The call for entry is long over, entries have been judged, and winners have been announced. So, what remains? Your awards ceremony!
Your awards ceremony is one of the most important (and exciting) parts of your entire awards program. This is especially true for all of winners and others who have worked particularly hard to gain recognition and the prestigious award that your organization has to offer.
Of course, this means that your awards program needs to be both fun and memorable. But, where to begin? Below, we’ll detail 6 ideas, tips, and themes we’ve found to help inspire your own event that will be remembered for years to come.
1. Choose a Theme Related to Your Program
A generic awards ceremony will be easily forgotten. That’s why creating a theme specific to your program is not only important, but vital.
There are countless theme ideas to choose from to make your gala exciting, including masquerades, Vegas, under the sea, black tie formal, or even medieval. And if one of these basic themes can be applied to your program, you can build on it and put your own unique spin on things to make it special.
If not, think strategically about your organization’s industry and what theme or focus seems like a good fit. Then, by integrating marketing you’ve used throughout your awards program, you can count on putting together a ceremony that won’t soon be forgotten.
2. Make Your Invitations Matter
You already know that every detail matters, and invitations are no exception. In fact, your invitations are incredibly important because they’re the first impression judges, winners, and other guests will have of the event to come and will set the tone.
Your invitations should reflect your organization and remain consistent with the marketing you’ve used throughout your awards program. This means that the colors, styles, and messaging should match both to add to the trustworthiness and authoritative nature of your organization. And in addition they should spark interest and excitement, so that those attending will be eagerly awaiting the ceremony.
These invitations are from the Hilton Worldwide VIP London Olympics, demonstrating just one idea of how much detail you can add to your invitation to enhance your event and get guests excited for what’s to come!
3. Your Organization’s Name in Lights
There are going to be lots of photos taken at any awards ceremony and how you represent your organization’s and its program’s name matters. Photos can raise awareness of your program for next year or draw attention to your organization as they’re shared via social media and on other platforms.
One way to represent your organization is with creative lighting throughout your event space. Take the following runway as just a small sample of how you can use lighting to your advantage.
This example comes from Preston Bailby Celebrations and Levy Lighting, demonstrating that while general lighting can add drama and excitement to your event, lighting your name can be a great way to draw attention to your brand as well.
4. Maximize Seating Space With Long Tables
Circular tables are a common choice for any awards ceremony. And while they’re conducive to small conversations amongst judges, winners, and other guests, they take up space that could be used to seat more guests.
So if you’re expecting a large turnout, instead of opting for circular tables, choose long tables that allow you to seat more guests and free up space for photos or other components you want to integrate in your event.
5. Make a Splash With Non-Traditional Centerpieces
Floral centerpieces are a common choice for any ceremony. However, this makes them more of a generic option rather than something that will get people talking (or perhaps even interacting).
Take these centerpieces from the Whitney Museum of American Art Gala as an example.
Featuring silver paint cans complete with Sharpie markers and other drawing materials, guests were encouraged to draw on the linen tablecloths. Not only does this make the centerpieces relevant to the event, but it gives guests something creative to do amongst themselves throughout the ceremony.
By doing something similar for your event, you can make your ceremony not only interesting, but highly entertaining as well!
6. Building an Event Budget That Works
Just because your program is over, your budgeting isn’t. In fact, your awards ceremony is going to be one expense where sticking to your budget is even more important.
The best way to budget your awards ceremony is to allot for a potential overage of 5 to 15%, ask vendors for specific quotes instead of ballpark estimates, keep your budget up-to-date by entering it in your tracking software, and exploring potential options before actually agreeing to go over your budget.
Of course, an awards ceremony is much more than just a theme, centerpiece, or budget. But when it comes down to it, creating a memorable, fun event means paying attention to each small detail and each will add up in a big way.
Are you looking for additional inspiration, tips, or budgeting assistance for your upcoming awards program ceremony? If so, follow our board on Pinterest for the information you need!