The Beginner's Guide to the Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (2023)

A lot of people outside of the chamber may lack a detailed understanding of what exactly a chamber does. Many people may even know them as the “organization with the giant scissors.” While the chamber of commerce ribbon cutting ceremony may not be what they once were, where the entire town turned out to welcome a new business, they are still a big part of the public presence of the chamber.

The Beginner's Guide to the Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (1)

Hosting successful ribbon cuttings is a beneficial public relations display that shows how the chamber brings attention to businesses in your community. It makes people feel good and a part of something bigger than they are. It’s a public induction ceremony that provides a lot of positive press for everyone if you do a good job on it.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • What a ribbon cutting ceremony is
  • How to select the best day for a ribbon cutting based on the experience of other chamber pros
  • Ways to get more people to attend ribbon cuttings
  • Whatribbon tying events are and how they can bring your community together
  • Creative ideas for ribbon cuttings

Keep reading!

NOTE:Does Your Chamber Have An Ambassador’s Program?

(Video) What is a Ribbon Cutting?

What’s a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?

Ribbon cuttings are traditionally performed for business openings but you can use a big pair of scissors to cut a ribbon for any big milestone including:

    • opening a new brand, location, or franchise
    • a business anniversary
    • a millionth customer designation (or some other number)
    • moving into a new building
    • reopening a business under new management
    • reopening after a devastating event (like a fire)
    • or any reason the business feels they need to present themselves to the community.

It’s a time for celebration and while you don’t want a business hosting one every week, month, or even year, you may want to think long and hard before turning away a member who wants to host one.

The Beginner's Guide to the Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (2)

When Should You Host a Ribbon Cutting?

Chamber ribbon cuttings are a lot of fun but not if you can’t draw a crowd. For the uninitiated, a Saturday may seem like the ideal time to host the festive event because no one has to leave work to attend. But what does that mean for your mayor or chamber ambassadors? It means a lot of no-shows, which isn’t good for anyone. So how do you help a business see the beauty in a weekday event?

Chamber Ribbon Cutting: the Weekday Edition

The point of ribbon cuttings, outside of being able to have fun with giant scissors, is to draw a crowd. That’s why many business people prefer the weekends. But while the weekends may bring in shoppers if you have the right kind of business, you won’t get leaders in the business community or probably your ambassadors. They have other plans. But how do you convince businesses that you’re right about the weekday spot?

  1. Explain while they may have potential customers show up, the town business people won’t be there. So from a management side, the cutting will look very sparse. This doesn’t make a good showing to people who want to see business support.
  2. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. They can host a chamber-led ribbon cutting during the week with the mayor and other key people in the business community and then host a grand opening celebration for customers on the weekend. This way everyone is happy.
  3. You can set an official chamber ribbon cutting day and don’t deviate from it. Matt Pfeifer shared with the Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook that his chamber sets aside Thursdays for ribbon cuttings. If a business wants a chamber ribbon cutting, it’s done on a Thursday.

Finally, if the business insists upon a ribbon cutting ceremony on the weekend then it should be levied as a community event. Explain that attendance might be low but with marketing, they can increase the turnout. Set expectations that most businesspeople won’t be able to attend a weekend event.

Now that you’ve given some thought as to the best time to host them, let’s talk about how to get more people there.

(Video) New City Council Chamber Ribbon Cutting!

The Beginner's Guide to the Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (3)

How Do You Get More Ribbon-Cutting Attendees?

How do you get more attendees at your ribbon cuttings? Should board members be required to attend? Here’s what a few chamber pros had to say on the matter.

Advertise Like the Event Depends on It

East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce admits they, “email invitations to members and post on Facebook and Twitter once a week (for about 3 weeks) leading up to the ribbon cutting. We have a core group of 5-10 chamber members, including some board folks, who enjoy attending these events. (Make sure to get photos of them at the event and post on FB.) I do not expect to fill the room with chamber members.”

Create a Committee

The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce created a membership committee. It is incumbent on members of the committee and Ambassadors to attend ribbon cuttings.

Schedule Them

Some chambers have slotted spots for ribbon cuttings so that members always know when they are. These spots are consistent and happen 2-4 times a week depending on the chamber.

Ask “Is It Necessary?”

Another way of looking at the problem is asking whether your board should be in attendance. Is that one of their job duties? Several chambers didn’t think so. The board’s job is first and foremost governance, not event attendance. The Fredericton Chamber admits they no longer perform ribbon cuttings unless it is a very special occasion.

(Video) WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Sometimes getting more attendees at your ribbon-cutting event is as easy as changing up the format. How about making the switch to ribbon tying?

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Introduce Ribbon Tying Events to Your Community

This idea can be used as a new form of ribboncuttingceremony or a standalone event. Traditionally, a ribbon-cutting ceremony designated a building as open for business. In a ribbon-tying event, the business organization is celebrated forbeing seen as bringing the community together.

There are many ways you can incorporate them in your chamber. Here are a few examples from chamber pros:

Examples of Chambers That Have Used Ribbon-Tying Events

In 2011, the Charlotte (Michigan) Chamber of Commerce used this idea when the community opened AL!VE, “an experience-based destination health park.” The project was described by Bryan Myrkle, then president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, “AL!VE is going to serve our citizens well and bring new people into the area.”

But they aren’t the only ones to adopt ribbon-tying events.

The Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce has a program designed around ribbon-tyings. They perform them at no cost to the member (or non-member). In their PDF informational sheet, they explain “A ribbon tying symbolizes the business being united or ‘tied together’ with the resources of the Chamber of Commerce, the Village Government and the community. A ribbon tying is an event hosted by a business for the purpose of connecting with your customers, your vendors, local business people you know, your friends, your family and members of the public who you invite.”

(Video) Stroke Scan Plus Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Katy Chamber of Commerce 2016

The New Paltz Chamber in New York hosted one for the grand opening of the Riverside Bank. They did so to “demonstrate the connection of this bank to our community.”

If you decide to do them at your chamber, you will need to figure out whether it replaces your ribbon-cutting ceremonies or serves as another type of event altogether.

Maybe you’re not ready to completely change the concept of ribbon cuttings but you still want to shake things up a bit. Why not forgo the giant scissors for a new way to “cut” the ribbon?

Personalized Alternatives for Chamber Ribbon Cutting Scissors

While you could use any old sharp item out there, using something that reflects the business is a way to get everyone’s attention. These ideas work best when the businesses know about them or perhaps even inquired about their options. Using any of these without telling them could mean angering the traditionalists so always check first.

  1. A torch. When Wichita Falls opened its new career center the welding instructor “cut” through the ribbon with his blowtorch.
  2. Chain and bolt cutters were perfect for a construction company opening in Hilliard.
  3. Saber. This one was used for a wine store and later opened a bottle of champagne at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce.
  4. Chainsaw. A chainsaw cut through a 2×4 to mark the opening of a construction company.
  5. Jaws of life on a fire hose. When Firehouse Subs opened they had a unique way of celebrating by using the jaws of life to cut through a fire hose. Speaking of fire hoses…
  6. Firehose. No one said you had to cut. The Dalles Areas Chamber unscrewed a fire hose at the new firehouse instead of cutting a ribbon.

Or how about a rib cutting? When Famous Dave’s held their ribbon cutting, they cut a slab of ribs instead of a ribbon. Now, that’s my kind of cutting.

Tying in the type of business with the instrument used is a great way to get attention, not to mention plenty of social media shares.

(Video) Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce- Fast Signs Ribbon Cutting Ceremony!

Are you seeing a lot of success with your chamber ribbon cutting ceremony? If you’ve tried a few creative ideas and they’re still poorly attended, you’ll need to decide if it’s still a service that benefits your community. If not, don’t be afraid to phase it out. However, know that ribbon cuttings are an excellent way to let everyone see the chamber and its new members in a good light.

By: Christina R. Green

Related Chamber Articles


What do you say at a ribbon cutting ceremony? ›


Welcome to ________! Today we celebrate the grand opening of our _______ business. We are so thankful to so many of you, who have been with us every step of the way, so that this day would finally come. My name is __________, and I am the owner of ___________.

How do you prepare for a ribbon cutting ceremony? ›

Refreshments can be simple or elaborate. For morning events, coffee, juice, fruit, and pastries are ideal. Keep in mind that at luncheon functions you will have to serve some kind of sandwich or buffet meal. During late afternoon or early evening events, light hors d'oeuvres or finger food are appropriate.

Who should cut the ribbon at a ribbon cutting ceremony? ›

m.or 11:00 a.m. start time with the entire ceremony lasting about 10 minutes followed by the serving of light refreshments. Determine who will cut the ribbon. The owners or top executives most frequently do the honors, but each business is different and can pick whomever they like.

What does a ribbon cutting ceremony symbolize? ›

Similar to slicing a wedding cake, throwing a cap and mortar in the air upon graduation, or removing a ribbon from a nicely packaged gift, the act of cutting a ribbon into two pieces symbolizes the idea of new beginnings and builds anticipation with the promise of an exciting future.

Who should be invited to a ribbon cutting? ›

The Guest List is Key: Make your list and check it twice! Be sure to invite your employees, key customers/potential customers, business partners, government and business officials, media/bloggers, neighboring businesses (especially those who will serve as great referral sources) and of course your friends and family.

How do you start a welcome speech? ›

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, Thank you to each and every one of you for being here with us today. We are very pleased to be able to welcome those of you that have been with us for a long time now as well as those who are new to the (group/community/association etc.)

How long does a ribbon cutting take? ›

It's up to the business to invite friends, family, customers, etc. WHAT DOES THE CHAMBER BRING TO THE CEREMONY? HOW LONG DO RIBBON CUTTINGS LAST? We typically plan for one hour including guest arrival and the ceremony.

Do you take a gift to a ribbon cutting? ›

When organizing a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of a business or organization, consider giving the owners a ribbon-cutting gift. Your gift should reflect your appreciation for the owners and help them feel confident about their new venture. Be creative and present the gifts at the ceremony.

How wide should ribbon be for a ribbon cutting ceremony? ›

Red Printed Grand Opening Ribbon is perfect for a classic ribbon cutting. The ribbon measures 4 inches in width (with a 6 inch option available as well), while the length can be 12 yards or 25 yards, depending on your needs.

What side of the ribbon Do you curl? ›

If you want to curl ribbon, cut a 12-inch piece of curling ribbon and hold it so the dull side faces downward and the shiny side is facing up. Hold one end of the ribbon tightly between your forefinger and thumb.

Should I do the ribbon cutting ceremony? ›

Done properly, a ribbon-cutting ceremony is excellent for PR because it serves as a way to advertise and publicize your brand. Not only that, but it involves the entire community, giving you a chance to mingle with other local business owners.

What does a black folded ribbon mean? ›

A black ribbon is a symbol of remembrance or mourning.

What is the symbolism of ribbons? ›

The ribbon is a symbol of awareness and support. It was originally used in the early mid-1900s in a United States military marching song.

How do you invite someone to ribbon cutting? ›

Provide Basic Information. Include the time, date and location of the ribbon-cutting event on the invitation. If the event will include speakers or introductions, provide a brief agenda that outlines the timetable for the ceremony.

When should you do a grand opening? ›

It may seem like a good idea to host the grand opening on a Saturday or Sunday, but most people plan for recreation during the weekend. A Tuesday or Wednesday might be better. The time of day is also important. If you would like to make it a morning event, avoid hosting it much earlier than 8:00 am.

What is a good starting speech? ›

Hello, everyone. Thank you for having me. My name is ______ _______, and I am going to be speaking to you today about _______. To begin, _______ is important because…”

How do I start my speaker introduction? ›

Tips for Introducing a Guest Speaker
  1. Remind the audience why the topic is important to them.
  2. Establish the speaker's qualifications to speak on the topic.
  3. Get the presentation off on a high note by establishing an up-beat tone.
  4. Make the speaker feel especially welcome.

Can you cut ribbon in half? ›

Using sharp scissors, cut from one side of the ribbon to the other, at an approximately 45 degree angle. One quick snip is best; going slowly and opening and closing the scissors increases the likelihood of a crooked line.

How do you cut a ribbon without it fraying? ›

Fabric ribbons tend to fray and separate at the edges, but you can keep your ribbon from fraying by cutting it at a diagonal and applying nail polish or glue at the edges. Snip the edge of your ribbon at a 45-degree angle or cut it in an inverted “v” shape, which will help with the fraying.

How many yards of ribbon do I need for a present? ›

As a rule, try to buy ribbon that is at least 10 yards. If you can find wire ribbon spools that are 25 yards, this will go a long way when you're wrapping.

Who do you invite to a grand opening? ›

If you've closed your business to take care of some much-needed improvements, host a grand opening afterwards to welcome people back. Invite your closest friends, family members, and VIP clients and customers to join you in the celebration.

Is a ribbon cutting a grand opening? ›

A ribbon cutting is the ceremonial opening of a brand-new or newly-renovated/relocated business that has opened within the last six months.

What color should a grand opening be? ›

For corporate events and ceremonies that celebrate accomplishments or landmarks such as sales goals, new distributors, a grand opening, or a groundbreaking where there will be speakers, items such as ribbons, engraved gavels, shovels, and desktop keepsakes are usually found in brown finishes.

How many yards is a ribbon roll? ›

Each roll has 25 yards (22.9 meters/ 75 feet) of ribbon, and is 1 inch wide.

How do you keep ribbon from fraying when washed? ›

If you plan to wash the ribbon frequently, you're going to want to use an anti-fray product. (If you can't get an anti-fray liquid, clear craft glue will work, too.) Again, start with some good, sharp sewing scissors and make your cut at a 45° angle or cut it in an inverted v-shape.

What are curly ribbons called? ›

Also called balloon string.

Can you use a curling iron on ribbon? ›

The curling iron method is best suited for creating looser, larger curls. Using the curling iron, clamp your fabric ribbon on one end then wrap the ribbon around the curling iron as shown in the picture below. Turn on your curling iron and allow the ribbon to heat.

Do you cut along or across the grain? ›

Almost every recipe asks you to "cut steak across the grain" when preparing or serving. The grain of the steak is referring to the direction the muscle fibers run within the piece of meat. Cutting against the grain means to cut through the fibers and make them shorter.

Why is red ribbon used for opening ceremony? ›

Red ribbon was used because the color symbolized a world full of hatred, ignorance, and other negative emotions that limit those that live in it. The idea behind this ribbon cutting was that the wisdom from the Buddhist's pure, bright minds would eventually cut off all negativities in the world.

What does an upside down pink ribbon mean? ›

“Of all the pink ribbon pins made over the last several years, only one manages to convey the dual reality that breast cancer patients really face, and it is that of the Ottawa-based Breast Cancer Action group, that uses an upside-down pink ribbon, in the shape of a teardrop, the pink lined with black.”

What is a GREY ribbon for? ›

Diabetes Awareness

Blue Diabetes Circle Awareness. The awareness ribbon color for Diabetes was gray, however more commonly diabetes is now symbolized by the blue circle, as designated by the International Diabetes Federation.

What does a black bow on a door mean? ›

This symbol of mourning may also be placed on the front of doors, on a tree or mailbox as a sign of remembrance, commemoration or grief. Black bows are also appropriate to display on national holidays like Memorial Day and Patriots Day.

What ribbon colors mean? ›

RedAIDS/HIV, alcohol & substance abuse, vasculitis, love, heart, disease
OrangeHunger, leukemia, animal protection awareness, self-injury awareness, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, kidney cancer
YellowSupport our troops, suicide prevention, genocide awareness, sarcoma and bone cancer awareness
17 more rows

What do ribbons represent in the Bible? ›

According to Phillips, the red ribbons “remind us of the Israelites in the Bible who painted their door posts with lambs' blood as an act of faith that the plagues of Egypt would pass over them” which is found in the book of Exodus.

Do you bring a gift to a ribbon cutting ceremony? ›

When organizing a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of a business or organization, consider giving the owners a ribbon-cutting gift. Your gift should reflect your appreciation for the owners and help them feel confident about their new venture. Be creative and present the gifts at the ceremony.

What should you not give at a wedding? ›

Unless the couple has specifically told you otherwise, you'll want to avoid these 18 bad wedding gifts.
  • Off-registry linens. Credit: Stone & Beam. ...
  • Regifted items. ...
  • A half-gift… ...
  • Or an item for half the couple. ...
  • Artwork and other home decor. ...
  • Any kind of baby-related items. ...
  • Gag gifts. ...
  • Self-help or relationship books.
17 Mar 2021

What do you give for opening? ›

The following items make appropriate gifts for a grand opening:
  • Insulated tote cooler.
  • Ceramic mug.
  • Leather padfolio.
  • Convertible briefcase.
  • Eco-friendly laptop sleeve.
14 Jun 2022

Do you give a gift if someone elopes? ›

It's a known expectation that you come bearing a gift if you attend a wedding in person. But when it comes to elopements, gifts are not expected, even if it's a destination ceremony. Therefore, it's up to you to set the rules!

What should you hand in a grand opening? ›

You can give free gifts or goodie bags to people who attend your grand opening. You could put together small items from other local businesses, branded promotional products or, better yet, free samples of your own products. Be sure to include some reminder of your brand or event—be it a business card or printed logo.


1. Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Clean Juice Heathrow
(Seminole County Chamber)
2. Ribbon Cutting Invitation- Ahwatukee Chamber
(RC Tompkins)
3. Liquor Barn Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(Develop Danville, Inc.)
4. Grand Opening & Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Academy of Excellence!
(Seminole County Chamber)
5. The Weiser Chamber Of Commerce held three Ribbon Cuttings
(Alex Chavarria)
6. Huther Doyle Ribbon Cutting
(Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce)
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