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The Ultimate Awards Ceremony

Post Baftas and now Oscars we got thinking about how to throw the ultimate awards ceremony! We’ve been involved in a few awards ceremonies, not for actors and directors but for companies and organisations. Of all the events we organise, these are probably my favourites: what’s not like about rewarding businesses or individuals for their professional achievements?

Organising A Successful Awards Ceremony

As with any awards ceremony there will be winners and losers, the trick is to satisfy everyone. This might include; sponsors, the nominees, those who haven’t been nominated, employees, industry leaders and invited guests, partners etc.

Whatever the goal of your awards ceremony is important to ensure that all the attendees find it a rewarding experience.

The benefits of attending for those nominated are obvious.  But it’s easy to find yourself focusing on the experience from their point of view. Generally, the number of other attendees will far outweigh the winners, and are equally important to your objectives. Therefore delivering an entertaining and stimulating event for all involved will be a measure of its success.

Make Event Ceremonies Entertaining

Long speeches and presentations are not always the most stimulating of spectacles. If you’re in a large venue those at the back might be tempted to slip away early! Here are a few ideas for keeping the momentum and interest levels high throughout your awards ceremony:

Short Films Of Nominees

Borrowing from the Bafta/Oscar format you could use film to showcase each contender and their achievements. These only need to be short clips, and could involve using some existing material as well as shooting specific footage. In our experience this can be achieved relatively quickly, without blowing your awards ceremony budget. In return you can add a very visual and engaging element to your event.

Entertainment Between Award Categories

Keeping attendees on the edge of their seats is a tall order if the list of awards runs to several pages. You could consider having a number of intervals to break this up; and provide a focus during these. Short stage or strolling acts in between award categories will give your audience a little breather, and a reason (if they need one) to stay to the end.

Choose Your Host/s Carefully

The person, or people, booked to host or compere your awards ceremony are essential for driving the event and keeping the mood fun, energetic and upbeat. They will also help you keep to your timings, which should be very carefully calculated and rehearsed. Having someone who can adlib if an acceptance speech consists of no more than “thank you”, or move things along if someone wants to thank everyone they’ve ever met, is a must.


Many organisations book a celebrity to host their awards, or a well-known band or act to entertain attendees. If you have the budget this certainly creates a real draw, especially if you hope to get important clients or sponsors onboard. There are also plenty of marketing opportunities pre and post awards ceremony with a celebrity involved.

Finally, don’t forget your winners.

They need their moment in the spotlight and if you want to build the reputation of your awards, winning must be an attractive proposition. As well as feting them on stage, winners can help promote your awards for next year if you provide them with the means to do so.

For example, an event video with edited highlights from your awards ceremony (make sure that all winners are in it!), is a great marketing tool and one that winners, attendees and sponsors are sure to share.

The awards ceremony calendar is particularly busy at this time of year, so if you’ve been to one recently and can share your experience, post a comment below. Highlights, lowlights, things you would do better – we’d love to hear them all!

Rob Edmonds

Author Rob Edmonds

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