, a gluten free meal contains no wheat products or products derived from any foods containing gluten.

Kosher: A meal that conforms to the dietary guidelines of Jewish law. A Kosher meal not only requires the proper foods to be served, but also dictates the manner in which the food is prepared, including the use of proper cooking utensils.

Vegetarian: Most of us know that a vegetarian does not eat meat, however this tends to be a rather broad term. Some vegetarians do eat fish, eggs or dairy. Regardless, it is important to ensure that their meal be more than just a plate of salad or steamed vegetables.

Vegan: A diet which excludes any foods derived from animals or animal products including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.

Insider Tip: At events where attendees will be served many meals, such as a multi-day conference, it is good practice to contact those with special dietary requirements and have a conversation regarding their specific needs. Not only will this make the guest feel cared for and catered to, it will also avoid potential issues at mealtimes.

If a term or acronym is not familiar to you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It’s better to know up front what you are getting into than to find out the service does not fit the needs of your event.

Use this post as a reference by printing it and keeping it in your office.

If you have other terms to share, please use the comment box below.


  1. Jorge at10:48 am

    I can add one, CMP, which stands for certified meetings planner. The company I work for is a CMP in Dominican Republic.


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