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#64: 10 Tips to Plan the Best Annual or Awards Banquet

Especially for our locals in the Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth Area!

Welcome to our comprehensive episode on planning the best annual or awards banquet in the Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth area. Whether you're organizing a corporate gathering, recognizing employee accomplishments, or celebrating milestones, these expert tips will help you create an unforgettable event for your team.

Start with a Well-Defined Objective and Theme

We went over this IN DEPTH in episode #60 so for now we will just remind you that setting a clear objective and theme for the banquet ensures a cohesive and meaningful event. Quick examples of themes like "Celebrating Excellence" or "Building a Bright Future Together."

Choose the Perfect Venue (especially here in in Denton, Decatur, or Fort Worth)

In the episode, we dove into the significance of selecting a venue that matches the scale, ambiance, and capacity requirements of your event. Again, this was a quick glimpse since you can read on more and listen in to episode #61.

Psst - see what we did there - we created a whole mini-series to help you in multiple areas.

Engaging Decor and Table Settings

The importance of visually appealing decor and table settings is usually a bit more than you would think. Even for our first responder banquets, there are always comments and excitement at seeing how or what was used to decorate for the evening and it shows them that thought went into the event. This decor can also easily reflect the event's theme and create a captivating atmosphere. Here are a few quick ideas and examples:

- Elegant centerpieces: Florals, glass or crystal and candles are all the most used items when planning elegant centerpieces. Be sure to incorporate more than 1 item, and try to make it different levels of height. For example - if your floral arrangement is low in the center, surround it with 3 - 5 floating candles in tall, medium and low glass vases, and finish it with a small touch that matches your theme. Winter? Try small pinecones, snowflakes, or ornaments. Summer? Lean into color, or the theme for the evening.

- Themed tablecloths: We are definitely not saying to buy custom tablecloths with turkeys printed on them for your fall event. What we do mean is choose colors that match and coordinate, as well as textures. The best events find a way to include a print or texture that elevates the experience as well.

- Creative place cards: These are underutilized and truly create a unique experience - plus a keepsake for attendees. We've seen edible options (custom chocolates, cookies or sweets), and personalized charcuterie boards/cones with a wooden pick that has the person's name listed to ornaments with the event date included. Other great ideas are to hire a professional calligrapher to customize tiles, stone, or other items.

Delicious and Catered Dining Options

The significance of selecting a reputable caterer or catering service is VERY HIGH friends. Finding one that offers delectable menus and accommodates dietary preferences is a must for large groups and will help make your planning job a bit easier since they are readily available to fit your needs.

Some caterers specialize in cuisines or dishes like "Texas BBQ," "vegetarian options," or "decadent desserts" so be sure to find out if the caterer you choose can handle your vision.

Captivating Entertainment and Guest Speakers

Now, we know that engaging and entertaining your guests is a MUST to keep attendees entertained and inspired. The way you do it will vary greatly between each event and depends on the style (formal vs. not), the purpose (educational? inspirational? fun?) as well as the overall itinerary for the event.

Examples include:

  • Live Bands

  • Comedians

  • Specialty Speakers

  • Casino Games

  • Karaoke or Game Show

  • Performance by Local theatre, ballet companies, etc.

Awards and Recognition Program

Designing a comprehensive awards and recognition program to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of individuals or teams is always a HUGE hit! After months or years of dedication and work who wouldn't enjoy being recognized?

You want to be sure to have a way to choose the recipients, time to order the awards, as well as a script and agenda for handing them out. Be sure to let anyone know if they are expected to speak as part of this and be sure to have tables, AV equipment etc ready to use too.

Need some ideas of popular awards?

  • Employee of the Year

  • Outstanding Sales Performance

  • Team Collaboration Award

  • Rookie of the Year

  • Training Officer of the Year

Engaging Activities and Team Building Exercises

Incorporating interactive activities and team-building exercises that foster camaraderie and enhance networking opportunities. The type of activities and events will hinge on your level of formal/informalness.

These could include:

  • Ice breaker games

  • Photobooths

  • Auctions

  • Games

  • Interactive Stations (craft, food, etc.)

Thoughtful Giveaways and Swag Bags

Providing thoughtful giveaways and swag bags as tokens of appreciation for attendees is a surefire win. If you have sponsors you can include branded materials gifted by them, or if you have new team merchandise pop those into a bag. Vouchers, gift certificates and other thoughtful materials are easy to add as well.

Seamless Event Logistics and Coordination

Efficient event logistics and coordination to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for attendees is a MUST. It starts long before the event itself with timely notice of the event, RSVP collection, informing them of all the specifics (attire, location, expectations) and continues through with a timeline for not only the event but set up and clean up as well. This will ensure everyone - even you - can enjoy the event.

Capture and Share Memorable Moments

Professional event photography or videography to capture and preserve the highlights of the banquet is something we always recommend. Capturing candid moments, group photos, and annual team videos are just the start. These images can also be used by your marketing team to promote and show the culture and character of your team or business.

Planning the best annual or awards banquet in the Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth area requires attention to detail, creativity, and seamless execution. By following these 10 expert tips, you can create a remarkable event that celebrates your team's achievements and fosters a sense of camaraderie. Start preparing now and get ready for a memorable and successful banquet in the heart of North Texas.

Thank you for reading! We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration to plan the best annual or awards banquet in the Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth area. Happy planning and may your event be a resounding success!


Listen to the Episode HERE


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