Ribbon Cutting Invitation

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is a momentous way to celebrate a new beginning, but it’s not the kind of event most of us plan regularly. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies celebrate something new, exciting, bold, or otherwise worthwhile. Whether you’re opening a new business or breaking ground on a project, here’s how to plan a ribbon-cutting ceremony that makes a lasting impression.

11 Steps to Plan a Successful Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

People attending a ribbon cutting ceremony

Ribbon-cutting events typically celebrate a big moment for a business, organization, or community. A new business opening, the launch of an event or product, a groundbreaking ceremony for a new community center, or a second location for a growing small business are all ideal moments for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Here are the basics to ensure a successful event.

1. Choose the Date and Time

Wild Grand Invitation

Design: Tennie & Co

Invitation inspiration: Wild Grand Invitation

When event planning, start at least a month or two before the big day. The timing of your ribbon-cutting ceremony will depend on the purpose of your special event. For instance, if you’re opening a new business, make sure you account for any potential project delays. On the other hand, if you’re breaking ground at a site, you might have more flexibility since a groundbreaking ceremony signals a new beginning, not a finished product.

Once you have a date and time set, focus on who you’ll be inviting. If you already know there are specific partners, investors, or other officials who should be at your ceremony, check in with them early to see if they’re available on your potential dates.

2. Confirm the Venue

In most cases, the venue is already selected — it’s the new business, building, or site that you’re celebrating. However, if you’re planning an offsite ribbon cutting — like celebrating the future site of a community garden at a local farm-to-table restaurant — you’ll want to be very clear about location when talking to potential guests or the press. 

If you have multiple locations or franchises, or there’s no building to direct people to yet, make sure your venue address and instructions are as clear as possible.

3. Create Your VIP Guest List

Grand opening ceremonies are often open to the public — especially if you’re opening a new retail or service-based location. There’s still a guest list of VIPs though, and these are the guests you want to show your business off to.

Many business owners or event planners get in touch with the local Chamber of Commerce to ask for a Chamber member to attend the event. There may be other local figures or partners that you invite too — like any notable sponsors, celebrity guests, or media outlets.

4. Send Out Invitations

Corner Ribbon Invitation

Design: Claudia Owen

Invitation inspiration: Corner Ribbon Invitation

Once you’ve narrowed down your guest list, it’s time to start letting everyone know about the big event. Whether you’re hosting a luxurious opening ceremony for VIP guests or a more relaxed event to welcome the neighborhood, Greenvelope offers a variety of eye-catching grand opening invitations.

Choose from business event invitations that range from modern to traditional. You can also select a design with the option of adding a photo of your business team or storefront. Customize any template by changing the layout, wording, and colors to make it feel completely bespoke.

5. Prepare Flyers or Posters

If you’re inviting members of the public to attend your opening ceremony, now’s the time to start advertising your ribbon-cutting moment.

Design flyers, posters, and social media graphics to promote your upcoming grand opening. Hand them out in suitable locations, ask other businesses to put one in their window, and run digital ads to promote your special event.

6. Decide Who’ll Cut the Ribbon

Entrepreneur cutting a ribbon

Before you can stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony, you first need to decide who will have the honor of cutting the ribbon and announcing the opening of the space, the start of the event, or the first dig into the ground.

Often the ribbon cutter will be someone from the organization, like a founder or the CEO. Other popular options include a local dignitary, a notable community member, or someone who’s made a big impact on you — like a charity leader, local author, esteemed spokesperson, or a family member.

7. Plan the Order of Events

Your grand opening ceremony is more than a giant ribbon-cutting moment. While cutting a ribbon can be a fun and impressive gesture, there’s so much more to creating a memorable experience for everyone involved.

You could invite a local singer or band to perform, arrange for someone to make a speech or a toast, or organize a mix of product demos, displays, and interactive experiences for your guests. You’ll also want to organize any refreshments or appetizers and decide how and when they’re served. Match your plans and activities to your audience, goal, and location.

8. Find a Ceremonial Ribbon and Giant Scissors

Person cutting a ribbon using a giant pair of scissors

For your grand opening ceremony, you’re likely to want a grand opening ribbon and a pair of large ceremonial scissors — and perhaps a matching sash to wear as you make the big cut. You can order customized versions of these items online while many Chambers of Commerce provide these accessories free of charge for members.

9. …Or Consider an Alternative

Ribbon cutting: Glitter Brushstrokes Invitation

Design: Paper Raven Co.

Invitation inspiration: Glitter Brushstrokes Invitation

While it’s traditional to have a wide ribbon to cut with a pair of big scissors, feel free to do it your way. It can be fun to do something different and add a touch of your own style or brand personality to the proceedings.

Swap a red ribbon or royal blue satin ribbon for one that matches your brand colors, or switch out the oversized scissors for something more practical. You could even ditch the scissors completely and be inspired by a theme — like using a replica sword for an anime or game store, or a pair of garden shears for a garden store.

10. Style Your Event Space

Decorations can go a long way in setting the tone for your event. Let the occasion guide your styling choices and inspire your creativity. Remember that more doesn’t always mean more. 

You can keep things simple by adding fresh (or faux) greenery or flowers to the space. Or you could invest in a few pieces of bold artwork, a giant balloon arch, or a branded photo booth where guests can capture memories — and ideally, further promote the reason for the celebration.

11. Offer a Gift for Guests

Ribbon cutting: Don't Miss This Invitation

Design: Owl and Toad

Invitation inspiration: Don’t Miss This Invitation

An opening ceremony is the perfect time to introduce people to your product, service, or brand. Use this opportunity to showcase a tempting promotional offer, provide free samples, or create goodie bags that your guests can take with them.

You don’t have to spend a lot to leave a memorable mark on your ribbon-cutting ceremony guests. A business card, thank you note, and a small sample or an enticing discount are often enough to stay in someone’s mind.

Cut the Ribbon and Have a Great Time!

Whether you’re opening a new restaurant or celebrating the start of a milestone for your charity, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is a wonderful way to spark interest, raise awareness, and welcome people to participate.

Use these tips to help you plan a grand opening ceremony or any other type of ribbon-cutting event that impresses guests. When you’re ready to invite folks, turn to Greenvelope’s digital invitations to get the word out fast and track RSVPs like a pro.