Late spring is the ideal time to shine a light on your student’s exceptional academic, athletic, and artistic achievements. Recognizing those achievements at an awards banquet not only provides student recognition but creates motivation for your students to keep up the excellent work for the next school year. If this is your first year planning and finding an awards banquet hall, fear not, we have created a ten steps guide to help you plan.
1. Establish your budget. Your budget will help determine where you can hold your awards banquet, the menu, décor, type of awards, and invitations. If you plan ahead, you can consider approaching local businesses to help sponsor your event; in return, you can mention them in your awards program.
2. Determine the date of your awards banquet. Make sure your dinner or lunch doesn’t conflict with school or athletic commitments. Consult with your school’s various committees, to avoid overlapping dates.
3. Choose an awards banquet venue. First on your list should be your awards banquet venue. If your school gymnasium or cafeteria is the location of choice, parking should not be an issue. If you choose an offsite location, make sure the venue can meet the parking needs of your students and their families. If you have your heart set on a specific venue, call early to reserve your date. Most banquet venues book well in advance; you will want to call as early as possible to reserve your date.
4. Choose a menu. Your budget ultimately determines your menu, and how formal or casual the awards banquet will be. Banquet venues often have multiple catering services you can use. If your banquet is held onsite at your school, you will probably need to hire a catering service. Regardless of the venue location, don’t forget to include a vegan option for those who do not eat meat.
5. Send out invitations. This vital detail will include RSVPs and will help you gauge how many students and guests will be attending. Knowing the number of guests determines how many tables, dinners, and possibly awards you need to order. Invitations are invaluable and can be as casual or formal as budget allows.
6. Seating arrangement. Create a visual seating arrangement, assigning students with their parents or guest, and staff to tables can help you stay organized. A seating assignment can also avoid chaos, including students wanting to sit near their friends.
7. Planning the program. The awards banquet program is a simple outline with the sole purpose of creating an organized timeline for your planning committee. It can also serve as a formal printed program. Printed programs are great keepsakes of the evening. A few essential details to consider are mentioning keynote speakers, presenters, the order of the awards, sponsor ads, and possibly how long each presentation will be. Including a program also allows the guest to break away if necessary, without missing their loved one’s award acceptance.
8. Ordering your awards. The type of award you present can vary greatly depending on your budget. Awards can range from traditional trophies and ribbons to medallions, certificates, pins, gift cards, electronics, and more. Be sure to order awards at least a month in advance–especially if you are ordering custom awards.
9. Plan and order decorations. An often-overlooked detail is the décor. Most award banquet venues only provide the landscape, think tables and chairs. Decorations, such as table covers, table skirts, and centerpieces are probably your responsibility, ask the venue if these are included or if you need to arrange for these. You might want to consider a photo station with a logo backdrop, dramatic balloon arches or other creative decor.
10. Create an awards banquet schedule. Give yourself and assistants time to decorate, test the sound system, arrange tables, speak with the caterers and wait staff, arrange awards in order of presentation, and other last-minute details that are sure to arise.
Need help finding your awards banquet hall in Lafayette Louisiana? Consider calling Le Pavillon and allow Hannah and her team to take the stress of finding a venue and planning your awards banquet.