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Preparing an Award Submission? Here’s what you need to know

Ready to be known as an “award-winning” event professional? Nothing is standing in your way! With the right investment of time and creativity, you can craft a winning award submission that leaves an impact on the judges reviewing it.

However, it’s not as simple as floating over an email that you want to be considered. Submitting is generally a lengthy process that involves careful planning and strategy in order to maximize your chance of becoming a finalist and, ultimately, winning the award.

Submissions are still being accepted for the 2022 ACE and Gala Awards, which will celebrate events from both 2020 and 2021! Click here to start on your submission today!

Here are four key strategies to keep yourself on the right track to award-winning success. 

Choose the worthwhile awards. 

Award submissions are time-consuming and often involve a fee, so there’s no need to waste your resources on an opportunity that won’t bring you the results you want. If you’re dedicated to growing your B2B reputation, it may not make sense to keep submitting for wedding of the year awards. Get clear on your “why” and choose only the awards that will help you reach your goals. Bragging rights are always nice, but you’ll get more out of your investment if you know an award will position you in front of a new market, attract better leads, or establish social proof.

Get an early start.

Time is of the essence when submitting to an award. Don’t wait around until the last minute to do all the things! In many cases, you’ll need to rely on others to support your efforts—images from a photographer, video from a videographer, testimonials from clients and colleagues, and so on. Give them plenty of time to deliver what you need. Timeliness starts with being one of the first to know about the call for submissions. Keep tabs on social media and email newsletters to see when a call for submissions is live, then get right to work on it.

Present a compelling story.

A great submission is one that tells a great story, complete with a beginning, middle, and end. Every interesting story involves a problem and, in order to win people over, you need to be the one who solves it. Consider how you can set yourself apart from other applicants and stand out as a one-of-a-kind story for any given award. It helps to build upon your submission with facts and figures that add credence to your case, including impressive statistics and glowing testimonials.

Double-check submission guidelines.

Even the best submission can get disqualified if it doesn’t adhere to the guidelines set by the host organization. If it lands on the judges’ table without necessary documents or falling short of the minimum word count, they may not give it another glance. For all the time and effort, you’ll invest in a submission, it’s vital to follow the rules and ensure you get equal consideration for your hard work. It may help to have a second set of eyes review your final submission, like a reliable colleague or partner who will be honest with you.

Will you win every award you submit for? Unfortunately, no—and don’t think otherwise. Even the industry's biggest names still must compete for a spot and, if their submission doesn’t measure up, they have to wait until the following year. 

With that said, trust me when I say that hearing a handful of ‘no’s’ is well worth it when you finally hear that big, resounding ‘YES!’ Stay on top of your dream awards and learn from every rejection so you can put out stronger submissions as you go. Be proactive, diligent, and resilient—those are the keys to earning the awards you deserve. 


Meghan Ely

President, OFD Consulting, Richmond, VA

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. 

Photo: Melody Smith Portraits