5 Awards Ceremony organisation nightmares & how to overcome them.

This is a very different post than usual, as it is the FRIST EVER guest post that I have had on IDS.

At the start of the year I got a very nice email via my about.me profile from a lovely girl called Daniella & I am happy to say that it has lead to her writing the fantastic post below. Daniella is an Events Management Student at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Events Management Intern for R&B Group, plus you can find her over on twitter linkedin!

Five awards ceremony organisation nightmares (and how to overcome them)

It’s been a busy old time for the British awards scene lately. As per usual, the buzz around the BAFTAs and the BRITs has been pretty huge and – I’ll be honest – I’ve loved every minute of it. While most of my friends have been obsessing over sparkly dresses and Beyonce’s bottom, however, I’ve been all about the lights, the red carpet and the floor plans! 

Unfortunately I’m a born worrier and my latest obsession has led to a series of nightmares where I’m organising an event and everything is going terribly wrong. Cue angry guests, broken equipment and drained budgets. It’s the opposite of dreaming big! It’s not every day that you’re asked to organise an awards ceremony and when you are it’s unlikely to be reported globally, have a humongous budget or star-studded guest list, but when it comes to organising an occasion where people are being honoured for an achievement you do have to make it special. Whether it’s for a local school or a big business, that’s a task that can be daunting as well as exciting. In homage to that, here’s my top 5 potential awards ceremony malfunctions and how to avoid them.

Lack of planning

Although a more casual, thrown together ceremony might seem a less stressful process for everyone, taking such an approach may not allow the winners of your awards to feel fully appreciated. Taking the time to put together a professional, well-organised ceremony will add some prestige to your event. 

The best way to ensure your event doesn’t feel amateurish is to plan every detail from a very early stage. Consider every aspect of the design of your event, plus a timescale for implementation. It’s a tricky balancing act at this stage, especially if the date and venue aren’t yet finalised, but generally speaking planning cannot begin early enough.  

Overspending and shoddy budgeting

If you’ve planned out every detail of an awards ceremony, you’ve already taken perhaps the most important step in reducing the costs of organising and running such an event. Many event production companies, caterers or hotels will give discounts if you give them a great deal of notice about the timing and nature of the awards ceremony. If you’re unable to finalise the venue at an early stage of planning, be sure to leave a space in your budget for additional equipment hire in case the venue isn’t equipped with the event technology you’d expected. However, don’t hold a large amount of the total funds aside just in case your awards ceremony doesn’t run to budget – be aware that this money could be better used elsewhere in the business.


Awards ceremonies are all about the organisation celebrating the achievements of special individuals. The majority of individuals at an awards ceremony will go home empty handed, but will still want to have a good night out. A sure-fire way of losing the attention of the ceremony’s attendees is to allow proceedings to go on for far too long. If you’re able to splash out on some projection mapping or other entertainment for your guests then you might be able to keep them gripped for longer, but aiming for the actual award-giving section of the event to last no more than an hour in total is probably best. Suggest a limit to the number of awards presented, the amount of time spent on each award and on speeches. If your ceremony overruns, guests might get bored, tired, or miss their transport links and they’ll be sure to blame the event managers for it. Give guests at least a rough estimate of when you expect the event to end, allowing an extra 20-30 minutes in case of delays. 

Forgetting that a little bit of glamour never hurts

Although the ceremony is about presenting awards, it’s still important to involve the rest of the attendees in the event. Show that their attendance is appreciated by treating them as honoured guests. Whether by rolling out the red carpet, taking photos of all attendees, or offering complimentary gifts at the end of the event, you’ll want to make  guests feel part of the event. 

Neglecting the post-event promotion buzz

Don’t let the buzz surrounding the awards ceremony die down immediately after it ends. By using video production at the ceremony, for example, the hosts will be able to upload footage of the event to their website or YouTube channel, so winners’ achievements will continue to be displayed to everyone at the organisation, and non-attendees too. 

With these foundations in place, you have a great chance of hosting a memorable, smoothly run (and nightmare-free) awards ceremony!

by Daniella Billington

@imdamnstudent, @blogbykobrak, Instagram & Google+

Thank you very much Daniella for such a great post! & if any of you would like to write a guest post on this blog about the events industry or university please drop me an email: eventmanagementstudent@gmail.com