Award Categories

We’ve made some exciting changes to our awards program this year. In addition to revising our categories to reflect the current landscape of the Canadian event and meeting industry, we have reduced the entry fees by 50%, and in some cases, removed the fees altogether. We’ve also streamlined the entry process to make it easier and faster to enter, AND we have added a brand new component: the Planner’s Choice Awards to celebrate the industry’s amazing event suppliers. The current award categories will remain in place until 2023, at which time they will be revised to bring them in line with the state of the industry.
This year, the first Annual Planner’s Choice Awards will be combined with the Canadian Event Awards and presented during the virtual Gala.

In Person Events

Refers to any in-person event produced by or for a corporation. All types of events are permitted, provided they were produced for a business or legally registered organization, other than one owned by the entrant.

Judging Criteria: Logistics, strategy, objectives, complexity, creative solutions, overall design, visual aesthetics, use of budget.

PRO TIP: Include a description of your client’s goals in your entry and how you met them. Include proof of production components and how you managed them.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

Refers to engagement marketing, sometimes called “experiential marketing,” “event marketing,” or “on-ground marketing.” This event is designed to engage consumers and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand.

Judging Criteria: Strategy, metrics, complexity/creative solutions, engagement, technology (if applicable), use of budget, attendance, media reach (if applicable).

PRO TIP: Describe how a consumer had a meaningful brand experience at the event and how you contributed to it. Demonstrate how consumers participated, shared and interacted with a brand to create engagement.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This category is for in-person conferences.

Judging Criteria: Strategies, programming, creativity, metrics, logistics, scheduling, food & beverage, technology, engagement, social events, challenges, outcomes and design.

PRO TIP: The entry is judged not on size, length or price, but on logistics, problem-solving, creativity and innovation. In your description, please include as much information as possible to allow the judges to understand the work you accomplished. include audience, objectives, challenges, and any key production elements.

  • A budget is required.

This refers to any face-to-face consumer event, trade show, fair or exposition. To enter this category, your company must be responsible for producing and managing the event.

Judging Criteria: Logistics, impact, production management, show layout, design, programming, meeting objectives, metrics, marketing and technology.

PRO TIP: Include the event budget, proof of production components and how you managed them. Judges will want to view production documents like scripts, critical paths, and production schedules to show the planning phases and how you executed them.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

Refers to public events produced for a particular city, district, province, community or public celebration. Corporate OWNED festivals or events must have been open to the public to be considered.

Judging Criteria: Strategy, creativity, logistics, overall design, unique features, use of technology, use of budget, meeting objectives, crowd management, pandemic health and safety considerations, marketing, risk management, impact on the community and cultural significance applicable.

PRO TIP: Be sure to reference how the event impacts the community for the better along with any culturally significant information about the event itself

  • Videos are recommended, but not mandatory.
  • A Budget is required.

This category refers to any event produced for an association by its board or a board-appointed committee. 

Judging Criteria: Logistics, strategy, objectives, complexity, creative solutions, overall design, visual aesthetics, use of budget.

PRO TIP: Be sure to outline the roles that board members played in the event, collaborations, and individual/team wins. 

  • Video not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

Refers to any designed drive-through experience/event, including holiday events, social, corporate, graduation or commencements.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, logistics, use of budget, aesthetics, entertainment value, challenges, creative solutions, flow/design, meeting of objectives, use of technology, unique features and guest experience, visual impact

PRO TIP: Illustrate the impact the event had on the audience; show creative solutions in your description.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This category refers to an event designed to celebrate a social occasion such as a birthday, religious passage, anniversary or private celebration.

Judging Criteria: Logistics, objectives, complexity, creative solutions, meeting objectives, overall design, aesthetics, use of budget.

PRO TIP: Include a description of your client’s goals in your entry and how you met them. Include proof of production components and how you managed them.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This category is for small, non-profit charity groups raising funds for a local cause. Examples include animal rescues, libraries, small foundations, grassroots orgs and schools. These charities are often run by volunteers or staff and have smaller budgets.

Judging Criteria: Creativity & design, logistics, use of funds, creative solutions, meeting objectives, strategy, success in profiling the charity or cause, metrics and outcomes.

PRO TIP: This category is focused on how planners supported the goals and objectives of the NFP through the event experience.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This category refers to a nationally recognized charitable organization with a significant public presence and/or public initiatives in more than one region of the country. Examples include Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Run for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House. universities, hospital foundations and national charities fall under this category.

Judging Criteria: Creativity & design, logistics, use of funds, creative solutions, meeting objectives, strategy, success in profiling the charity or cause, metrics and outcomes.

PRO TIP: This category is focused on how planners supported the goals and objectives of the NFP through the event experience.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This refers to the creative design of a wedding and/or reception. It can include all elements of the event that the planner was responsible for, such as entertainment or catering. Ensure budget is in retail dollars, not including shipping.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, logistics, use of budget, design, entertainment value, meeting the couple’s objectives, wow factor, engagement, aesthetic, creative solutions.

PRO TIP: You can include a PDF with additional images for this category, but you must still upload your images into the gallery as JPGs. Include production documents, scripts, timelines, crit paths, floor plans to help show your work.

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.

This category is open to any kind of event including, but not limited to corporate, public or private events. For events with food & beverage, only include catering as part of your total budget if catering fell under your services as the planner.

Judging Criteria: Creative, design, creative solutions, logistical challenges, innovation, entertainment, budget allocation, entertainment value (if applicable), technology (if applicable), strategy, overall wow factor. 

PRO TIP: Submit your production documents like scripts, critical paths and production schedules and plans.

  • Video submissions are mandatory.
  • Budgets must show any sponsored components.

Creative/Food

This award is about creativity and innovation and refers to any floral design created specifically for an event, styled shoot, video, marketing campaign, venue, permanent installation or social media content.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, use of colour, presentation, visual impact, aesthetic, unique elements, spatial context, creative solutions, meeting objectives and wow factor.

PRO TIP:  This is a visual category, so the quality and focus of your supporting images or videos are critical to the success of your entry.

  • Budget is NOT required.

This category is for all those innovative event profs who pivoted and created unique and engaging experience boxes/gift sets for their clients or as a new business revenue stream. 

Judging Criteria: Innovation, creativity, uniqueness of the concept, purpose and filling a need, visual impact, engagement, uniqueness of featured products, logistics and overall guest experience.

  • Budget is NOT required.

This refers to a food item, menu or prepared set of items specifically designed and developed to support a virtual event. These packages would have been sent to guests ahead of the event and custom-designed to support the client’s brand story or event. 

Judging Criteria: creativity, design, strategy, logistics, innovation, guest experience, ease of use, meeting client objectives, package functionality, creative solutions, presentation, menu and aesthetic.

  • Budget is NOT required.

This is a food and design category. Judges will not consider decor unless it supports the food presentation. You may include plating from a live event, or a styled shoot or any creative styling project. 

PRO TIP:  This is a visual category, so the quality and focus of your supporting images or videos are critical to the success of your entry

Judging Criteria: Creativity, use of colour, presentation, visual impact, aesthetic, unique elements, spatial context, creative solutions, meeting objectives and wow factor.

This category is for catering an in-person event and includes food, design, preparation, and service. It is recommended that the planner and caterer joint enter and the entry contain details about the event itself. Include plating, design, table decor if applicable, food service, menus, floor plan, scheduling, etc. Judges will consider decor if it supports the food presentation. 

Judging Criteria: Creativity, logistics, theme integration, food service, meeting objectives, menu, design, presentation, visual impact, aesthetic, spatial context, creative solutions and wow factor.

PRO TIP: Include many food shots and shots that show the food in relation to the surroundings. Close-ups are a valuable asset in this category. Also, the complete menu is requested. 

  • Budget is NOT required.

This category refers to the design and or decor for an in-person event, photoshoot or designed activation of any size. This can be for a venue installation, outdoor event, wedding, corporate, or any other kind of in-person experience.

Please include clear pictures that showcase the decor both alone and in the surrounding environment for context. 

Judging Criteria: Creativity, logistics, theme integration, design, meeting client objectives, unique features, innovation, strategy, visual impact, aesthetic and outcome.

PRO TIP: Ensure you submit at least 20 images and showcase all aspects of the work, including the surroundings. 

A budget is required.

Technical/Support

This category applies to technical event production support such as rigging, staging, AV support, sound design, power distribution, etc. It does not mirror the logistics category but is similar in that judges will be looking for creative solutions. 

Judging Criteria: Production value, logistics, creative solutions, degree of technical difficulty, the introduction of new technology (if applicable), impact, outcomes, meeting client objectives and problem-solving. 

PRO TIP: Include your process and documents to show the steps taken, challenges overcome, and the creative solution used in supporting the event. You can also send videos, or links to web pages or apps judges can review.

  • Budget not required
  • Include production documents where possible to support your entry.

This category refers to a video or film created specifically for an event. This can include promotional content, pre-recorded entertainment, educational content or animated lead-in to digital events.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, production quality, meeting objectives, innovation, use of technology, cinematography, narration, storytelling, effectiveness. 

Video is required (:-

The category refers to the creativity, performance and design of a backdrop or stage used for virtual events. 

Judging Criteria: Creativity, innovation, aesthetic, production details, logistics and creative solutions, visual impact, technology, wow factor, building challenges and problem-solving. 

  • Budget not required.
  • Include production documents where possible to support your entry.

To enter this category, you must be the company directly responsible for the AV design and installation. It is permitted for a planner to enter as long as it is a joint entry between the producer and the AV supplier. This category includes audiovisual support for any event in any environment. It can also be online if the work is strong enough to compare to an in-person event. 

Judging Criteria: Creativity, production value, logistics, creative solutions, video quality, sound, visual impact, degree of technical difficulty, use of new technology, outcomes, meeting objectives and problem-solving. 

  • Budget not required.
  • Video is suggested but not required.
  • Include production documents where possible to support your entry.

This category refers to an event streamed being broadcast to or from multiple locations. Ensure you include all the technical or logistical challenges you overcame in the production. 

Judging Criteria: Production value, logistics, creative solutions, stream quality, sound, camera work, graphics, visual impact (if applicable), degree of technical difficulty, the introduction of new technology (if applicable), outcomes, meeting objectives and problem-solving. 

PRO TIP: Please clearly describe objectives and challenges. The judges want to understand how complex a task was and how you addressed it, detailing the steps you took to implement a solution. 

  • Budget not required.
  • Video is suggested but not required.
  • Include production documents where possible to support your entry.

This category refers to photographs from events, weddings, designed photo shoots, social media or other promotional images that reflect the celebration or spirit of an event.

Judging Criteria: Impact, lighting, storytelling, technical quality, creativity, composition, visually interesting, colour, impact.

PRO TIP: Submit a minimum of 10 images. 

And try to choose images that:

  • Are unique and relevant to the event.
  • Form a collection.
  • Speak to the event/experience.
  • Tell a story.

Virtual Events

This category refers to any digital, virtual or otherwise online event designed and produced by or for a corporation. 

Judging Criteria: Content quality and innovation, format, strategy, programming, design, visual impact, user experience, audience engagement, use of technology, meeting objectives, interactivity, production quality, effective use of the platform, graphics, sponsorship profiling if applicable, registration, metrics, social media integration. 

  • A recording or animation is helpful but not required. 
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible. 
  • A budget is required.

This category refers to any stand-alone virtual marketing event, exercise or digital activation designed to attract attention to a product, service, celebrity, message or brand.

Judging Criteria: Content quality and innovation, format, strategy, programming, design, visual impact, user experience, audience engagement, use of technology, meeting objectives, interactivity, production quality, effective use of the platform, graphics, sponsorship profiling if applicable, registration, metrics, social media integration. 

  • A recording or animation is helpful but not required.
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.
  • A budget is required.

This category refers to any exclusively digital or virtual conference.  

Judging Criteria: Strategy, creativity, digital design, programming, metrics, logistics, scheduling, content quality, format, visual impact, audience engagement, use of technology, meeting objectives, interactivity, production quality, effective use of the platform, graphics, sponsorship profiling, registration, metrics, social media integration. 

PRO TIP: Include as much information as possible to allow the judges to understand the work you accomplished, including audience, objectives, challenges, and any stand-out or key elements of the production.   

  • Recording or animation is helpful but not required. 
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.
  • Budget is required

This refers to any digital or virtual consumer event, trade show, fair, or exposition. The planner should enter this category with the platform as a joint entrant or be listed in the entry as a partner unless the event was done in-house with a purchased platform.

Judging Criteria: Strategy, creativity in design and programming, metrics, logistics, scheduling, Content quality, format, visual impact, booth design and interactivity, user experience, audience engagement, use of technology, meeting objectives, production quality, networking elements, effective use of the platform, sponsorship profiling, registration, metrics, social media integration.

PRO TIP: In your description, please include as much information as possible to allow the judges to understand the work you accomplished, including audience, objectives, challenges, and any stand-out or key elements of the production. Include production documents like scripts, critical paths, and production schedules to explain the planning phases and how you executed them.

  • Recording or animation is helpful but not required.
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.
  • Budget is required

This category honours the best use of augmented or virtual reality as part of an event.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, use of technology, objectives, virtual or augmented elements, impact, user experience, innovation, production quality, graphics, reality-like experience, immersion. 

  • Please provide a complete description of the user experience.
  • A recording or representation of the event experience is recommended.
  • Budget not  required. 

This refers to the creative design and production of a digital and/or hybrid wedding /reception. It should include everything the planner was responsible for, such as vows, guest coordination, catering, entertainment, virtual elements, pre-shipped guest and bride/groom gifts, religious rituals, + anything else that the planner organized. 

PRO TIP: Include an extra PDF with additional embedded images, but still upload your pictures into the gallery as JPGs. Include production documents, scripts, timelines, crit paths, floor plans to help show your work. Explain your hybrid strategy. Ensure budget is in retail dollars, not including shipping.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, logistics, use of budget, digital and live design, meeting objectives, wow factor,  aesthetic, creative solutions, programming, visual impact, user experience, audience engagement, production quality, special touches, effective use of the platform. 

  • Recording or animation is helpful but not required. 
  • Budget is required

This category refers to the presentation of awards through a virtual or digital experience.

Judging Criteria: Content, quality and innovation, format, scripting, strategy, programming, digital design, visual impact, user experience, engagement, backdrop, use of technology, meeting objectives, interactivity, production quality, effective use of the platform, graphics, sponsorship profiling if applicable, registration, metrics, social media integration. 

PRO TIP: Include production documents like scripts, critical paths, and production schedules to explain the planning phases and how you executed them. 

  • Recording or animation is helpful but not required. 
  • Budget is required 
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.

Refers to a digital or virtual event produced for a nationally recognized charitable organization with a significant public presence and/or public initiatives in more than one region. Examples include Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Run for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House. Universities and hospital foundations fall under this category.

Judging Criteria: Creativity, digital design, logistics, creative solutions, meeting objectives, strategy, success in profiling the charity or cause, metrics and outcomes, format, visual impact, backdrop design, graphics, use of technology, production quality, effective use of the platform, sponsorship profiling if applicable, registration, social media integration. 

  • Videos are recommended but not mandatory.
  • A budget is required.
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.

This category refers to any virtual or digital event, including private, public or business events. Focus on the impact of the event, creativity, the attendee experience and the delivery of that experience. Explain your choice of platform and how it impacted the event’s success.

Judging Criteria: Content quality and innovation, format, strategy, programming, digital design, visual impact, ease of use, audience engagement, use of technology, meeting objectives, interactivity, production quality, effective use of the platform, sponsorship profiling if applicable, registration, metrics, social media integration. 

PRO TIP: Explain why your event was the best event of 2020. Include production documents like scripts, critical paths, and production schedules to explain the planning phases and how you executed them. 

  • Recording or animation is helpful but not required. 
  • Budget is required 
  • Please include attendance metrics and KPIs where possible.

 

A virtual event platform creates an online ecosystem by using various digital tools to plan, promote, and execute digital experiences. There are varied types of virtual event platforms used to manage and host different types of online events. This category judges platforms based on a set of criteria that can be applied to all constructs and online environments.

Judges will be looking for: 

Webcasting capabilities, interactive content, 1:1 networking, functionality, landscape architecture, accessibility, responsiveness, flexibility, event registration, supporting stages in the event lifecycle, analytics, scalability, customization, design, user experience, gamification, immersion, app integration and more.

  • Video required. 
  • Judges VIP demo site ideal but not required
  • Screenshots are required.
  • Reviews are helpful but not required.

Signature Awards

Refers to the obstacles, logistical challenges and the extent to which complex solutions were required to execute the event or event element. This could be a tight timeline, complicated load-in, multi-location event, weather issues, site issues, working around city by-laws, structural issues or even complex schedules, boards, client issue opinions, daylight hours or time zones, 

Judging Criteria: Logistical complexity, creative solutions, problem-solving, execution, time management, meeting the client’s objectives.

PRO TIP: Clearly describe objectives and challenges and explain how you overcame them. The judges want to understand how complex a task was and how you addressed it. Show this by detailing the steps you took to implement a solution. 

  • Budget NOT required.
  • Video is suggested but not required.
  • Include production documents where possible to support your entry.

This refers to those event professionals from across Canada who put their words into action, offering solutions and launching initiatives that gave back to our community.  From local support initiatives to national action committees that lobbied on our behalf, this category recognizes those that went above and beyond expectations.

Judging Criteria: The only judging criteria is the success of the initiative and the impact the initiative will have on the community

This category refers to those companies that took a live experience of any kind, and reimagined it, redesigned it and executed it in an entirely new way. This entry does not need to have been an event by definition, it may have been a venue tour, a fam trip, incentive, marketing campaign, gifting experience, product, product launch, conference or personal milestone experience. The critical element to winning is category will be how you pushed forward in times of great challenge to produce a positive and successful outcome using creativity, problem-solving, innovation and creative solutions.

Budgets are not required
It will be helpful to include collateral or visual aids. Video is accepted if it helps the entry.

From creative pivots to new products, services and technologies, or for something completely out of the blue, no dream is too big for this category. The only caveat being you will have to have begun to put this big idea into production or have completed it within the year being judged.

Judging Criteria: Complexity, the success of the idea, meeting goal, how did the Pandemic influence the decision, is the idea sustainable post-Covid

PRO TIP: Be sure to include comments on the size of the leap you took to bring this idea to life and how the pandemic influenced your idea, if at all.

Volunteers give of themselves, their time, knowledge and/or services to support a cause or other person. 

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes and celebrates a volunteer who has gone above and beyond to support their event community.

You can submit someone’s name for consideration of this award. Please include the following: 

A 300-word summary explaining their volunteer commitment and why you are nominating them for the Canadian event industry Volunteer of the Year Award. 

Please include the individual’s email, telephone, name, title and company.

There will be finalists named in this category, and the winner will be announced at the Gala.

Presented to performers exclusively this award highlights success in 2020. 

Judging Criteria: Referral letters, video footage, innovation, creativity, entertainment value, uniqueness and professionalism. 

In consideration of the challenges faced ove the last 16 months please share with the judges how you have adapted your business and the steps you took to safeguard and succeed amid the challenges and uncertainty.

Include:

  • Samples of your work.
  • A video is mandatory and must be edited to 3 minutes or less
  • Detail the type of entertainment you provide including the number and quality of clients and events in 2020
  • Include a year in review summary
  • Images supporting your entry
  • Professional promo shot
  • Personal bio 
  • Two letters of reference from 2020 clients

This award is given to an individual in the catering and foodservice sector. This person inspires others to achieve success in the field of culinary arts; has made contributions to the catering industry over the past year; displays exemplary innovation and creativity in their work, and is a passionate advocate of professional development and the pursuit of excellence. 

In consideration of the challenges faced over the last 16 months, please share with the judges how you have adapted your catering business and the steps you took to safeguard and succeed amid the challenges and uncertainty.

PRO TIP: Illustrate that over the last year, you have shown exemplary performance, have contributed to the growth and development of the industry, have gone above and beyond client and peer expectations and have raised the bar for those you work with. 

Please submit:

  1. A year in review summary showing your work in 2020
  2. Food & beverage images supporting your work 
  3. A professional headshot
  4. A bio
  5. Two letters of reference from colleagues and two from 2020 clients

This award is given to an individual in the wedding sector. This person inspires others to achieve success in the field of wedding planning; has made contributions to the industry over the past year; displays exemplary innovation and creativity in their work, and is a passionate advocate of professional development and the pursuit of excellence. 

In consideration of the challenges faced over the last 16 months please share with the judges how you have adapted your wedding business and the steps you took to safeguard and succeed amid the challenges and uncertainty.

PRO TIP: Illustrate that over the last year, you have shown exemplary performance, have contributed to the growth and development of the industry, have gone above and beyond client and peer expectations and have raised the bar for those you work with. 

Please submit:

  1. A year in review summary showing your work in 2020
  2. Wedding images supporting your work 
  3. A professional headshot
  4. A bio
  5. Two letters of reference from colleagues and two from 2020 clients

This category only allows for the submission of a candidate for consideration.

This individual gives back, is a mentor, a leader, a passionate advocate and committed to promoting excellence, equity and diversity in the industry. 

To submit someone for this award,  please provide a 300-word summary explaining why they embody the spirit of the Canadian event and meeting industry. 

Please include the individual’s email, telephone, name, title and company. There will be finalists named in this category and the winner announced at the Gala. 

This award is given to an individual who inspires others to achieve success in their sector of the event industry; has made contributions to the industry over the past year; displays exemplary innovation and creativity in their work, and is a passionate advocate of professional development and the pursuit of excellence. This category is not just for planners but the entrant may be professionally involved in the special event industry in any discipline such as planning or producing events or meetings, incentives, involved in event design, decor, technical production, coordination, catering or facility management.

PRO TIP: Illustrate that over the last year, you have shown exemplary performance, have contributed to the growth and development of the industry, have gone above and beyond client and peer expectations and have raised the bar for those you work with. 

In consideration of the challenges faced over the last 16 months please share with the judges how you have adapted your event business and the steps you took to safeguard and succeed amid the challenges and uncertainty.

Please submit:

  1. A year in review summary showing all your work in 2020
  2. Images supporting your entry
  3. A professional headshot
  4. A personal bio
  5. Three letters of reference from colleagues and two from 2020 clients

Planner's Choice

The Planner’s Choice Awards are chosen by popular vote. We will be linking this section to a nomination form that can be used to nominate a company in the following categories. Nominations will close June 30 and voting will be live online during the awards Gala on July 7.  

Thank you.
The entry period has ended