Guidelines for planning a groundbreaking dedication ceremony include deciding on a date that does not conflict with other significant community events a minimum of three months in advance, creating a guest list of key business representatives, pubic officials and members of the media and distributing invitations six weeks in advance. A groundbreaking event typically includes a brief carefully orchestrated ceremony, including prepared presentations, pertinent hand-outs and displays and photo opportunities followed by a reception with food, beverages and sometimes entertainment.
Typical weather on the date of the event is an important consideration when making entertainment, reception and food choices. A contingency plan in case of bad weather is essential. Whether the event is an outside groundbreaking or the dedication of a newly constructed wing or interior renovation, planning details include seating, tents for shade or rain protection, arrangements for a platform, podium and sound system for the speakers and dignitaries, electricity, access to restrooms and a plan for setup and tear-down. Ensuring adequate parking and accessibility and assigning staff to welcome and direct guests to the groundbreaking site, to hand out programs and name tags, and to be available to answer questions about any displays are also key pre-event considerations. Speakers need to receive specific information about the length of their presentation and information regarding those they are to introduce or thank in advance of the event.
In addition to handouts for attendees, a packet for the media including related photos, fact sheets, links to additional information and information about scheduled photo opportunities during the event increase the likelihood of media attendance and accurate coverage.