Our last blog on Venue Coordinators vs. Wedding Planners has prompted us to write a short post on BEOs. I am a believer that if you are about to spend the most money you will ever spend on a one day party, you better be very informed about everything, and one thing that MANY brides and grooms overlook is the BEO at their reception venue. So here is a quick guide to what it is and what you should know.
A BEO is a paper that contains all the logistics for your reception including food and beverage (F&B), audio/visual, rentals, room setup, and staffing requirements. It also includes the date, times, and fees for the event. BEOs are usually drafted by the hotel event coordinator and given to the banquet manager. Now this banquet manager has probably never met you. His or her only guide while setting up on your event day is this piece of paper!
Now here comes wisdom from our experiences. At least once a month, we have arrived at a venue and have had to change what the banquet manager has setup because the BEO was wrong! Thankfully, we as planners are fully aware of what you want and are expecting, but clients without a planner might find that their tablecloth colors are wrong, the seating layout is wrong, or even the event times are wrong! Hopefully a venue coordinator will catch it. But, if they arrive after the initial setup, sacrifices will have to be made.
So our advice…ask your venue coordinator to show/email you the BEO one week prior to your event. Have him or her walk you through it (it’s usually filled with industry jargon you might not understand) and make sure that this “blueprint” to your reception matches what you have been planning.