Planning your high school reunion can be difficult, but it’s all for an awesome celebration with old friends! Below are some helpful hints, planning steps, and important do’s and don’t’s along the way.
- Get ahead of the game and choose your reunion date early. That way you’ll have more venue options open and classmates can pencil it in their calendars so they can plan to attend. Maybe even try off-season to get higher attendance (people are typically busier in the summer and fall months).
- Regardless of how excited and involved your class may have been in high school, unfortunately, it is very common to see less than 50% of invited guests to actually attend. Plan for this!
- Be patient while planning with others. Everyone has their own lives, families, and work situations so planning is not usually top priority. (This is another reason to get started early!)
1. Form a Committee. Typically, the Class President forms and leads a planning committee. A great way to get more engagement is by starting a Facebook group! Your high school may also have an alumni database if you want to try and contact members of your class that way (just keep in mind that many addresses may be old).
2. Assign Duties. Because a lot of people will have various opinions and ideas, it is usually a good idea to assign each committee member one specific task, and the committee as a whole can help make decisions. Here are some tasks that can be delegated amongst the planning committee:
- Pick a date. Perhaps run a poll, ask for suggestions and gather date ideas.
- Book a Venue. Low cost is key! Search for places that include most of what you will need (parking, staff, bar service, food, etc). Important: estimate lower attendance than you think you’ll have! Many venues require you to pay for the guaranteed guest count, so by estimating lower, you can save yourself from spending extra money. Also, remember whoever books the event is legally responsible for paying for it.
- Select a Menu. Be conscious of health interests, time of year, full meal versus appetizers, etc. Feeding a large group comes with a lot of ideas, interests, and styles.
- Determine Bar Service. What do you want to offer? Does the venue provide security because alcohol is being served? Do you need to purchase alcohol and hire bartenders? Be mindful of the tone you want to set for your event.
- Choose Décor. This person should also be involved with the venue selection so they can understand any rules and also what is already included. From there, create easy décor plans that represent your class well and keep it simple. Think about interactive pieces too, like games or a photobooth.
- Book Entertainment. What kind of entertainment do you want? Band, DJ, iPod? Can the venue assist in arranging this with vendors they use regularly? Are there any classmates connected with a DJ or band that can help?
Set these plans and stick to them. Don’t change things as you go just because one person says they want something different. That’s what the planning committee is for! Stick with what you’ve decided and the whole process will go smoother for everyone involved.
3. Sell Tickets! Once you book the space, start selling tickets immediately. Depending on the size of your class, you may choose to use an online ticket service such as Eventbrite or specific reunion websites, or you may track RSVPs and ticket sales on your own. Venues and vendors will require a guest count ahead of time, so be sure to set your RSVP date early (because you know there will be late-comers).
4. Get the Word Out. Do your best to make sure that every one of your classmates knows the reunion is happening. There are lots of people not on social media, and some may be hard to find especially if they’ve moved away or changed names. Encourage people in the Facebook group to reach out to everyone they know and pass along the reunion information!
5. Have Fun! Do as much as possible ahead of time so you don’t have too much stress the day-of. Make sure the committee members know they need to arrive early and stay late so you can all help each other with set-up, check-in, last-minute needs, and clean-up. But also make sure you each have time to enjoy yourselves and visit with your old friends! This is a celebration, after all.