Make Your Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting Sharp

Make your next ribbon cutting sharp with some easy planning steps.

In Game Operations and Entertainment we are often tasked with creating events and producing non-game related elements, like Ceremonial Openings or Ground Breakings. In this quick reference article we look at some of the things to consider when staging one of these ribbon cuttings and how to make it look sharp in photos.

First Merit (35)

We start with some of the basics from eHow, they list eleven steps to plan a successful ribbon cutting ceremony:

  1. Check with the project’s key participants before you set a date for the grand opening. You will want them all to attend.
  2. Designate a master of ceremonies.
  3. Draw up a list of invitees.
  4. Compile a list of media organizations (newspapers, radio and television stations) that can publicize the event. Contact each group and fill out the necessary forms.
  5. Print posters or flyers and place them in prominent positions around town: in schools, grocery stores, post offices and other places with foot traffic. Target the audience that will be using the new facility.
  6. Design an invitation, which should include the name of the event, date and time, location, and name of the ribbon cutter and any other distinguished guests. Also include R.S.V.P. information.
  7. Set up a program of the event schedule: welcome and introductions, speeches, ribbon-cutting, recognition of contributors and closing.
  8. Mail out the invitations and keep track of the R.S.V.P. replies.
  9. Buy or rent a very large pair of scissors, typically about 3 feet long. Party rental stores often carry them.
  10. Purchase an appropriate ribbon for the ceremony. If you’re having more than one ribbon cutter, layer several ribbons and have the cutters hand off the scissors until all the ribbons are cut.
  11. Arrange for seating for everyone in attendance.

Obviously the keys to a good visual are the over-sized scissors and the ribbon, there are even ceremonial kits complete with ribbons, bows and stanchions if you want to roll this out in style.


Finally, when staging your cutting keep in mind the blocking for the photo should be planned in advance. Questions like who is cutting, where are they standing and who will fill in the area around them are all questions that should be considered before your event starts.

The actual cutting of the ribbon will likely be photographed for posterity and publicity, so make sure you consider the framing and what will be in your shot.

Preparing For A Successful Photo Shoot

  • Prepare the area. A high resolution photograph can capture a lot of details.
  • Eliminate the clutter. Keep everything in the frame clutter-free.
  • Check your lighting.
  • Stage it.
  • Take practice shots to confirm the lighting and camera settings.
  • Prepare your staff, know who is doing what and standing where.
  • Selecting the photographer and be sure they are ready to take the photo BEFORE the groups gather to cut the ribbon

It’s also smart to make the photo a diverse collection of everyone involved: Young, old, multiple ethnicities and both genders. Finally make sure the logo of the new space or project is clearly visible and part of the photo, especially if the photo may be cropped.

For example, it’s hard to know what this opening is all about.

Ribbon Cutting - SharpLogixx

While this one is much more clear and interesting:

Ribbon Cutting - YWCA pool

Needless to say, you get ONE shot at this.

As always, be careful who you let play with the scissors… and no running.

Good luck.

I also had a grand opening on the Mayor

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