A ribbon cutting is a formal ceremony that celebrates a major milestone for a business or organization. A well-organized ribbon cutting event is not only an opportunity to publicize and advertise your company, it is a chance to mingle with coworkers, peers and community members and thank them for their contributions toward making your establishment a success. As with any formal event, careful planning and attention to etiquette will help to make your ribbon cutting a success.

Timing the Ribbon Cutting

Schedule the ribbon cutting within 12 months of your organization’s startup, move or expansion; after all, you want to celebrate the new digs while they are still new. Choose a date at least three weeks from today's date so that you can send invitations well in advance in order to get more attendees. For maximum attendance, hold a catered event at lunchtime or shortly after your company closes in the afternoon.

Ground Breaking Ceremony Invitation Letter

Send invitations at least two weeks in advance. A ground breaking ceremony invitation letter should include the date, location and time of the ceremony, as well as a map and travel directions to your new location, if necessary. Example text may read:

You're invited to help us celebrate the opening of Max's Textiles' new location on January 23, at 582 Any Street, Whatacity, TX 99999. The ribbon cutting will be held promptly at 1 P.M. Refreshments and lunch will be served after the ceremony. Thank you for you contributions to our success.

Invited guests to the event may include employees and their families, customers, clients, local government officials, members of the local media and anyone with whom you do business. Mail the invitations first class; delivery time may be faster than bulk rate.

Speakers and Hosts

You may choose to have a Master of Ceremonies run the event to keep the event moving according to your schedule. Schedule welcoming remarks, a synopsis of your organization’s accomplishments by the head officer or the event host, and an introduction of board members, advisers or other key personnel. You may choose to have one or two local dignitaries speak before cutting the ribbon if they agree to do so.

Cutting the Ribbon

The mechanics of the ribbon cutting itself vary depending upon how many people have been selected to do the honors. If there is only one person, he should cut the ribbon at a prearranged signal from a speaker.

Multiple people with scissors can cut one ribbon in several spots. In these cases, they must work together to cut one ribbon with a single pair of oversized scissors or cut their own individual ribbons. For added emphasis, a speaker or the cutter himself can say something like, “I now declare the Smithdale Library open for business” as the ribbon is officially cut.