The Ultimate Event Planning Glossary

Consider this your dictionary of event terms.
It’s a quick reference guide to the things that matter most when you’re planning and managing an event.

You can also download the Event Planning Glossary PDF to keep on your hard drive or print out as a handy reference.


The Event Planning Glossary

A la Carte   

French term which means "from the menu." As each item is individually priced in a la Carte, these menus are not usually used for larger conferences and events.

ATA Carnet   

An international customs document, issued by the Chamber of Commerce within Australia, that permits duty-free temporary import/entry of goods into other countries for up to one year. It is essential for all international touring acts, as without it you may be hit with thousands of dollars of import tax for whichever country you are travelling in/through.

AV Contractor   

Supplies technical staff and audiovisual equipment (e.g. projectors, screens, sound systems, video, and staging).

AV Technician   

An audiovisual professional who is responsible on-site for lighting, sound, video, and staging. The AV technician maybe provided by the venue, or you may have to outsource to an AV Contractor.

Accent Light   

Illumination used to make something stand out. It may be done with intensity and/or colour.

Accredited In-House Meetings Manager   

An In-House Events Manager who has been accredited by Meetings and Events Australia (MEA). The accreditation process requires peer review including a competency assessment covering all skills and aspects of the meetings and events industry, an interview and client references. The Accredited member is required to re-apply every three years to prove that skills and knowledge are current and remain at a high standard.

Accredited Meetings Manager   

A person who works within professional conference organising companies or within their own business or consultancy to organise meetings, conferences or events on behalf of a variety of clients. They have undertaken the Meeting and Events Australia (MEA) Meetings Manager Accreditation Program. They must demonstrate competency in all aspects of meetings management and obtained industry endorsement of their commitment and ability to achieve high standards and ethical practice.

Acrylic Deck   

An acrylic top (deck) that is used on the surface of the stage. There are different types of acrylic decks including clear (used to shine light through), white (for a softer, more dimmed appearance), and black (provides a sleek and shiny stage).

After Dinner Entertainment   

Entertainment to engage guests following the conclusion of event formalities.


A list of speakers, presentations and associated timings, given to conference delegates as part of the pre-registration or on-site registration.

Air Walls   

Movable panel system used to partition a large space, such as a ballroom into smaller rooms.


An electronic device used to increase the voltage amplitude of a signal.


Small, bite-size food, usually served whilst seated.

Art Director   

See "Event Decorator"


The overall total number of people at an event.


An individual registered for, or participating in a conference or event. Includes delegates,exhibitors, media, speakers, and guests.

Attrition Rate   

The rate at which an event decreases in size, or the number of attendees do not show up on the day of the event (no-shows), divided by the number of attendees registered for an event (registrants). For example, if 1,000 people register for a conference, but only 700 people attend the conference, the attrition rate for the conference would be 30%.

Audience Demographic    

Age, occupation, income level, and interests of an audience.

Audio Playback   

Replaying an audio or video recording with the purpose of monitoring its quality.


Has both a sound and visual component. Typically in the form of images and recorded speech or music.


Space within a venue where the audience sits. It often has raked seating similar to university lecture theatres.

Auditorium Seating   

Also known as 'Theatre Style Seating', chairs (and tables) are arranged in rows facing a dais or platform.


A style of performance specific to Australia's unique culture.

Award Ceremony   

An event where the performance of individuals and groups in a company or industry are recognised. It is use to honour and motivate key staff.

Back of the House   

Service area of a venue, usually not seen by attendees. It includes areas such as the kitchen, dressing room, backstage and office.


Illumination on a subject from behind, causing a separation of the subject from the background, often creating a fringe of light around the subject


Electronic audio amplification equipment and speakers that are placed behind the band on stage. Equipment may include amplifiers and speaker cabinets for guitars, bass guitars and keyboards or synthesizers.

Backline Rider   

Outlines the equipment necessary for the artist's performance. It normally forms part of the legal contract.

Backline Technician   

Provides technical support for live performances, including road crew tasks or they may specialise in a particular area, such as percussion or strings.

Band Pass Filter   

A device that passes frequencies within a certain range and rejects (attenuates) frequencies outside that range.

Banquet Event Order   

Also called a Function Sheet or Event Order, a detailed document that provides to a venue instructions and a timeline for how the banquet, meeting, or event will be run.

Banquet Manager   

The lead team member overseeing food service at a venue/ event. They are in charge of floor staff and liaison with the kitchen.

Banquet Rounds   

A round table used seating between 8-12 guests depending on its size.


A horizontal pipe on which luminaires, scenery, curtains, and some distribution equipment are hung.

Black Tie   

Formal dress is required for the event. Tuxedos for men and evening dresses for women.


Removal of light from the performing area.

Blanket License   

Authorises the public performance of musical and literary works . These are issued by the Performance Rights Organisations and are supplied to to radio station, venues and other places that host public performances of music.

Booking Form   

A document that records the initial event specifications. It may include the date of the event, cost, room requirements, catering etc. A deposit maybe due when a booking form is submitted.

Break Out Rooms   

Small meeting rooms at a venue made available for breakout sessions that take place as part of a larger conference or event.

Break-out Sessions   

Small group sessions, panels, workshops or presentations, offered concurrently within the event, formed to focus on specific subjects.


A detailed estimate of all the costs required to complete project tasks.

Bump In   

Also referred to as 'load in' time, it is a specified period of time for loading in equipment at the venue.

Bump Out   

Also referred to as 'load out' time, it is a specified period of time for loading out equipment at the venue.

Business Speaker   

A business speaker may specialise in business growth, leadership, marketing, management, strategy, sales or a variety of other business disciplines. A business speaker may be a CEO or Chairman or may be a small business speaker with a fascinating business success story.

Cabaret Style Seating   

Where guests are seated around a table leaving a gap in the seating closest to the stage. This ensures that no guests have their backs to the stage.


Provides power to electronic equipment eg speakers, lights etc.

Call Times   

The time a speaker/performer is required to be at the theatre or rehearsal room, ready to start work.

Camera Riser   

A steel stage that is built to support a video camera raising/ lowering.