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Special Events

2012 Gala Awards Entry Form (Word Doc)


Check one:

  1. Best Fair/Festival

    (Do not enter trade fairs/exhibitions here; please use Best Event Marketing Campaign, below.)

  2. Best Invitation

  3. Best Dining Table Design

  4. Best Off-Premise Catered Event

  5. Best Catered Event Produced by a Hotel Banquet Department

  6. Best Fundraising Event

    (Must include both gross and net money raised, in U.S. dollars.)

  7. Best Event Produced for a Nonprofit Organization

    (Client must be a registered nonprofit.)

    Best Wedding

    (Category refers to ceremony and reception only, not multiple-day events. Budgets must include RETAIL* value of food & beverage, venue, decor, floral, entertainment, lighting, invitations, labor and installation costs. Do not include bridal party clothing, rings or honeymoon.)

  8. Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest

  9. Budget $1,000 and Above
    Per Guest

  10. Best Multiple-Day

    Incentive Event
    (Applies to the program's theme events.)

  11. Best Multiple-Day Event Program for a Corporation or Association

    (Refers to a sales meeting, training meeting, etc. Enter incentive programs in Best Multiple-Day Incentive Event, above.)

  12. Best Event Staged in Multiple Locations

    (Refers to an event that repeats in various locations within a short time frame.)

  13. Best Floral Design

  14. Best Tent Installation

  15. Best Use of Lighting

  16. Best Achievement in Technical Support

    (To be entered by any company directly responsible for the structural shell of the event: rigging, AV, power distribution, etc.)

  17. Best Achievement in Logistics

    (Applies to overall challenges faced during preproduction.)

  18. Best Achievement in Event Rental Support

    (To be entered by a full-line event rental firm.)

  19. Best New, Innovative Event Product/Technology

    (Must document that the entry was used at an event for the first time between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012. You must now sell/rent the product/service to the industry; it cannot be solely for your use.)

    Best Event Entertainment Concept and Execution
    (Entertainment booked and produced to complement a theme. Must include RETAIL* entertainment budget breakdown. Do not enter entertainment available to the public on an ongoing basis. Judges will consider the performance alone unless you indicate that you wish technical aspects of the production — such as lighting, staging, special effects — to be considered as well; if so, these elements must be included in your budget.)

  20. Entertainment Budget Under $25,000

  21. Entertainment Budget $25,000 to $100,000

  22. Entertainment Budget Above $100,000

  23. Most Outstanding Spectacle

    (An event with more than 5,000 attendees.)

    Best Event Produced for a Private Individual(s) (Do not enter weddings here; enter in weddings categories, above. Include the RETAIL* value of invitation, decor, food & beverage, labor, entertainment, sound, lighting, venue, installation, planner's fee, transportation, etc.)

  24. Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest

  25. Budget $1,000 and Above
    Per Guest

  26. Best Event Marketing Campaign

    (Enter only events that serve as the actual advertising/marketing technique. Entries must demonstrate how the events served the client's marketing objectives.)

  27. Best Theatrical Entertainment Production

    (A choreographed stage show for an event. Do not enter entertainment available to the public on an ongoing basis.)

    Best Decor
    (Include RETAIL* design/decor/lighting budget breakdown.)

  28. Total Decor Budget Under $50,000

  29. Total Decor Budget $50,000 to $99,999

  30. Total Decor Budget $100,000 to $250,000

  31. Total Decor Budget Above $250,000

    Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association
    (Refers to a single event; enter multiple-day events in multiple-day event categories, above. Include wherever possible the RETAIL* budget breakdown for the entire event: invitation, decor, food & beverage, labor, entertainment, sound, lighting, venue, installation, planner's fee, transportation, etc. Use the budget template at special

  32. Overall Budget Under $100,000

  33. Overall Budget $100,000 to $249,999

  34. Overall Budget $250,000 to $500,000

  35. Overall Budget Above $500,000

*RETAIL refers to the amount that the client would normally be billed, including the planner's fee or percentage thereof based on services provided.



In no more than 1,000 words, please provide a detailed description — including the event date and number of guests — of the event or service. Tailor your description to the category you are entering. For example, if you are entering Best Achievement in Technical Support, don't submit the same description you wrote for Best Floral.


These Four Questions must be answered for each entry. In no more than 1,000 words for all Four Questions, please tell us:

  1. What were the objectives of this event, and how were they met?

  2. What noteworthy challenges arose, and how were they overcome?

  3. How was the event unique, distinctive and professionally executed? Give specific examples.

  4. How does the event demonstrate value for budget spent?

Break this section into four separate parts based on the Four Questions.


Every event you enter MUST be submitted in its own separate binder. All photos/written descriptions must be easily removable from the binder. Please put each photo into its own sleeve so the judges can review them easily.

On the front of the binder, please list: The name of your event, the date/dates of your event, guest count and event catetory. Do not put your company name!

Send your entry to:
Special Events Magazine
The Gala Awards
17383 Sunset Blvd., Suite A220
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA

Each entry must be in our offices by Sept. 14, 2012, in order to qualify for judging. Hand-delivered entries will be accepted until 4 p.m. on that date. (Late-delivery option: The fee is $125 if the entry is received by Sept. 21 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time.)


Be careful; failure to obey these rules means the judges will deduct points from or even disqualify your entry!

  • Did you include required elements in the proper order? (See Rule 1.)

  • Did you put the name and date(s) of your event, guest count and the category you are entering on the front of your binder?

  • Did you make sure your entry is anonymous? Staff will remove the entry form and referral letter with your name on it. But check to make sure you kept your name off pages, schedules, DVDs, etc. (See Rule 16.)

  • Did you include at least TWO quality color photographs or 300 dpi JPEG or TIFF images on a CD plus printouts? (Additional photos and photocopies are welcome and given weight by judges.) Put the photos into individual sleeves so that the judges can review them like pages in a book.

  • Did you include client contact information?

  • Does your budget include the planner's fee or markups? (You don't work for free, do you?)

  • Did you put your entry in a plain ring binder? Do not use spiral binders.


Entries are $99 Special late-delivery option: The fee is $125 if the entry is received by Sept. 21 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time.

Download this form and see tips on entering at


  1. Each entry must include — in this order — (1) a check and a photocopy of the check OR credit card form and a copy of the credit card form for each entry; (2) the official entry form; and (3) the referral letter. Paper-clip these items to the first page inside your binder so they can be removed easily. Do not insert these pages inside the binder rings. Put inside the binder rings: (4) a 100-word synopsis of the event or service (to be used as a description at the Gala Awards if you are a nominee); (5) the Description (1,000 words maximum) of the event; (6) answers to the Four Questions (1,000 words maximum for all four); (7) at least two or more photos or 300 dpi JPEG or TIFF images (at least 3” by 5”) on CD plus printouts; (8) the Budget — if required — using the Gala Awards budget template.

  2. The referral letter should be from the client or vendor who contracted you or your company. It must state that you met the requirements of the job and that the client or vendor was pleased with the work done. If you are an in-house planner, your supervisor can write the referral letter.

  3. All budgets submitted must be in U.S. dollars and retail (the amount the client would normally be billed, including planner's fee or percentage thereof). Budgets must include the retail value of all items used, including donations and inventory. Use the budget template at

  4. In all categories, DVDs may be may be submitted in addition to the required photos; please use Region 1 format. DVDs are MANDATORY if you are entering Best Event Entertainment Concept and Execution, and Best Theatrical Entertainment Production. All DVDs submitted must be edited to run a maximum of 10 minutes. DVDs must be labeled with the event name — do NOT include your company name!

  5. To qualify for the 2012 Gala Awards, the event must have taken place between Sept. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012. Events that take place after Aug. 31, 2012, can be submitted for the 2013 Gala Awards.

  6. A company or individual may enter an event in more than one category. A separate binder, photos, entry form, fee and description that fits the category must be submitted with each entry.

  7. Entries must be submitted in plain ring notebooks or binders, approximately 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide. PHOTOS, DVDs and CDs MUST BE SECURED IN SLEEVES. Do not simply tuck them into binder pockets; they fall out!

  8. The categories entered must correspond directly with the work that was done. For example, if you enter Best Floral Design, you must be the designer, not the contractor. A joint entry is possible, but Special Events magazine reserves the right to verify responsibility.

  9. Binders will not be returned. All material submitted to Special Events magazine becomes the property of the magazine — no exceptions.

  10. Special Events magazine reserves the right to change the category of an entry.

  11. The nominees in each category will be notified by Nov. 23, 2012.

  12. Awards will be presented at The Special Event 2013 in Chicago. Transportation to and from The Special Event and admission to the awards ceremony are the sole responsibility of the contest nominees.

  13. In October, members of the Special Events magazine Advisory Board will review all entries using the Four Questions as criteria to select nominees — usually three — in each category. Members of the board will review the nominees to select the winner in each category. All decisions are final.

  14. Each entry is $99 if received by Sept. 14. (Late-delivery option: The fee is $125 if the entry is received by Sept. 21 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time.) Checks may be made payable to Special Events magazine. Please enclose a separate check for each entry. To pay by credit card, please download a credit-card form from our website,

  15. INELIGIBLE EVENTS: Industry events based primarily on donations — e.g., events at The Special Event, ISES chapter events, etc. — are not eligible. Events must have been created for a paying client or as part of an in-house event professional's salaried job.

  16. ANONYMITY: To ensure fairness, make sure your name/company name does not appear in the bound pages. (Staff will remove the entry forms, payment forms and referral letters from binders.)

  17. QUESTIONS? Send an e-mail to [email protected].

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