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7 Unique Award Ceremony Event Ideas to Surprise Guests

Award ceremonies should be something special. They’re the perfect opportunity to pull out all the stops and use your creative powers. What’s more, they should provide a truly unique event with which to honour, reward, and give thanks to your employees, partners, clients, or whoever else you feel deserves recognition. So why do so many award ceremonies fail at being the innovative events we’d all like them to be?

We’re on a mission to give our clients some fresh new approaches for their award ceremonies, and we’ve got some fantastic ideas to share with anyone looking to bring some life and innovation into their big corporate night out. After all, award ceremonies have a responsibility to be as special as they can be, and in order to really hit those high notes, it’s important to start thinking outside the box.

While we’re always happy when event managers really push the boat out, and splash out on lavish decor and top-notch food options, holding unique events with a real sense of sophistication doesn’t have to be expensive. Whatever your budget or scope, we’re going to ply you with some inspiration for your next award ceremony, and make sure that those lucky employees gaining recognition for their hard work really get a sense of something special from your next event. Read on to explore our eight unique award ceremony event ideas, that are guaranteed to boost engagement, get people talking, and really lift the spirits!

Involve Innovative Presentations

Unique events are those which think outside the box, and which are unafraid to take on new concepts, explore new territory, and take inspiration from the movers and shakers of the events world. If you’re looking for a simple, hugely effective, and highly affordable way to jazz up your next award ceremony, why not bring in some innovative and on-trend presentation types?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, it’s highly likely you’ve heard of the impact that PechaKucha presentations have had in the corporate events world. Dreamt up in Japan in 2003, PechaKucha essentially involves a series of super-fast presentations, accompanied by a set of twenty automatically advancing images. Each image is visible on the presentation screen for twenty seconds, and the presenter must keep their talk moving forwards, remaining dynamic and relevant for the length of the presentation.

Bringing in a series of PechaKucha talks is a fantastic on-trend way to add a sense of dynamism and alternative approaches to your awards ceremony, either as a ‘warm up’ to the ceremony itself, or as a break between awards. Egalitarian, fun, and engaging, there’s no wonder the concept has stirred up so much interest worldwide!

Hold an Open Mic

Who knows what talents lie hidden within your team or employees? An open-mic session or slot is a brilliant way to bring in a sense of fun and excitement to your event, and it gives your guests a chance to enjoy a bit of the limelight during your big night.

Popular in pubs and bars all over the world, open-mic slots are all about creating a relaxed, non-judgemental atmosphere in which people can express themselves, explore their performative side, or even try out material they’ve been keeping to themselves. All you need is a microphone (and perhaps some kind of guitar amplifier), and your attendees can then get on the stage, and perform for a 5-10 minute slot in front of the crowd. Original songs, popular covers, slam poetry, circus skills… there’s really no limit to what might crop up, and it’s a lovely way to bring a touch of authenticity and plenty of chilled-out vibes to your unique event.

Dial Up the Luxury

If you’re looking to hold unique fundraising events, then a bit of luxury really does go a long way. There are loads and loads of different methods for making your awards ceremony a bit more glamorous – it just requires a bit of planning, a bit of effort, and a dash of good old fashioned creativity.

If you’re looking to add a glamorous splash to your award ceremony, consider getting creative with your lighting. On top of this, you can play with some exciting event themes – something like a classic Hollywood, 1920s flapper party, or Casino Royale theme would do the trick nicely – and insist on a black tie dress code to dial up the luxurious vibes to the max!

Make the food and drink an event in itself

All events are, to some extent, judged by the quality of the catering options on offer. There are few things more disappointing than a sad platter of staling sandwiches at an event, especially one which is supposed to be a celebratory one, such as an awards ceremony.

In 2019, there’s no longer any excuse not to pull out all the stops when it comes to amazing and spectacular food and drinks options. In fact, your dishes are likely to be among the most photographed and shared aspects of your awards ceremony… so make the effort to seek out something special, and create that all-important foodie buzz on social media! There are plenty of top catering companies right here in London who are turning food and drink into a fine art, a circus show, and a journey of sensory delights all in one. Explore options such as edible bubbles and scented smoke, performative dishes and desserts which make the head spin and the mouth water, or retro options designed to bring back rushes of warm nostalgia with every mouthful.

Book an outstanding keynote

Hopefully, you’ve booked yourself a fantastic host for your awards ceremony. However, these types of unique events are also a great place to highlight other excellent speakers, and booking yourself a charismatic, interesting, and (if you can afford it) famous keynote speaker is sure to get your guests excited. Be sure to select someone who is relevant to your industry, and who is going to garner the enthusiasm and respect of your attendees, or someone who has something genuinely fascinating and insightful to add to proceedings. Exclusive opportunities like this one, which allow your guests to get up close and personal with industry leaders, add a real sense of prestige and excitement to your event.

Livestream the event

Live streaming is a fantastic way to spread your net even wider, and to invite the participation of people from all over the world who perhaps couldn’t make it to your awards ceremony. There are dozens of excellent live streaming platforms nowadays (although YouTube and Facebook still absolutely dominate this sector), and by opening your awards ceremony to a global audience, you’ll be able to turn your unique fundraising event into a genuine online phenomenon, which has the potential to go viral.

In order to make this really work, you’ll obviously need all the relevant tech and the right platforms in place (Forbes has a top must-have list that’s well worth a look), as well as a hashtag that’s already been doing the rounds on social media. Get it right, and your awards ceremony could have a potential audience of thousands upon thousands of viewers, all willing and able to share their thoughts and send their congratulations to the winners.

Bring in a People’s Choice award

The type of awards you dish out at your unique event is, of course, entirely up to you, and depends partly on the industry you’re in, and the sort of vibe you’re going for. Most corporate awards ceremonies will include plenty of ‘joke’ awards – an award for best socks, an award for best averted disaster, etc – as well as more serious tailored options to keep everyone engaged.One really nice idea, which never fails to get a big cheer and increase engagement, is to bring in a ‘people’s choice’ award category. You can ask your attendees to vote prior the ceremony via an app, on a company website, or with a traditional pen and paper ballot for a particular awards category. People’s Choice awards have a powerful effect of bringing everyone together, and increasing the sense of egalitarianism and involvement from the crowd. 

​Ideas for Unique Events that Really Hit the High Notes

As we’ve seen, there’s no shortage of ways of adding plenty of creative and exciting flourishes to your next awards ceremony, and ensuring that everyone involved is having a great night out. Awards ceremonies deserve to be fully celebratory affairs, and with a bit of insider know-how, a bit of extra effort, and plenty of creativity, you can definitely take your event to new heights of innovation and enjoyment.

At Ultimate Experience, we’ve got years of industry knowledge at our disposal, and we never tire of seeking out new ways to make even more traditional event types pop and fizz with excitement. Whether you’re organising an award ceremony, a conference, a launch, or something totally different and unique, we’ve got the experience and skills you need to make your event a roaring success. Want to find out more about what we do, and why we’re considered among the best events companies in the industry? Get in touch today, and get ready to explore new heights of events-based fun!