How to Host an Awards Ceremony

Whether virtual or physical, awards ceremonies are a fun and exciting way to celebrate your business’s achievements!

No matter the industry you work in, whether that be fashion, business or technology, exceptional performance deserves praise. Yet hosting an awards ceremony isn’t as straightforward as handing out recognition awards on a stage! An awards ceremony is an event that requires coordination, a budget and careful planning. Without some experience, it can be hard to know where to begin.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate your employees’ achievements and show some appreciation for their hard work, you’re in the right place! Here is a handy guide detailing how to host an awards ceremony, right from the very beginning.

Determine Your Why

Why are you hosting an awards ceremony? Answering this question will be key to how you organise the event. If you’re hosting your ceremony to encourage employees and thank them for their hard work, your event is internal. If you’re inviting other organisations and companies to your awards ceremony and they have the potential to win your awards, then your event is external!

Internal events can be less formal and are less likely to be documented or televised by the media. However, an external event is a perfect opportunity to score some publicity within your industry, so a formal theme may best suit the occasion. If the press plan to take public photographs of your event, you want to present your company in the best light possible!

Consider Your Theme

Now that you’ve identified why you’re hosting your awards ceremony, you can determine a suitable theme. Fun and playful themes suit internal events since everybody knows one another, and all nominees already have a relationship! Correlate your theme with your business message, and don’t be afraid to get creative with it. Do you work with cruise ships? An ocean theme makes sense! Set a dress code, and encourage attendees to incorporate the ocean into their outfits. Gift each of your employees personalised, themed mementos – and the night will be unforgettable.

Black tie is a standard theme for an external event. You could implement a colour scheme and run themed colours throughout your event’s decor, but a fun theme would potentially seem unprofessional. Since multiple companies will attend your event, their business messages will differ, and you’ll find it difficult to find an entertaining theme idea that suits everybody. You can still personalise mementos and gifts for the event, but keep it classy!

Choose Your Venue

Knowing your theme is instrumental in choosing a suitable venue. Internal events can easily be held on company premises, but you still may decide to hire out a hall and fill it with themed party decor! Carefully consider how many people will be at your event, as your venue needs to be suitable for that many attendees. You’ll need a stage, or at least an area for a hired stage, to present your awards to the winners. The path up to your stage also needs to be without obstruction to avoid an accident.

More thought will need to go into choosing a venue for an external event. Firstly, you need to make sure that the location is accessible to everybody! The ideal venue would be an equal distance away from all companies involved to keep travel as convenient as possible. (If this isn’t possible, you could host your event online! Sending your awards through the post eliminates the need for a venue). If a physical event is still your preference, your venue needs to fit all attendees inside comfortably. You also want the setting to be as photogenic as possible for any video or photographs that will reach the public. If you’ve chosen a theme for your event, your venue should also reflect that theme – so try and pick a hall that incorporates your colour palette.

Select Your Staff

The staff for your awards ceremony span much farther than just the catering. You’re going to need stage speakers, presenters, a production crew to handle lighting, and coordinators depending on the scale of your event. Waiters, caterers and the sound desk are just half of the staff you need to secure. You’re also going to need a company to create your custom acrylic decor and awards! Of course, all of this is less pressing if you’re hosting a small internal awards ceremony for your employees.

For formal events though, you may even look to include judges or unbiased adjudicators from your industry! You can’t make up your event staff purely from your employees, because they aren’t trained in event planning, and they also deserve to enjoy the ceremony. You want to give the impression that you value everybody’s experience at your event, so hire teams that will perform well. Your guest list also needs to be considered, whether you look to invite influencers or allow all attendees a plus one to fill your tables. 

Sort Your Schedule

Now you know where you’re going to be and who will be there, you’ve got to sort the timing! Your guests need to know when to arrive at your ceremony, catering staff need to know when to serve their food, and the production team needs to know when to dim the lights. The bigger your event, the tighter you’ll have to be with your schedule to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You have more people to consider and try to entertain in the short hours of your event! An internal ceremony will include fewer people, so you’ll have less to consider and more free reign on the night.

When inviting nominees to your formal, external event, make a note on the invitation about speeches. Note the amount of time you’re allowing for a speech, and try your best to ensure that winners stick to that window. Your event needs to operate with a rhythm to retain the interest and the attention of your attendees because the last thing you want is a room full of boredom. Punctual and snappy delivery of every aspect of your event will be crucial to its success! A schedule is even more critical for a virtual awards ceremony because attendees have families working around your event time so it can not overrun.

Enjoy Yourself!

You’ve got all the steps you need for a fabulous event, so make sure you enjoy it! There is nothing more rewarding than planning a successful event with pleased attendees, so savour every moment. You’re entirely ready to host your own awards ceremony – and Midton is here to help. Contact us for bespoke employee recognition awards, or personalised corporate awards for your next big event!