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Everything you need to know about planning award ceremonies

Whether you are hosting an internal corporate award ceremony or focusing on celebrating the industry, both are fantastic opportunities to get everyone together to express gratitude for their hard work and dedication.


Writing a brief for the event

Before you get to planning, create a brief for the event. Having a detailed brief will give you a plan of action and helps ensure you’re on brand by maintaining the company or industry values. A helpful brief will include details on the target audience, objectives, event details, key messages, and budget.

When considering why you are hosting an awards ceremony, think about the end goal of running this event. It could be to acknowledge your employees and boost morale internally, recognise achievers in your industry, or raise money for a good cause. 

 Setting your award ceremony budget

Setting and sticking to your budget is important for any event. When you’re organising your budget, consider whether this will be a free-to-attend or ticketed event. If tickets will need to be purchased, you can consider anticipated revenue when creating your budget. Don't forget you'll also need to budget for staff to check tickets and guest lists at the entrance.

Don’t scrimp on the essentials! Key elements to budget for include food and beverages, the venue, decor and entertainment, and of course, VIPs. 


Choosing the judges

Choosing the right judges makes a huge impact on your event, you want to choose a selection of well-known people in your industry, all whilst staying within your budget. VIP judges can eat up a lot of the budget quickly! Research industry experts or standout individuals who uphold your brand values, or ask previous winners to return as judges. Whoever you choose, they need to be industry relevant and well-respected! Most importantly, the awards should be judged without bias.


Picking your award ceremony venue

The two biggest factors to consider when searching for your awards ceremony venue are budget, and anticipated guest numbers. Secondary to this is finding a venue suitable for the brand and a little bit exciting.

These events are typically glamourous, somewhere that accentuates this will help with decor costs.

When researching venues, visualise how you’d like to seat your guests. You'll need enough room for guests to be seated comfortably, space to mingle, and to go up to the stage to receive their awards. Speaking of stages, remember to ask venues if they have a stage or if you'll need to hire one!

Finding the perfect theme

Having a theme for your event is a fantastic way to make it a standout, memorable occasion for everyone. An awards show is about acknowledging talent or success, so the theme you pick should be inspiring and complement the glamour of the evening.

When deciding on the perfect theme, remember your target audience and find a theme that incorporates what the majority enjoy or find inspirational.


Excellent award ceremony entertainment

Entertainment at an awards ceremony is a must. The entertainment can either continue throughout the entire ceremony, filling gaps between awards, or take place before or after the awards. Remember that not everyone will be an award winner, so having some exciting entertainment will help all guests feel involved and included, even if they aren’t gracing the stage themselves.

When it comes to the big entertainment decision, pick something that ties in with your theme and complements the atmosphere of an awards show. You could go for anything from dancers or musicians to stand-up comedians or even some circus performers.

Providing value

Allocating time and space for networking is a good idea to offer guests the chance to mingle with like-minded individuals and professionals.

You can encourage networking through the layout of your event, a drinks area or buffet food will get guests talking to one another. 

You can provide value beyond your event by naming a specific charity, or charities, to receive some of the earnings. You could choose to host a raffle as part of the entertainment and as a lovely way to raise some extra money.

Sourcing the right suppliers

Check with your chosen venue to find out what room hire includes. Ask about catering options, AV inclusion, and if they have any preferred suppliers. Most venues have in-house catering partners which will be able to provide a bespoke menu to suit your theme.

State-of-the-art AV and lighting will help create an electric atmosphere with special effects alongside a fabulous host who will surely have your guests in stitches all evening. And to capture all those happy faces on film, you’ll certainly need a brilliant photographer and videographer.


Promoting your awards ceremony

Social media is a great way to spread the word about your event. Create eye-catching graphics and a branded hashtag to increase awareness. Make sure you've prepared a list of the winners' social media handles so you can announce them swiftly on the night. 

Whether the awards ceremony is free to attend or ticketed, you'll want to create a web page for guests to register their details and get further information about the event. Make sure you include arrival and departure times, address, theme and dress code, and of course, the shortlist!


If you’re looking for a stunning venue, perfect for an award ceremony, visit The HAC. Set amongst 5-acres of gorgeous lawns, the Armoury House is a grand and elegant space filled with a rich history. The Prince Consort Rooms are a large contemporary blank-canvas space ideal for complete transformations. Both have state-of-the-art AV facilities alongside delicious in-house catering by Searcys

Whatever you require our dedicated events team will be happy to help! Just get in touch to book a show around today.