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Award Ceremony Ideas

An Elegant Evening of Awards

Winning business trophy

Many of us dream of attending an award ceremony. We dream of the dramatic few moments before the category we’re nominated for (because of course we’re nominated; what kind of dream would it be if we were just there) is presented. We imagine the suspense. We’ve planned the face we’ll make if we lose. But, of course, we don’t lose. Our name is called and, oh!, how exciting! How surprising! Did we hear that right? Yes? We won! We take our slow stroll up to the stage, the sound of applause booming through our ears, and make our humble acceptance speech.

Okay, maybe we’ve thought about it more than most people. Sorry. We’re just really into award ceremonies.

The upshot of our obsession, though, is that we know how to plan a perfect Award Ceremony. We’ve thought long and hard. And here are our helpful hints…



There’s only one way to do an award ceremony: elegant and tasteful. And there’s no better way to establish this style than by sending out lovely invitations to all the invitees. Spend some time with this. An invitation is the your ceremony’s first impression, so think of it as a blueprint for the tone of the evening. Make this look as beautiful and elegant as you’d like your event to be. Research the style of famous award ceremonies: Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys, etc. and find a style that works for your event.



What better excuse to dress to the nines and bring out your most dashing outfit? Awards are supposed to celebrate achievements, so establishing a “black-tie” dress code is appropriate, and is likely one of the very few occasions you’ll get to be super dressed up without saying “I do” to anyone. If you’re going all out, this is a great excuse to hire a Makeup Artist or Hair Stylist to put the final touches on your glamorous look!



Nothing says award ceremony like the paparazzi. Let the local press know that the event is happening, or for more intimate events, hire some Photographers to stand outside and flash photos at your guests. Paparazzi are the bane of celebrities’ lives, but to a regular person, for one night, it’ll make the experience memorable. Plus, the professional photos make great party favors for your guests.



We don’t even have to say it, do we? Well, we will anyway: a red carpet is absolutely essential to any award ceremony. It’s a bit cliche, we know, but in all of our dreams (and probably yours, too), there’s a red carpet, so get one.

For the inside, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. White linens covering every table with elegant centerpieces of candles and fresh flowers. Most importantly, though, try and match the decor with both the award-giving organization and the theme of the night. Hire a Party Decorator if necessary. Or look to a Party Rentals company to find the perfect accoutrement to suit your needs.



If you’re serving food, like everything else, it has to be simple and elegant. Don’t get too extravagant here. Simplicity is key, and creative, delicious hors d’oeuvres are sure to be a hit. Hire a Caterer, discuss your night’s theme, and figure out the perfect dishes to serve your nervous nominees.


Gift Bags

Have you ever seen what’s in a typical gift bag at the big award shows? If you haven’t, take a moment to look it up. It’s crazy. Now, we’re not suggesting that you fill up your gift bags with expensive items (like a $1,500 getaway package to Switzerland; thanks, Oscars). But you can treat all your nominees (or, if you don’t have nominees, all your attendees) to some goodies. These can range from customized party favors to something as simple as a note thanking you for coming. It’s an opportunity for you to have direct contact with supporters of your company. Don’t miss it!



The right host is just as important as the red carpet. A host can make or break the success of your ceremony, so take time to find the right person. Check out various Comedians and Emcees to find an appropriate performer. Discuss all the information about your awards with the host well in advance, so they can write material specific to your ceremony and theme.



Less obvious as a host but just as vital, a house band will grant your event all the needed elegant ambiance. Consider a Jazz Band or a String Quartet for this role. You’ll want something pleasant and lovely, but also unobtrusive. The band is not meant to be the center of the night, but they will definitely enhance the evening.


Now, we realize that you’re not competing, but if you follow the tips above, your event will become the party of the year! Even if a nominee doesn’t win, they’ll leave thinking, “And the award for best party goes to…”

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Of course everybody loves to get acknowledged for their hard work, but a corporate awards ceremony goes far beyond just giving out awards. It is more about showing every employee how much you appreciate them by giving them a night to let loose with one another and have some fun. No paperwork's on the agenda this evening!
And the Award Goes To...

There are various reasons to hold award ceremonies. You could be a local business journal acknowledging your area’s outstanding companies, a business awarding the employees who went above and beyond that year, or even an entertainment association recognizing those who were successful in music, movies, or TV for the year. Whatever the reason, planning and organizing an awards ceremony takes a lot of time and energy. Be sure to start early in the planning process and use these helpful tips from GigSalad.

Where Oh Where Could the Awards Show Be

First and foremost, you must choose a date for the event. This is essential because you need to make sure the venue is available, and you’ll need it before you book any type of entertainment or service. The next step is to find an appropriate venue. If you plan to have a dinner before the ceremony, a convention center or other banquet center would be appropriate. If you are going for a more large scale event, you could rent out a small or large theatre depending on attendance. As with any event, you will need to have an estimate of the number of guests.

Next up, you will want to secure some entertainment for your awards show. Any awards show will need someone to emcee. Some options for an emcee include a comedian, celebrity impersonator, magician, or motivational speaker. Before the ceremony begins, in between awards, and at the end, you will need some other forms of entertainment. Consider hiring a cover band, dance troupe, jazz band, or pianist. You could also hire a DJ to entertain during down time. If your emcee is a performer like a comedian or magician, they can entertain as well so you wouldn’t have to hire additional entertainers.

The Decor Award Goes To

After you’ve booked the venue and entertainers, you must decide how to decorate for the ceremony. If you are having dinner before the awards, you will need centerpieces for the tables. Hire an event florist to create some stunning pieces for your tables or for the stage itself. If you are not having the event in a theatre, you may need to rent some table linens and chair covers. Most banquet and convention centers offer basic linens and covers; however, if you want something more specific or fancy, there are rental companies who can assist.

Some other detail oriented aspects you will need to consider are the awards and winner envelopes. Decide whether you want a standing award or some type of plaque made for your award winners. When it comes to the envelopes, many invitations printers will be able to create aesthetically pleasing designs for the envelope and insert.

I’d Like to Thank...

Other services you will need for your event include bartenders and waitstaff. Before and after the ceremony, you will more than likely have drinks and hors d’oeuvres even if you don’t have a full meal, in which case you will need people to make and serve the food and drinks to your guests. If you do choose to go the dinner- before-the-ceremony route, be sure to hire a caterer to take care of the meal preparation.

Also, be sure to have a photographer and/or a videographer to capture the presentation and award winners. Also, to prevent any technical issues, be sure to have a sound check with the event staff before the ceremony begins to avoid any embarrassing situations. If the venue doesn’t have in house A/ V staff, you can find a sound technician on GigSalad.

An awards ceremony is a fantastic way to honor employees or acknowledge those in a particular field. However, it takes a lot of coordination to set up this type of event. Don’t hesitate hiring an event planner to do the work for you. You work hand in hand with the planner to see that the event is created the way you want. Let the planner know that they can go to GigSalad for any type of event or service they need for the ceremony.