Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies: How to Plan the Cutting

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies have for years been used by business entities to mark the official launch of new ventures, products, or facilities. Such an event can also be used to commemorate important anniversaries for enterprises. A ribbon-cutting ceremony not only builds public awareness for a business but is also an opportunity to invite other industry players and network with them.

However, to be successful, a ribbon-cutting event must be planned correctly. Proper planning ensures there is no last-minute rush, guests are well-attended to, and everything needed for the event is ready and in place by the time the ceremony begins.

What is done at a ribbon-cutting ceremony?

Business entities usually hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies to mark ‘new beginnings. This kind of event typically starts with entertainment, followed by speeches and ceremonial ribbon-cutting. In most cases, guests are usually entertained at the tail end of a ribbon-cutting ceremony as they indulge in food and refreshments.

For instance, during a grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony, the business owner, or one of the partners, will take the opportunity to deliver a short speech. This speech is usually to thank the stakeholders involved in bringing the venture to fruition.

Once the speeches are completed, the ceremonial ribbon is cut. The ribbon should be tied across the front entrance of the business facility. It’s tradition to use a giant pair of scissors to cut the ribbon. The ribbon should be cut by an influential person, such as the business proprietor or a representative from the local chamber of commerce.

What does ribbon cutting symbolize?

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies gained popularity in the late 1800s to officially launch new business ventures and infrastructure. In construction, ribbon cutting usually marks the completion of construction and the official opening of the building/facility. In business, ribbon-cutting events are a great way to introduce the public to new business ventures.

How to Plan a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for a Small Business

For large corporations, successfully holding events like ribbon-cutting ceremonies are usually a breeze due to their huge budgets and substantial resources. However, the same can’t be said for small businesses which have to make do with limited resources. Proper planning is, therefore, mandatory for small enterprises

Poor planning and last-minute decision-making can make your ribbon-cutting ceremony a failure. To properly plan a ribbon-cutting ceremony for your small business enterprise, follow the steps detailed below:

i. Pick a date and time

ii. Create and distribute invitation flyers

iii. Create a checklist

iv. Make a schedule

Pick a date and time

Determine the best date and time to hold the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Confirm with your special guests and dignitaries if they’ll be free on the said date and time. Also, ensure that there are no other major events taking place within your locality on the said date, as this could pull prospective attendees away from your ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Create and distribute invitation flyers

The invitation should include your business name, the purpose of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the event venue, contacts/phone number, and the date, day, and time of the event. If you have a catering team at the event, note that on the invitation flyers as well, since free refreshments and food are always a crowd-puller.

Once you’ve prepared the flyer copy, print out as many copies as you need and post them around town. You can also ask your colleagues or employees to help you distribute the invitation flyers to attract as large a crowd as possible during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Create a checklist

Determine what you need to make the ribbon-cutting ceremony a success and write down a checklist of the same. These may include equipment, supplies, and personnel, such as:

· Giant scissors and ribbon

· Speakers

· Event emcee

· Ribbon holder/cutter

· Entertainment

· Food

· Photographer

· Demo/guideline document copies

· Dignitary from the chamber of commerce

Make a schedule

Create a schedule for the ceremony so that time is utilized efficiently. Normally, a ribbon-cutting event should take no longer than 2 hours. Also, such occasions are best held early in the day, at around noon. This allows most guests to stick around long before they have to leave.

Schedule any speakers to present their speeches before the ceremonial ribbon cutting, as most attendees usually leave soon after. Meanwhile, if there are any special guests for the event, send them reminder emails one week before the ceremony. And one day before the event, confirm the attendance of the chamber dignitary.

What is the purpose of a ribbon?

The ribbon is a ceremonial piece. The act of cutting the ribbon is symbolic, just as cutting a cake at a wedding or birthday party is. In this case, cutting the ribbon symbolizes new beginnings, while building anticipation for the future of the business. The big ribbon and giant scissors are a form of modern public relations strategy that adds to the grandiosity of grand opening events to build brand awareness and increase publicity for the new business venture.

If you’re planning for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, you can contact your local chamber of commerce to avail a ribbon and giant scissors for the event. They always keep these ceremonial pieces around for such occasions. Alternatively, you can purchase the ribbon and scissors from party-supply stores.

Ribbon cutting alternatives

If you feel as though the traditional ribbon-cutting photo is to cliché, you may want to try alternative ideas for your grand opening event. Options include a fireworks ceremony, a bell-ringing ceremony, a light show, and a balloon/dove release. Whichever method you use, just make sure it sticks to the theme of the grand opening event.

Is it Ok to bring a gift to a ribbon-cutting ceremony?

If you’ve been invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony, you can bring gifts for the proprietors of the new business venture. The gift should showcase your appreciation for the owners and help boost their confidence about their new business undertakings.

A good example of a befitting gift for such an occasion is a custom plaque. On the plaque, ensure to engrain the owner’s name, the grand opening date, and a brief message to the owner.

Other appropriate gifts for a ribbon-cutting ceremony may include office plants (like jade), a customized office desk name plate, and a ceremonial giant pair of scissors. Remember, even a modest gift is acceptable, so long as it holds some meaning to the business owners.

Can I promote a ribbon-cutting ceremony?

You can promote a ribbon-cutting ceremony to gain a higher attendance or boost media coverage for the event. It could be that you’re opening a new business, a new branch of an existing franchise, or commemorating an important milestone/anniversary for your business.

There are several ways to promote such an event. You can frequently post about the ceremony on social media platforms as it draws nearer. It’s also a good idea to reach out to local media outlets and ask them to provide coverage for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Finally, don’t forget to ask your friends, family, colleagues, employees, or business associates to help you spread the word.


Is ribbon cutting the same as a grand opening?

A ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremonies are often used interchangeably, but they don’t exactly mean the same thing. A grand opening is a huge publicized event used to mark the official opening of a business venture.

On the other hand, a ribbon-cutting ceremony can be used to mark the launch of new products or the expansion of a business, not just official openings. Moreover, ribbon-cutting ceremonies can be both public and private.

Note: A ribbon-cutting ceremony can be held as part of a larger grand opening ceremony.


i. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): FDIC Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in Chicago Launches Nationwide Money Smart Program

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