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4 BIG Tips that Make Your Corporate Awards Banquet Memorable

balloon archways at corporate awards banquetThe image that comes to mind of a “corporate awards banquet” is a slow, boring recognition event.  To keep your event from fitting that unexciting and dull stereotype, approach your corporate awards banquet planning with a few, strategic tips in mind.

Choose a theme.

To make sure that all the details of your corporate awards banquet are coordinated, and to give your event a unique feel, choose a theme that makes your event distinctive.  Themes can set your corporate awards banquet apart, such as:

  • Olympics
  • Mardi Gras
  • casino
  • sports
  • nautical
  • beach
  • red carpet (Hollywood awards)
  • patriotic
  • night under the stars

Set the scene.

mardi gras balloon sculpture pillarsSet the expectations of your guests and co-workers high with an excellent invitation and entry once they arrive.  If your venue is not predetermined, choose a venue that makes a statement—and don’t stop there.  A red carpet, balloon archway, or a well-decorated registration table can create the atmosphere you want before your guests walk into the awards banquet.

Put effort into décor.

ceiling balloon topairy at corporate award banquetResist the urge to open up the doors to your awards banquet room and…that’s it.  If you want to turn your corporate awards banquet into a memorable event, you have to give them an event atmosphere to remember.  Invest in decorations that won’t damage your venue, such as centerpieces or balloon ceiling displays.  Ask your décor vendor for ideas that fit with your awards banquet theme to ensure that all your event details fit together.

Minimize the amount of “winging it.”

Don’t put the success of your program entirely into your emcee’s (or CEO’s) hands.  Schedule the night accordingly to ensure speeches and transitions are seamless and keep moving.  Test all your audiovisual equipment hours (not an hour) before the start of the corporate awards banquet to minimize delays during the program, and to allow for replacement equipment to be located (if needed).  Your guests are going to thank you for your efforts later—especially when they’re not attending another boring, tedious corporate award banquet.


Sports Award Banquet Planning: 6 Tips to Make Your Banquet a Winner

goal post decor at sports award banquetThe end-of-year sports award banquet, and individual sports award banquets, can be the highlight of a stellar season or the long-anticipated chance to gather as a team one last time.  It doesn’t matter how your season went at the sports award banquet; this is your chance to make sure everyone celebrates a year of fun and hard work.  So how can you make the sports award banquet a day everyone remembers for years after their sports season? Use these tips to plan a sports award banquet that your athletes, parents, coaches, and school may never forget:

Don’t go at it alone.

Planning a winning sports award banquet should not be done alone.  Form a committee of volunteers and staff, and give each committee member a responsibility, budget amount, and deadline.  The deadline might be by your next meeting, or a date when the specifics of their project (estimated cost, chosen vendor, time for set-up, etc.) need to be emailed to the committee head.  Here’s a list of projects to be divided up (though this list is not exhaustive and should be customized to your sports award banquet):

  • Promotions
  • Invitations, Guest List & Welcome
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Video
  • Program & Speakers

Set the stage with decorations.

sports award banquet at UW Field House with balloon bouquetsYou don’t always get to choose the location for your awards banquet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate the space like an up-scale awards ceremony.  It’s all about atmosphere, and how you make people feel when they arrive.  To that end, consider balloon columns, archways, elaborate balloon sculptures (goal post and basketball hoops), and unique balloon bouquets at the tables.  To customize decorations for your sports award banquet theme in your budget, contact a balloon decoration company for a free quote and ideas.

Create a feature wall.

27__Dean_2007_Columns_and_Arch-1200x801Draw your guests to a feature wall, or feature space if your space is wide open (in that case, consider a ceiling balloon sculpture or a huge sculpture on the table).  Your feature wall should be a space you want guests to focus on—such as the speaker’s podium—or an area with a picture board or monitors with video or pictures from the year.  You can also use this area for your food if you are hosting a buffet.

Don’t forget about the food.

A significant portion of your sports award banquet budget is most likely going to the food.  The food at your sports award banquet is also a very memorable part of your event, so make sure you contact caterers or your food service for menus and information as soon as you start planning your sports award banquet.  Be very specific about what you need, your budget, and your timeline.  Ask about set-up and clean-up time so you can make sure that your venue is open for preparation and take down.

Do a run through.

Schedule a run through with your head of ceremony and any speakers.  Another bonus of a run through is that you can ensure that your audio visual equipment is set and ready to go (and you know how to use it).  Don’t leave your event to chance; a good run through is an important part of a planning a memorable sports award banquet.

4 Tips to Make Your Next 5K a Success

runners in 5K ready to get to finish line with race balloon decorationsPlanning a 5K, 10K, half marathon, walk or marathon is a complicated event planning process. From getting permission from local officials, taking steps to ensure runner safety, decorating on the day of the run, and actually recruiting volunteers and runners to participate, planning a walk or run is all about the details. How you plan those details, and execute them can mean the difference between a successful run or a mediocre one.

Set a finish line.

This is both physical and metaphorical. Set a goal for your run/marathon, just as you would if you were a runner: number of participants, amount of dollars raised, etc. Be realistic with your goal, especially if this is your first event.

Don’t be remiss about your event finish line either; your runners’ goal is to get to the finish line so make sure your finish line is memorable with a warm reception and memorable run décor. Recruit volunteers to cheer your runners in, and create a memorable finish line with fun decoration, water sprays, or other creative touches.

Recruit groups of people.

Set up your run registration so you can register teams, or groups of people, easily. This simple move boosts your registration numbers, gives your runners an incentive to run together, and gives them a running buddy (or buddies) to pace with during the run. To get more groups to register, contact local running clubs and gyms to promote your event.

Set an ambitious promotion plan.

Create a calendar of deadlines for promotions, and stick to it. Reach out through as many channels as possible, such as social media, radio, posters at local businesses, through sponsors, and through any other outlet you can think of. Ask other runners to join your planning team, and have them serve as recruiters as well. Provide your participants with the tools they need to recruit as well, such as social media graphics, posters, and pins. Give participants incentives to register early (such as a discounts or 2-for-1 deals) so you can boost numbers early.

Make your 5K unique.

Latch your run onto a theme or holiday, and play it up in your promotions and event decorations. For example, if you’re doing a fundraiser for heart health, design your invitations around your heart theme and buy balloon decorations with your event colors, such as balloon bouquets, heart sculptures and balloon archways—or ask your balloon company for a unique suggestion just for your event. For a patriotic run, display your flag uniquely, outfit your registration table with red and white tablecloths, and get balloon decorations that fit with your theme. Make sure all your decorations are weighted down at your event so they hold up in the case of rainy or windy weather.

School Dance Planning Checklist

school dance with mardi gras themeWhat’s the key to planning an awesome school dance? This would be an interesting point of discussion for any group, and a lot of answers would come out: decorations, entertainment, a great theme. The reality is that you need all these details to plan an unforgettable school dance—and that one person can’t do it all alone. Once you have the date and location set, it’s time to get your committee assembled and start confirming all your school dance details. To help you out, we’ve put together a school dance planning checklist to help you plan your homecoming, winter dance, prom, or any other school dance you’re planning:


Set a promotional calendar for your dance, and stick to your deadlines. Make sure you have all hands on board to get the word out. Use social media, posters, your website, your friends, and everyone else to get the word out about your school dance.


Get rid of those cheesy theme pictures in your head; a tasteful theme can give your school dance direction in almost every area of planning and take your dance to the next level. For some dances, the theme is set (such as for a winter wonderland dance). For others, you’ll have to brainstorm with your committee to come up with theme ideas. We’ve seen some great dance themes in action, such as Mardi Gras, a vintage theme (pick your era), Hollywood red carpet, or a carnival theme.


balloons and canop at school danceDecorations are a key part of your dance, so don’t wait until the last minute to set the scene for your school dance. Talk to your school or venue about whether or not you can tape decorations to the wall; you don’t want to get in trouble later for damaging property. Invest your decorations in free-standing, beautiful decorations. Contact a local décor company for a balloon heart, a “cloud” of balloons above the dance floor, letters for your entryway—all these decorations won’t damage the walls or ceiling and create a beautiful dance atmosphere that enhances your theme. Shop for centerpieces that fit with your decorations and you’ll have a beautiful room ready fit for a dance.


If your dance involves a dinner, such as a prom, hire a caterer for the meal AND for late night appetizers that can keep your guests dancing. To make sure that your budget comes out even (or in the black), get a firm quote from your caterer before you set ticket prices.


Good entertainers’ calendars fill up quickly, so a call to a DJ or a band should be one of your first contacts during school dance planning. Make sure you get a quote for services in person with any final charges or fees to ensure that they fit your budget. These simple steps, and marking off all the boxes on your school dance planning checklist, can give you a school dance to remember.