Congratulations! Your Ribbon Cutting, Grand Opening or Ground Breaking represents an important time for your business. By working together with the Gwinnett Chamber, you are on the path to a successful entrepreneurial venture. This guide will assist you in planning your event with a proven timeline, simple checklists, and templates to make the launch of your new business a wonderful success.

Step 1: Set a Date

Selecting a date is one of the most important decisions you will make as you begin the process of planning and staging a successful special event. It can affect all aspects of the outcome and is worthy of considerable planning.

Things to consider when choosing a date:

  • It is advisable to choose a date at least two out, to allow ample time to get everything done and achieve optimal results.
  • After a date and time is selected, please complete the Chamber’s online ribbon-cutting event request form for the Chamber’s participation (at least 10 business days before Ribbon-Cutting, Grand-Opening, or Ground-Breaking events).
  • Avoid planning around major holidays.
  • To ensure attendance by invited guests from banking or government, please check the official’s holiday schedule to determine when their offices are closed.
  • Avoid school breaks and holidays that may conflict with major community events and activities.
  • Helpful links to these calendars are provided below.

The best-attended days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Monday, Friday and weekends tend to be inconvenient and have low attendance. The Ambassadors are available during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). If you choose to have an event on the weekend, we cannot provide Chamber staff or Ambassadors. However, Chamber member companies are welcome to borrow the scissors or shovels. Just give us a call.

Helpful links:

Gwinnett County Schools Calendar

Federal Holiday Calendar

Explore Gwinnett Events Calendar

Step 2: Set a Time

Setting the time for your event

The event time of day is also critical to its success, therefore plan accordingly. Morning functions, for example, will have an entirely different atmosphere and style than a late afternoon event or an evening cocktail reception. Luncheon gatherings will naturally require more food and beverages.

Consider the following when choosing a time:

  • Begin morning events at 8 a.m. before most retail businesses open for the day (approximately 10 a.m.)
  • Send invitations for luncheon events, as they often require advance calendar notice.
  • Popular late afternoon or early evening events generally begin at 4 p.m., and conclude by 6:30 or 7 p.m. To lend focus to your event, designate a specific time for a ribbon cutting or other special ceremony.
  • You might choose to hold a half-day open house or tour of your company with a designated time for a ribbon cutting or other special ceremony to create focus at your event.
  • Take deadlines into consideration for media coverage of your event. Electronic media prefers events no later than 4 p.m., and newspaper deadlines are generally mid-afternoon for such stories.
Step 3: Invitations

Invitations to guests

Your event can be considered a complete success if you do nothing more than invite the right people to attend.

The right people will vary depending on the event, but a guest list might include some of the following:

Invite the right guests. This may vary depending on the event, but a guest list might include some of the following:

  • Friends and family
  • Your employees and spouses
  • Potential and current customers
  • Suppliers or vendors
  • Those who assisted you—your banker, accountant, attorney and other advisers
  • Fellow business professionals in your area
  • Key government officials—the district city council member and county commissioner where your business is located.
  • The media (Please refer to the Media links below)

Once you’ve identified your guest list, here are some tips to remember when inviting them:

  • Prepare a simple, to-the-point letter or invitation and include who, what, when, where and why.
  • Include an RSVP. This will give you an idea about how much food and beverage to provide.
  • Allow sufficient notice: 7-10 days is ideal for most events, although two weeks would be preferable if you are planning a luncheon or dinner event.
  • Include a map and concise instructions on where your event is located. Street addresses are not always sufficient (GPS is not always perfect).
  • For formal invitations use a professional printer, graphic artist or designer. (Please refer to the Services to Consider list below.)
  • Clarify if spouses are invited. Otherwise, the assumption is that they are not.
  • Sending invitation by first-class mail is preferable. Bulk mail will delay the invitation by a week or longer, which will decrease attendance.
  • If a mayor’s attendance is important, you’ll want to call and speak with the mayor’s scheduling assistant to confirm availability.
  • When inviting government officials, it is in your best interest to allow 2-4 weeks notice.
  • Please refer to the County and Local Government Offices list in this guide for contact information.
Step 4: Food & Beverage

Planning the food and beverage for your event

Although it’s an additional expense, serving food and beverage complements the event.

Use these tips below on what to serve depending on the time of your event:

  • Morning – coffee, juices and pastries.
  • Luncheon – sandwich or buffet meal. Your guests will be expecting it.
  • Late afternoon – light appetizers or finger foods are appropriate. Chips, dips, cheeses, vegetable plates or cold-cut meat trays work well.
  • Formal dinner or late evening party – make it substantial. Most guest will not have eaten.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are advisable for late-afternoon or evening Many people enjoy an after-work cocktail. (Check with your insurance agent about host liability. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted if event is open to the public—it must be an invitation-only affair, unless you have a liquor license in place).
  • Enlist the help of a professional caterer for medium or large events for food and beverage.
  • If your preference is to personally provide refreshments, make certain an ample amount of food and beverage is available for your guests, as well as sufficient eating utensils, trash receptacles and other ancillary items.

For a list of restaurant options in your area, please refer to the Services to Consider list in this guide.

Step 5: Your Program

Planning out your program

Whether it’s staging a groundbreaking or a ribbon cutting for your company, to add that classic personal touch, have a brief program handout. This provides not only valuable recognition for you and your key people, but it also makes the event more purposeful and allows you to explain your mission and business.

Here are some tips on making your event flow well:

  • Less is more. People have short attention spans, so keep it to 10-20 minutes.
  • Have a dynamic emcee to keep your program moving smoothly and inject some humor when needed. A Chamber staff member may also serve in this role.
  • Limit the number of speakers and speech length by setting a time limit for all program participants.
  • Formal program speakers may include appropriate city or county government representatives, your Gwinnett Chamber representative, yourself, or board chairman or designee. Make reminder phone calls or send reminder emails to each speaker the day before the event.
  • Acknowledgments and introductions should be limited to dignitaries in attendance. You may want to verbally recognize and thank those who have played an active role in your project—banker, contractor, architect. Often a simple group thank you to your friends and family is sufficient.
  • Use the appropriate ceremonial or symbolic activity to commemorate the event; a ribbon cutting for a grand opening or shoveling the first load of dirt for a groundbreaking.
  • If your event includes an open house or tour of your facilities, ensure employees conducting tour groups are friendly and knowledgeable. Unguided self-tours are discouraged.
  • If you choose to distribute guest favors, designate that responsibility to someone other than the owner, host or hostess. Favors might be a specialty item, coupon, brochure about your business, etc.
  • Post-event thank-you letters should be sent the next business day to all key players in the official program.
  • Always have a rain delay back-up plan to move the event inside your facility, nearby restaurant, hotel or meeting room.
Step 6: Notify the Media

Involving the media

Extensive media coverage should not be expected at your special event. Due to local affiliate TV and radio station(s) staffing limitations, airtime isn’t available, and newspaper features for local business events are not covered unless a notable person is attending. But the Gwinnett Chamber will post photos from your event on the Chamber website and social media sites that you can re-post or re-tweet.

The following are some ideas for enhancing the possibilities of having media coverage for your event:

  • Send your invitation to the news director or editor one week prior to your event and include a personal letter or note detailing your company’s background and how your event is uniquely significant to the overall community. (Please refer to the sample press release below and the media list and link in this guide.)
  • Include a brief journalistic rundown of who, what, when, where and why. It’s not necessary to write a formal outline, just facts.
  • A follow-up or reminder call the day prior to your event is a good idea.
  • While a Gwinnett Chamber staff member will take photos, have designated staff member(s) or friend(s) take candid shots of people and happenings at your event.
Step 7: Responsibilities

The Gwinnett Chamber looks forward to working alongside you to promote and execute your event. Please refer to the outlined responsibilities below to help make your special event a success.

Please contact Donna McBee, at least 10 days prior at 770-232-8810 or email:

Outlined responsibilities:


  • Complete the Ribbon-Cutting Event Application
  • Plan your program
  • Extend invitations
  • Notify Media

Gwinnett Chamber:

  • Confirm date and time of event with you
  • Confirm Chamber representative availability
  • Notify the Gwinnett Chamber Ribbon Cutting Committee
  • Add to Chamber event calendar
  • Provide scissors and ribbon for the ribbon cutting
Media List & PR Information

Below is a great starting point for contacting local media and publications to announce your event.


Georgia Trend
(770) 931-9410
5880 Live Oak Parkway, Norcross, GA 30093

Gwinnett Magazine
(770) 545-8744
450 Old Peachtree Road NW, Suwanee, GA 30024

Atlanta Journal Constitution
(404) 526-7003
907 GA-85, Fayetteville, GA 30215

Gwinnett Citizen
(770) 963-3699
PO Box 966 Grayson, GA 30017

Gwinnett Daily Post
(770) 963-9205
725 Old Norcross Road Lawrenceville, GA 30045

Find your local Patch

Top 10 Free and Paid Press Release Submission Sites On the Web

If you are submitting a press release by mail, please address your envelope to “(Section Name) Editor” using the section name that pertains to your release, and the main or regional address listed below. Press releases may be sent by e-mail to individual reporters or editors.

**Sample Press Release**


For additional information:




OFFICIAL COMPANY NAME will celebrate our moving to NEW ADDRESS, with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce on DATE and TIME.

COMPANY, is a CITY-based certified public firm and represents small businesses and individual clients. These clients, located in 20 states, are provided with a wide variety of tax accounting, financial planning, and small business consulting services. The mission of our company is to provide excellent customer care and timely service.

The firm is led by CONTACT NAME, TITLE (add additional managing partner if applicable). CONTACT NAME has been in public practice since YEAR.



**Sample Invitation Letter**



Our business is having a special grand opening/ribbon cutting to express our appreciation to the county and its citizens for welcoming us into the community. The ceremonies are planned for YOUR EVENT DATE HERE.

You are cordially invited to be our special guest for this event that will take place from TIME at ADDRESS. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled to begin at TIME. (Put any other details about your event here, such as entertainment, etc.)


We look forward to seeing you at our celebration on DATE.



County and Local Government Offices

When inviting government officials, it is in your best interest to allow 2-4 weeks notice.

Gwinnett County
Mailing Address: 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Phone: (770) 822-8000
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

City of Auburn
P.O. Box 1059, Auburn, Georgia 30011
1369 Fourth Avenue, Auburn, Georgia 30011
Phone: (770) 963-4002 ext. 206

City of Berkeley Lake
4040 South Berkeley Lake Road, Berkeley Lake, Georgia 30096
(770) 368-9484 ext. 102

Town of Braselton
P.O. Box 306, Braselton, Georgia 30517
4982 Highway 53, Braselton, Georgia 30517
(706) 654-3915

City of Buford
2300 Buford Highway, Buford, Georgia 30518
(770) 945-6761

City of Dacula
P.O. Box 400, Dacula, Georgia 30019
442 Harbins Road, Dacula, Georgia 30019
(770) 963-7451

City of Duluth
City Hall, 1st Floor, 3167 Main Street, Duluth, Georgia 30096
(770) 476-3434

City of Grayson
475 Grayson Parkway, Grayson, Georgia 30017
(770) 963-8017

City of Lawrenceville
P.O. Box 2000, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
70 South Clayton Street, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046
(770) 963-2414

City of Lilburn
98 First Avenue, Lilburn, Georgia 30047
(770) 279-3710

City of Loganville
P.O. Box 39, Loganville, Georgia 30052
4385 Pecan Street, Loganville, Georgia 30052
(770) 466-2633

City of Norcross
65 Lawrenceville Street, Norcross, Georgia 30071
(770) 448-2122

City of Peachtree Corners
147 Technology Parkway, Suite 200, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
(678) 691-1208

City of Snellville
2342 Oak Road, 2nd Floor, Snellville, Georgia 30078
(770) 985-3513

City of Sugar Hill
5039 West Broad Street, Sugar Hill, Georgia 30518
(770) 945-6716

City of Suwanee
330 Town Center Avenue, Suwanee, Georgia 30024
(770) 945-8996

Services to Consider for Your Event

The links below will take you to our Business Directory where you can find fellow Chamber members whose services you might need.


Translate »