Skip navigation
Mark Wells Photo by Special Events magazine
Mark Wells (at lectern, left) and the team from Hello Destination Management share the stage after their big win in 2018.

Special Events Gala Awards 2019 Competition Opens June 1

If a Gala Award trophy is what you need, good news--the 2019 competition opens June 1.

If a beautiful Gala Award trophy is missing from your life, now is the time to fix that problem. The 2019 Special Events Gala Awards competition opens tomorrow, June 1. Now in its 33nd year, the Gala Award honors the finest work in special events worldwide.

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, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018. Events that place after Aug. 31 may be entered in the 2020 competition.

2. When are Gala entries due?
The regular deadline is Sept. 14 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time; the fee is $99. The special "late bird" deadline is Sept. 21 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.

4. I am entering the category “Best Achievement in Logistics.” Do I need to include a budget?
No! Only categories with a dollar figure in the title need to include a budget. So, if you are entering "Best Floral Design," 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.

The entry process consists of two parts:

(1) An Entry Form that is emailed to [email protected]; see the link below to download the form.

(2)  Your explanations, photos and payment, which are 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 Form 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 at

You can make one payment for multiple entries.

11. When do I found out if I am nominated?
The nominees in each category will be notified by Nov. 23, 2018.

12. When are the Gala Awards presented?
They will be given to winners on Jan. 10, 2019, at The Special Event show in San Diego. Winners need not be present.

13. Is there anything new this year?
Yes! Our new category is Best Event Venue. Here is the place for you to brag about your great event venue, telling the world what special features you offer for special events. Be sure to use specific events as examples.

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

Need an entry form? Just click the DOWNLOAD button below.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.