So, you’re off to an awards ceremony. If it’s your first, you probably have all sorts of questions about what to expect. Whether it’s who will be there, what to wear, or the schedule of the night, we’ll cover everything here.

Who goes to business awards nights?

An awards night brings a whole host of attendees, each with a unique role and interest in the event. Individuals who may be attending the event include:

  • Nominees and winners being recognised for their achievements
  • Business leaders and executives representing their companies
  • Industry professionals looking to celebrate success and network
  • Investors and sponsors

Additionally, event organisers and hosts will be in attendance to ensure the night runs smoothly.

What to wear

Choosing the right outfit for an awards night is important for making a good impression whilst networking and for helping you feel comfortable and confident throughout the night. However, there are different guidelines and expectations depending on certain factors. For example, if you’re hosting the event or an award, you might want to choose something more formal than if you’re an attendee.

Usually, the invitation or event website will state a dress code for you to follow. Common dress codes include:

  • Business – usually for a daytime event, business refers to formal wear you would wear to work or other business events.
  • Cocktail – this includes suits and ties or dresses that come just above or below the knee.
  • Formal – this can include floor-length gowns or a complete suit and tie.
  • Black tie – usually the most formal dress code, this includes tuxedos, floor-length dresses or jumpsuits.

You can also accessorise your outfit with watches, cufflinks, elegant jewellery, and bags to enhance outfits whilst remaining professional.

Although being dressed appropriately is crucial, it’s also important to ensure you are comfortable as awards nights can be long! Ensure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes that aren’t too restricting.

Awards night schedule

Although every awards night is different in some way, most of the time, they follow a similar schedule. Awards nights typically consist of 4 key sections: 

Drinks reception

The evening usually begins with a drinks reception. This is a great opportunity for guests to socialise and network in a relaxed setting. This is often held around a bar area where attendees can enjoy a drink whilst mingling with other guests.


Following the drinks reception, guests are usually seated for a formal dinner which includes a three or four-course meal. Tables usually seat around 10 guests which can help encourage conversation and interaction.

Award presentations

Following the meal comes the highlight of the event. This segment celebrates the achievements and successes of individuals and organisations. The ceremony often includes speeches from the hosts and winners.

Post-show entertainment

After the awards have been presented, the celebrations continue with post-show activities. This could simply be a bar and disco to further enjoy the evening, or it could include live music, acts, or a casino to provide a fun and lively atmosphere. It’s a great way to relax, celebrate, and network in a more informal and entertaining setting.


Business awards events are highly beneficial for meeting new people. You’ll usually get a chance to network during the drinks reception, during the meal, and following the award presentations. It’s an opportunity to create new connections and expand your professional circle. Here are some tips for networking at an awards evening:

  • Plan ahead – before attending the event, familiarise yourself with the agenda and list of attendees if possible. Identify key people you’d like to meet.
  • Be genuine – when initiating conversations, make sure to focus on building genuine connections rather than immediately discussing business. Ask open-ended questions about a person’s career, interests, and experiences to create a strong foundation.
  • Utilise common ground – use the awards night and shared interest as a conversation starter and discuss industry trends, latest developments, and other insights.
  • Follow up – after making connections, make sure to follow up with the individual by expressing your pleasure at meeting them and referencing specific points from your conversations. This can reinforce the connection and lay the foundation for future collaborations.

Want to know more about awards nights?

At August Awards, we know a thing or two about awards nights. We help companies win the best awards in the world, so if you’re looking to win an award, get in touch with us now to see how we can help you.

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