Five Secrets to Winning Event Awards

Five Secrets to Winning Event Business Awards
By Stacy Wyatt, Founder & Publisher, Canadian Special Events Magazine

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Entering award competitions for event professionals is important. Not just to win but also for the experience. Valuable lessons come out of the time and effort spent preparing and packaging your entry and the application process represents a great opportunity to pause, review and take stock of your business, while offering a chance to set team goals for the upcoming year.

Here are my five insider tips to making all that effort pay off and bettering your chances to win


Nothing frustrates a judge more than reading an amazing description then flipping to the images and they say nothing about the event. You describe all the amazing components to your event, such as the food, décor, AV or entertainment and then you offer photos of a flower arrangement or ice sculpture. It is critical that the images mirror the story you tell in your description or sadly, your entry could be penalized. A winning entry can lose out because the images were poorly chosen. You don’t need to have million dollar shots…they just need to match the writing.


Keep your focus on the event’s story. Try to avoid falling off course and adding extraneous information that is not relevant to the category. For example, if your event was a non-profit, explaining a little about the charity’s goals makes sense if it helps support your objective statement or provides context to the branding decisions. Just be sure to make it succinct.


Sometimes less is more. The judges have little time and a lot of entries to go through which can literally take days to complete. Not only do they need to review every entry, but they need to remember them and be able to compare one to the other. Use BOLD statements with clear, snappy writing so the judges will understand the event’s message and why you think it was award worthy, without getting lost in flowery language.


Do not be shy about stating that your event deserves to win, but be sure to back it up. In your objective statement clearly show the value your event has; the work that was done and the outcome of the project. Provide reference points for judges to look for in your overall description. In life and business confidence is key; use that same philosophy in your entry. It does make a difference.


Most award programs give you the judging criteria in advance. If the judging criteria is creativity, logistics and meeting objectives, and these are the only things being judged, then focus on these things in your entry and forgo the extra 10 hours work on copy that doesn’t relate. While its critical to send in a thorough and strongly written entry, it’s more important to address the items which are going to earn you points. For example, you may have been passionately in love with the table treatments in your event; you designed the idea, you had them made, you talked about them on social media.. but if you are entering Most Outstanding Event, your judges will not focus on these centers so why mention them. Move on to BIG scoring areas instead. 

Best of luck with your event awards and if you need tips or ever want to chat about your process, feel free to connect. with me on FB or on twitter @cdnspecialevent

The deadline for the Canadian Event Industry Awards are coming up soon. The last day to enter is February 12. There are 38 award categories covering almost every sector of the industry from achievements in wedding planning or AV design to catering, décor, lighting, entertainment, non profit, venue events and more. You don’t need to be a member of any organization to enter, as long as your event meets the qualifications. The 20th Anniversary Canadian Event Awards Gala will take place this year @ The Paramount Event Space on March 30, proudly hosted Learn more at