The work in organising an Awards Dinner is 95% in the pre-planning and 5% on the actual night. Here’s a few simple tips to consider:
Awards – The Basics
What are the Awards for – is it an industry wide award, one for your staff, maybe a school or an annual Sports Award?
Guests - who are your guests are going to be? This will determine not only your theming décor on the night but also entertainment, the evening host and even the menu choice.
Award Categories - it’s always good to have a small team to throw around ideas when deciding on the award categories themselves. Make sure the categories are relevant and current.
The Trophies - decide on what the recipient is going to receive well in advance. You can get an off-the-shelf trophy or plaque, or you can come up with something a little different that will better suit the nature of what the award is for. A plate or silver ladle may be appropriate for a Chefs Award or sporting equipment for a sports award.
Seating – most awards have tables of 10 but tables of 8 also work very well. Consider that having cabaret seating for 8 avoids two people having their back to the stage.
Evening Host – this is one of the most important elements on the night. A good host will keep your schedule on track and flowing smoothly, have some fun with the guests and even cover up any hiccups during the course of the night.
Award nights can be long and pretty boring so put together a run sheet that allows the evening to flow and not get bogged down in speeches.
If you have sponsors or special guests making presentations, make sure they know how long they have to speak. If possible, get a copy of their speech beforehand and put it on auto-cue to help with keeping things on time.
Allows for breaks in-between awards so guests can talk, mingle and stretch their legs.
No matter how well planned your run sheet is, things happen on the night that you can’t control and that perfect schedule flies out the window. So allow for a bit of padding in your timing for each section of the night. If speeches run overtime then you can breathe a sigh of relief as you have those extra 5-10 minutes you’ve padded in. If you don’t end up needing it, you can add the extra time to the guest intervals.
To help break up the night, try to allow for at least two lots of entertainment throughout the evening. One short (5-10minutes) and the other (15-20mins)
Always have one main act that guests will remember and talk about long after the night has come and gone. A comedian is always a great idea as there’s nothing better than a good laugh to put everyone at ease and make for an enjoyable evening.
There’s nothing better than theming to create excitement and anticipation as soon as guests walk into a room. Theming can take the night from ordinary to extraordinary. You can keep it simple or go all out depending on your budget and your imagination.
Decide on whether you want a classic and elegant evening, or one that has guests getting fully involved. A masquerade theme can be extremely elegant but also give guests the chance to immerse themselves into the theme by wearing a beautiful mask.
Remember that the night is all about rewarding outstanding achievements and an event experience that you want all guests to talk about and remember for weeks to come.
Keep it inspiring, fun and with a few surprises along the way and they’ll be back next year.