YOUR GUIDE TO RIBBON CUTTINGS
SETTING THE DATE
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for planning – at least three or four weeks in advance. This way, you allow attendees enough notice to mark their calendars. There are many factors to consider before choosing a date:
- Avoid major holidays, including special state and federal holidays, if you are trying to attract government officials or those in the financial industry.
- Avoid scheduling it on a day with major community and/or sporting events. Be sure to check our Calendar as well as the City of Easthampton to see what Chamber and Community events are taking place.
- The best days of the week to hold a ribbon cutting or open house are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Mondays tend to be too busy for most people to leave the office and many people take Fridays off to start their weekend early. However, if attendance by state legislative officials is a priority, the best days of the week are Mondays and Fridays as they are typically in district.
- Wherever possible, avoid holding a weekend event. Most people have their own personal or recreation plans on Saturday and Sunday.
- If having a local or state official present is a priority, consider scheduling your date and time around their availability.
CHOOSING THE TIME
The time of day sets the tone for your ribbon cutting or open house. Morning events will have a very different feel and style than an evening reception. Luncheon gatherings will require more food and beverage than a morning event. Consider this when choosing a time:
- Avoid scheduling an event early in the morning. Unless necessary, morning ribbon cuttings or open houses should begin no earlier than 8:00am. Coffee and pastry items should be considered.
- Luncheon events can be successful given that most people stop work for a lunch break. However, luncheons require more advance notice and can be costly. The best time for a luncheon event is between 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
- Late afternoon and early evening functions allow people to drop by after work and at their convenience to avoid interfering with their workday. These types of event are most successful between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Be sure to designate a specific time for the ribbon to be cut.
Consider your audience when developing your invitation list including potential and current customers/clients, suppliers, employees, Chamber leaders, local and state officials, business leaders and media. Once you have your guest list, keep these tips in mind:
- Be simple and to the point in your invitation: who, what, when, where, and why.
- Include an RSVP if you will be serving food and/or beverages or have space limitations.
- Include a map and parking information.
- Indicate attire if required.
SERVING FOOD & BEVERAGES
Food and/or beverages are typically served depending on the time of the ribbon cutting or open house but it is at your discretion. If you choose to serve alcohol, be sure to check with your insurance carrier about liability. Be sure to visit the Chamber’s Online Membership Directory for a list of member restaurants, bakeries, catering companies and more.
PLANNING THE EVENT
When planning your ribbon cutting or open house, a brief program is your opportunity to let attendees know more about your company and provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to recognize your efforts.
- Ribbon cuttings typically last no more than 30 minutes so allow about 15 minutes for a program and the rest to celebrate and cut the ribbon. Open Houses last up to 2 hours. Schedule the program to begin about halfway through.
- Limit the number of speakers and the length of time. Keep in mind that local and state officials may expect to speak so limit those members of the audience to the highest ranking officials (senator/representative/mayor)
- For small groups, a microphone or podium are not necessary. Consider a microphone and podium for groups larger than 50 or held in a vast space.
- End the program with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, first shovel, etc. The Chamber can help provide the ribbon and large scissors.
SECURING MEDIA COVERAGE
Much of the local media relies on freelance staff, but here are some tips to help get your event covered:
- Make it as easy as possible for media to attend.
- Send a media advisory to the local media at least two weeks ahead of your event and again 3 days prior which outlines the basics: who, what, when, where and why.
- Take your own photos. If the media was not able to cover the event, sending photos afterwards is great way to get follow-up coverage. Be sure the photos are clearly marked with who, what, where, when and why.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU ALONG THE WAY
The Chamber is your best resource. We can help you invite local and state officials, promote the ribbon cutting or open house in our newsletter and on our social media channels. We will even provide the ribbon and the scissors!
Be sure to notify us at least 2 weeks in advance and we will do our best to attend based on staff availability.