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Gala_2019_Imprint_Win.jpg Photo by Special Events magazine
The team from Imprint Group accepts its 2019 Gala Award in January at The Special Event in San Diego.

Gala Awards 2020 Competition Opens

Get ready to show your best event work to the world: The Special Events Gala Awards 2020 competition is now open.

If a beautiful Gala Award trophy is missing from your life, now is the time to fix that issue: The 2020 Special Events Gala Awards competition is open. Now in its 34th year, the Gala Award honors the finest work in special events worldwide.

And in more good news: This year, you can enter the Catersource 2020 ACE Awards in the same online portal as the Gala Awards. Catersource and The Special Event will co-locate in 2020, March 9-12 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Both the Gala and ACE Awards will be presented on March 12 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

See all the 2020 Gala Awards categories here.

Here are answers for all your questions:

1. What events are eligible?
This year's competition is open to events that have taken place between Sept. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019. Events that place after Sept. 30 may be entered in the 2021 competition.

2. When are Gala entries due?
The regular deadline is Oct. 25 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time; the fee is $99. The special "late bird" deadline is Nov. 1 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time; the fee is $160. Joint entrants—that is, one entry credited to two companies—are $200; two trophies will be presented.

3. Can an event company from anywhere in the world enter the Gala Awards?
Yes! We are honored to receive entries from Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, etc. You do not need to belong to any association to enter the Gala Awards.

4. I am entering the category “Best Achievement in Logistics.” Do I need to include a budget?
No, you do not. Only categories with a dollar figure in the title need to include a budget. So, if you are entering “Best Achievement in Logistics,” "Best Venue," etc., you do not need to include a budget. But if you enter "Best Wedding: Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest," you do need to include a budget.

If you do need to include a budget, be sure the use the Gala Budget Template so that you include all the line items the judges are looking for. (To get a copy of the template, click here.) The judges realize that not all entries will require each line in the template, but try to follow the template as closely as you can.

5. How are you accepting entries this year?
All entries are entered online.

Your descriptions, photos and payment are all uploaded here.

6. As a Gala Award entrant, should I make sure to keep my company’s name out of the descriptions in the entry?
Yes! To ensure fairness, Gala Awards are anonymous. Be sure to double-check your documents, photos and video links—they should not include your company name. But it’s fine if your name is on the Referral Letter—the judges do not see this.

7. But what about my client's name—is it OK to have that name in the entry? (My client's name appears in decor, on signage, on the invitation, etc.)
Yes, it is OK if your client's name appears in the entry.

8. But I am an in-house event professional--I created the event for my own company. Is it OK that my company's name appears in the entry?
Yes, that's fine—the purpose of many special events is to emphasize a brand. And the judges don't know if the in-house event professional or an outsider creates the event. Just remember to avoid referring to yourself as an employee of the "client" company.

9. There is no way my client will give me a referral letter. Does this mean I cannot enter?
No, you still can! The entry portal has places for you to list your client's name and contact information. As long as this is completely filled out, you do not need a Referral Letter too.

10. How do I pay for my Gala entries?
All payments—credit card only—are made online here.

11. When do I found out if I am nominated?
The nominees in each category will be notified by Dec. 20, 2019.

12. When are the Gala Awards presented?
The awards will be presented on March 12, 2020, at The Special Event show in Las Vegas. Winners need not be present.

13. Help, I still have questions! Whom can I contact for help?
You are welcome to email questions here.

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