The Banquet Event Order, often referred to as the BEO, is a document that outlines all the details of a wedding or event at a venue or hotel. The hotel or venue uses the BEO as their set of directions for the event. As an event planner, you want to be familiar with BEO’s so you can ensure all the timing, logistics, and details provided by the venue are correct.
The BEO communicates all details and logistics for each event such as:
- Event details such as the event name, date, setup times, event start time, event end time, expected guest count, and specific room location(s).
- Detailed order and timing of events for the day. For weddings, the BEO will typically include event timelines for everything such as guest arrival, ceremony start time, cocktail hour start/end times, when the toasts are, time of dinner service, and time of the cake cutting.
- Menu selections for food and beverage including types of appetizers served, whether champagne will be passed when guests arrive, quantity of each entrée selection, vegetarian meals needed, special dietary needs of guests, water service details, number and type of vendor meals, number and type of children’s meals, types of alcohol and beer to be served at the bar (including specific brands), and type of coffee service to be provided. The BEO will also include how the buffet or food stations are to be set up and positioned in the room.
- Audio-visual (AV) details provided by the venue. The AV details will include details such as the quantity and types of lighting, number and size of screens, types of microphones needed, internet access requirements, and special power requirements.
- Room setup details such as number of tables, number of seats per table, location of the entertainment, stage size/height/location, location of green room(s), a diagram of the room layout, linen colors and styles to be used, centerpiece details, types of chairs to be used, notes about rental items related to the room setup.
- Vendor contact information for outside suppliers such as the event planner, florist, linen provider, band, caterer, and rental company. The details needed for each supplier are included such as their arrival or delivery time and special setup requirements or accommodations that the hotel or venue needs to provide. With regards to the event vendors, the BEO includes details such as when the rental company will pick up rental items after the event and when the floral or décor company will arrive to tear down and remove floral and décor items. As the event planner, be sure that all of your contact information is included in the BEO.
- Staffing requirements such as the number of wait staff and bartenders at the event, security staff, parking attendants, coat check attendant, ticket sellers, etc.
- Parking and transportation logistics such as details about valet parking, guest self-parking, and arrival times of guest shuttles.
- Costs associated with every service provided by the hotel/venue in the BEO including taxes and added fees along with payment due dates. The terms and conditions will outline details related to a cancellation of the event along with payment due dates and other legalities. You can review the costs from the BEO with the client’s wedding budget to ensure it is in line with the client expectations.
The hotel and venue staff live by the BEO on the day of an event. Every hotel and venue use some form of a BEO for their events. The BEO will typically be used by the kitchen, banquet captains, catering manager, staffing manager, front desk, parking department, audio-visual department, beverage manager, accounting, and the convention services department.
The banquet event order is prepared by the catering manager at a hotel or event coordinator at a catering facility. The BEO form will evolve and change throughout the event planning process. Information included on the form needs to be as accurate as possible to ensure the correct timing, layout, cost, details, and menu for the event day.
As a professional event planner, our job is to work with the catering manager or catering event coordinator to share event details, coordinate timing, ensure logistics are correct, and review the BEO for accuracy. The client will usually be required to sign the final BEO before the event. You will likely review all the details of the BEO throughout the planning process and with your clients and the venue manager at the final walk-through meeting before an event.
There are a variety of styles and templates that hotels and catering facilities use for their banquet event order. The BEO is usually broken up into blocks of information such as food and beverage, audio-visual, room setup, timing, and outside vendor information. BEO’s will also list terms and conditions and have signature blocks for the client to sign.
If you are planning a weekend of events for a wedding, there may be different BEO’s for each event such as the welcome reception, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids brunch, wedding, and the post-wedding brunch.
Once your client signs the BEO, it is a binding contract. It is absolutely critical that you, as the planner, and your clients meticulously review the final BEO. Do not assume that something will happen if it is not in the BEO, even if you talked about it numerous times with the venue or catering manager. Make sure every possible question is asked, answered, and documented in the BEO.
Here are a few BEO samples to give you an idea of what they look like:
To learn more about wedding and event planning, check out our professional guides: