How to Plan a Ribbon Cutting

When to Have One

Almost every occasion is appropriate for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. You do not need to have something new and BIG to show off. A brand new business, new digs, a big remodel to accommodate growth are great reasons to celebrate. But you can also celebrate your company’s birthday, the launch of the new services you’ll be offering or another year with the Chamber. When you want to draw attention in a big way, a ribbon-cutting ceremony makes a big splash without having to spend a huge amount of money.

Choose Your Date and Time

Give yourself a month to plan the ceremony and to get on the calendars of the people you want to attend. If your new space is still being finished, wait until you’re certain when the new space really will be finished before you plan your ribbon cutting. Don’t take the contractor’s word for it. Many things are out of his control, including when his vendors will actually deliver.

Check with HWCOC team and with any officials you want to attend before finalizing the date. Having them in attendance makes your business and your news look more important. Make sure there’s nothing else going on that day in the neighborhood because that could pull attendees away from your event or it could take up all the parking spaces so people can’t get to your event.

Ask our team what time we recommend, we do this often and see what has proven to be successful. Don’t hold the ceremony too late in the day. An hour before noon or an hour prior to the end of the business day will allow people to take a longer lunch. At 4-4:30 p.m., many business folks will be able to break away, attend your ceremony, and can also try to get home early.

Spread the Word

We always invite our Ambassadors to attend the ribbon cuttings, alert our membership via email and encourage new members to attend. However, if you are trying to spread the word about your business, go beyond this. Make a list of everyone you would like to attend. Follow up with emails to your friends and close business associates. Tell them to spread the word, too. Attend Chamber events and personally invite members you meet to attend. Post the event on social media, and, as the event draws closer, keep updating the page. Change your posts to make them interesting and to keep people coming back. Announce your social media presence in your company newsletter and emails.

Prepare Invitations and Flyers

For your invitations and flyers, you’ll need the following information:

  • WHO: Your company name
  • WHAT/WHY: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for our ____(new building, new location, etc.)
  • WHEN: Day of the week, date and time (i.e. Thursday, July 19, 20__)
  • WHERE: Address for the event
  • R.S.V.P. : Phone number (and name if needed i.e. “Call Marion at (xxx) xxx-xxxx ext. X”)
  • Refreshments will be served

People who are on the fence about coming or who have multiple invitations for the same time, will often come to yours — if you’re serving food. If you’re having the event catered, note on the invitation something which indicates that food better than potato chips and punch will be served. For example, you can write: “Assorted appetizers from Le Chef will be served.”

Plan the Ceremony

Make a checklist of what you want to happen at your ceremony:

  • Emcee/Host – Someone from your company or a local “celebrity”? Emcee introduces speakers and keeps event moving
  • Speakers – Who will talk about your news, give a brief synopsis and thanks? Maximum of 2 speakers, 1-2 minutes each
  • Ribbon Cutter/Holders – Should be owners, partner, etc., flanked by chamber of commerce dignitary and other VIPs, perhaps family
  • Entertainment/Demo/Guides – Music, demo of a new product? People stationed in each room to explain what’s new?
  • Food – Choose and book the caterer. Food should be simple and easy to eat. Don’t forget utensils, plates, cups & ice.
  • Photographer – Hire your own photographer so that you’re not dependent on the media.

Please reach out to our team if you have any questions. We want your ribbon cutting ceremony to be a success!