The layout for awards ceremony events may be very different from most other social events. Whether it's a banquet or something less elaborate, you'll likely have a seating area with tables for winners, nominees and guests, along with a stage or podium where the awards will be given out. Awards ceremony table centerpieces must not only tie in to the rest of your decor and the theme of your ceremony, but also must not detract from the presentation of the awards.
Depending on what type of award ceremony you are hosting, you may need to use a more conservative or subdued centerpiece. For a political award ceremony hosted by the city, one idea is to use a small bowl of roses intertwined with ribbons matching the award colors. Another idea is to use a bowl of lighted floating candles. Along with the candles, place fresh flower blossoms in the water to float, and color the water to match your other decor using food coloring. To make the centerpiece as relevant as possible to your awards ceremony, include something that ties the centerpiece to the rest of your decor such as personalized vases or the logo of the hosting organization. A high school choir awards banquet might use 3-D music notes in the centerpiece arrangement and include a sheet music scroll. To make the scroll, take a sheet of music used during the year, shrink it on a copier to about half the normal size, and then roll the paper. Starch the paper so that it holds its shape and prop it against the vase, or place it among the flowers if it's small enough.
Creating Light in the Dark
Awards ceremonies very often take place in semi-dark ballrooms or other large rooms to keep the focus of the audience on the well-lit stage where the awards are being presented. Using lighted centerpieces such as low candles or paper lanterns can add a muted, lighted glow to the room without detracting from the stage presentation. If you want to use a floral centerpiece, substitute fresh flowers for silk and wind a small strand of miniature battery-operated Christmas lights among the flower stems. Battery-operated paper lanterns or candlelit iron or glass lanterns when used as a centerpiece are decorative and they also create just enough light for your patrons to see their table without competing for brightness with the stage illumination. Before deciding on your final lighted centerpiece design, create a test centerpiece and try it out to make sure that the lights do not distract your guests or interfere with their view of the stage.
Making your centerpieces functional allows them to serve a dual purpose at your awards ceremony. For example, put seating cards near the center of each table along with a short candelabra and fresh flowers wound between the candles and the place cards, creating a decorative yet functional centerpiece. For each table of nominees or guests, use something specific to the company or nomination in the centerpiece along with the functional items. For a film-awards event, use small props or copies of props from the films in your centerpieces. Many award shows have sponsors who offer small gifts for the guests and nominees. If you have small gift bags from the award show sponsors for your guests, arrange those in the center of the table with the gifts packaged artfully in colorful wrappings or art glass containers.
Edible centerpieces, particularly dessert centerpieces, are an elegant addition to an awards show table display. Create a special dessert for your awards ceremony such as an individual chocolate-covered cheesecake sprinkled with gold sugar dust for an Oscars-type award show, something that reflects the award color or theme. Desserts such as cookies shaped to resemble the award or the symbol of the host organization can also be used. Use your dessert as a centerpiece by displaying them on risers or a dessert tower, or place them as individual portions in the center of the table with flowers, candles or even decorative rolls of film wound between the plates. For an awards ceremony for a youth sports team, create a dessert tower with alternating levels of cupcakes and cookies. Decorate the tops of the cupcakes with green frosting to resemble the playing field and make the cookies in the shape of sporting equipment such as footballs or baseballs. Top the display with a figurine depicting the sport or with one of the awards.
Ceremony Specific Centerpieces
Use images of past awards shows and winners in your centerpieces along with a copy of the award or trophy being presented. Another idea is to place elements from the awards that you are presenting in your centerpieces. For a film or video awards ceremony, use decorative plastic film in the centerpiece or use film reels and canisters for your display platter or tower. If the award that you are presenting is crystal, use all crystal centerpiece decorations such as candelabras and vases to subtly remind your audience of the award itself. For a political awards ceremony, incorporate the use of things that represent the political campaign such as flags, colors, or promotional items previously used including buttons, stickers, and small signs.