How to Plan a Successful Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Ivan Martinez
Corporate photographer with expertise in business headshots, events, commercial, and construction photography.
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A new beginning is always something to be excited about, and the best way to celebrate the excitement you feel when opening a new business or location is by holding a ribbon cutting ceremony with your business partners, family, friends and potential clients.

Continue reading this article to learn everything you need to know to plan your upcoming ribbon cutting ceremony.

What Is a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?

A ribbon cutting ceremony is the grand opening of a new business or a new location of an existing business. It can take place on the actual opening day, or a few days or weeks after a soft opening. These opening ceremonies are also called groundbreaking ceremonies when done for the construction site of a new building.

Your ribbon cutting ceremony is a huge milestone for your business, and a great opportunity to get media coverage, attract new clients, reveal the company name. It is also the perfect time to get a few photos that can be used later in advertisement campaigns or in the business website.

Also, these ceremonies give business owners, business associates and board members the opportunity to say a few words about the business and the people involved in it. They can publicly thank investors, their employees, their friends and family, as well as their business partners and the board of directors of the company.

For small businesses, this is a great way to spread the word about the company, and get a boost in customers from the very beginning of this new chapter.

Example of ribbon cutting ceremony photography

When to Have a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?

One of the most interesting benefits of a ribbon cutting ceremony—aside from having fun with giant scissors—is attracting a large crowd of people who may become clients in the future.

Many business people prefer holding their ribbon cutting ceremonies on weekends, because more people are available to attend–and stay for a longer amount of time to see what this new business has to offer. However, local government officials aren’t usually avaible during the weekend.

If your opening ceremony is during a weekday, it will be more difficult to attract potential customers, members of the local media, and other business people who may have shown up otherwise. However, ceremonies held on weekdays are ideal to attract local government officials and prominent figures in the local business scene.

The ideal day for your ceremony is going to depend on the characteristics of the community you are located in. If your community’s economy depends on tourism, people could be busier during the weekend than during weekdays, so you should plan accordingly.

Another option is to host two ribbon cutting ceremonies: first, a chamber-led ribbon-cutting ceremony during the week where you can invite the mayor, importan people in the local business community and dignitaries; and then, host a grand opening celebration with potential clients as the main focus during the weekend.

Planning the Ceremony

Just like any other important event in life, planning the perfect ribbon cutting ceremony is a complex process that involves several steps and details. Let's look at the main things you have to consider when planning your ceremony so nothing goes wrong on this special day:

Choose Your Date and Time

The first thing that you have to consider is whether you’re going to hold your ceremony on the weekend, on a weekday or if you are going to hold a dual ceremony. 

To make this fundamental decision you need to: 

  • Consider when the people you want to attend the ceremony are going to be free.
  • Check if there is going to be an important event in the community on the date of your choice, so you can choose a time that doesn’t clash with said event.

Another tip is to check what the weather forecast for that day is since most ribbon cutting ceremonies are held outdoors. And even if they are indoors, inclement weather conditions may dwindle the number of people that attend your event.

Create Your Guest List

Write down every single person you would like to attend this ceremony. Your list should include key guests such as the mayor, members of the Chamber of Commerce, City Council Members, members of different media outlets, commissioners, investors, patrons, employees, board members, friends, and family. 

Inviting stakeholders and the community will strengthen your business’ bond with them, which will help you in the future. Iwill also give you a big attendance to your event from the start, which will attract curious passersby—who will join the crowd just to see what’s going on.

Spread the Word

This is an event that you’ll want to advertise heavily, since this is a great opportunity to let a big number of people know about your business and showcase your products. This will be the foundation for your new customer base in the near future.

Some strategies you can implement to spread the word about your opening ceremony are social media posts—either by official company accounts, or by local influencers—billboards or posters with the time, date and location of the event, and even press releases.

Determine Who Will Cut the Ribbon

The ribbon is usually cut by the business owner or by one of the senior executives of the business. However, some businesses opt to have a prominent member of the community cut the ribbon, which makes it easier for the people to welcome this new business in their community.

Find the Big Scissors

There are some party supply stores where you can find the ceremonial scissors and the wide ribbon you are going to need for your ceremony. In some places, the Chamber of Commerce rents ceremonial scissors for a small fee. If you can’t find ceremonial scissors or a wide ribbon, any big scissors and nice red ribbon you can find will do just fine.

Prepare a Quick Speech

Business owners usually give a speech at the start of the ceremony, so make sure that you prepare yours beforehand. The ideal speech would be short, to the point and a bit emotional, so that the audience can create an emotional connection—without getting exhausted by listening to a lengthy speech.

If you want to give the people in attendance more information about your business, you can give out pamphlets or cards that give more details about your business and products or services.

Select a Photographer

Hiring a professional and experienced photographer is key to capturing the best and most important moments of the celebration, as well as candid shots of VIP guests. It’s important to have high-quality photos of this event, since they can be used on press releases, social media, local media outlets, and marketing campaigns. 

Don’t wait until the last moment to look into hiring the perfect photographer for your event. If you want a good photographer, you’ll need to book them ahead of time to make sure they are available. 

Once you find a photographer you like, take your time to share your goals for the ceremony and to review the photographer’s portfolio to make sure it fits your vision.

Who Will Be in the Photos

Make a list of the people who absolutely need to appear in at least one photo at the event. Remember that you are going to be busy, and you won’t have time to figure out who needs to have their photo taken. Trust your photographer with the list you drafted beforehand, and let them do all the work.

These pictures will capture the memories of the people who attended the ceremony. Also, if someone gets to appear in a great photo at your event, they’re going to associate your business with a good time.

This is also the best opportunity to take good photos of your employees, family members and business associates. 

Provide Food and Refreshments

A lot of people will attend your event because you offer food, and then stay to learn more about your business. Therefore, you should hire a catering service that offers a variety of food that caters to all kinds of people.

If you’re planning on having a big ceremony with a big crowd, offering appetizers and beverages is your best option. If, on the other hand, you want your ceremony to be a closed event, you can offer a complete meal.

You should try to hire a community-based catering service, so that people know that you are willing to support other local businesses and that your business is here to stay.

Planning on hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony, but can’t find the right photographer? I can help you with that! My name is Ivan Martinez and I’m a professional corporate event photographer.

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