The high school reunion is a unique event. You get to see and interact with people you grew up with that you haven’t seen in 5, 10, or even 50 years! It is always fun to see how people have changed whether it be in their looks or personality. Someone once said that people go for one of two reasons: to impress their former classmates; or to catch up with old friends. Whatever the reason, it does take a lot of planning and coordinating to get this event in line, so here are some tips from Gig Salad to help you do so.
First Things First
Before you can send out any invitations, you must choose a venue to hold the reunion. You will want somewhere that has ample space for people to mingle. Some restaurants have party rooms that would be good for this; holding the event at a restaurant is convenient because you don’t have to worry about providing food and drink. Depending on the size of your class, you may want to hold it at a convention center or banquet hall. Other options include your high school gymnasium or a banquet room at a hotel. If most of your classmates are coming in from out of town, the hotel banquet room may be a good option.
Now that you’ve found a venue, it’s time to set the date! Since many of your classmates will be coming in from out of town and have weekday jobs, schedule the reunion on a weekend. Now comes the tricky part: finding out everyone’s current mailing address. With resources like Facebook, it’s easier to keep in touch with former classmates; however, that doesn’t cover everybody. If you have an alumni newsletter, use that mailing list because it is usually kept up to date. Other options would be to send the invites to their former home address which will still be on file. In the invites, you should create an incentive to RSVP early so you can give the venue and caterer an accurate headcount. An incentive could be something as simple as a cheaper cost for RSVP-ing early. The invitations printer may also be able to make some customized name tags. Instead of having just plain Jane stickers with a name, have the printer make name tags that include the person’s senior picture.
10 Years Later...
At the reunion, you will want to share who’s done what since high school. In the invites, include a questionnaire that covers some basic topics. Have questions like how many kids do you have, how far are you travelling to the reunion, and what has been your strangest experience since high school. These questions leeway into a fun game that allows you to give out some superlative awards like, “Most Children," “Traveled the furthest distance to get here," and “Strangest Experience." This gives people some talking points since they haven’t seen each other in a long time.
Be sure to have some entertainment at the event as well. If you choose to go with a band, get a good party band
that will keep things hopping. You can also theme the band around the era you were in high school. If you graduated in ‘76, get a 70’s band, same goes for the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. Another option would be to go with a DJ. A DJ can play almost any song you want, and he or she can also act as an emcee for the event. Another form of entertainment could be a photo booth. This is a fun option, especially if the photo booth company offers props, and it gives your classmates a fun souvenir to take home with them.
Show Some School Spirit!
Next up is food. This is where it is important to have an accurate head count. You’d hate to order enough food for the entire class and only have 60 percent of the people show up. If you’re having the event at a restaurant, then that’s a quick and easy option for food. However, at other locations, you may need to hire a caterer to provide the food. You will also need to get a bartender to serve up drinks. Lastly, you will need dessert. Hire a cake decorator to create a delicious cake that resembles your high school building, the football field, mascot, etc. If the cake isn’t big enough to serve all, get some sheet cakes as back-up.
You will also want to make sure the venue is decorated accordingly. A nice way to incorporate your school colors is to hire a balloon decorator to create balloon columns or archways with balloons in appropriate colors. Have your table linens and chair covers match the colors as well. You can then top the tables with party centerpieces. Check with the venue before hand if you want to use confetti for the tables; some don’t allow it because is difficult to clean up and can damage vacuums. Also have some pictures on display around the event. You can use blown-up senior pictures, team photos, or other group photos. You may even want to have a photographer on hand to take pictures that you can use for the next reunion.
A high school reunion is a difficult event to plan, mainly because everyone is scattered in different locations after so many years. If you want some help, hire an event planner to help with the venue and any vendor bookings, while you work on getting in touch with everyone. Best of luck and have a great reunion!