In my last post, ribbon cutting ceremony planning worksheet, I listed all of the questions you need to ask at the beginning of the planning process to ensure no detail of your event is overlooked. Now that you have gathered all of the information you need, here is a step-by-step guide to throw a successful ribbon cutting, from securing the little details to the news coverage.
1. Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Improvement District to see if they assist with ribbon cuttings. They can sometimes help secure local dignitaries or at least provide you their contact information. They also may be able to provide you the supplies (ribbon, scissors, etc.) and a photographer.
2. Decide where the ceremony is going to take place and rent all supplies, equipment, tents, signage, decorations, tables and chairs needed.
3. Research and book all vendors needed for food, refreshments, and entertainment.
4. Research and order/put together anything needed for prizes, giveaways, presentations, or tours.
5. Create and send printed invitations to your guest list 3-4 weeks in advance. A follow-up email invitation or eventbrite invitation can be sent out 1-2 weeks prior to the event to people who haven’t RSVP’d yet and/or a B-list.
6. Create a detailed agenda with times, locations, speakers, and stages of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Two or three days before the event, share the agenda with everyone speaking at the ceremony, VIPs, and your internal team/staff/client to prep them for how the event will run and what is expected of them.
7. Write and send out a media advisory to reporters and news outlets that you would like in attendance of the event about five business days before the ribbon cutting ceremony, and again the day before. Follow up with reporters you haven’t heard from the morning of the event.
8. Write a detailed press release about the ribbon cutting ceremony with a few holes to fill in with quotes and photos from the event.
9. Write and/or read through the emcee’s opening and closing remarks, if needed. Also follow-up with speakers and VIPs to make sure they don’t have any questions and are all set for the event.
10. The morning of the event, make sure the location of the event is clean and decorated/set up, and be available to assist vendors as they show up to set up food, refreshments, entertainment, tents, equipment, etc. Also be available for reporters who have any questions or need you to put them in contact with the correct people for interviews.
11. Immediately after the ceremony, fill in the missing information from your press release and send it to the news outlets who weren’t able to make it.
12. The following morning, check news outlets for coverage of your event and pull clippings for your client/supervisor. Send thank yous to reporters who covered your event, VIPs who attended the event, anyone who assisted in the planning, and all of your staff/internal team/client for a great event.
I think that saying your thank yous is always the most important part – and the best way to unwind from the adrenaline of executing a successful event.
Do you have any additional tips for planning a ribbon cutting?