Most of us have seen the class reunion movies. The ones where old rivalries are reignited, people pretend to be something they aren't, or juvenile shenanigans ensue. But that's not reality. Class reunions should be a joyful and fun event. A chance to reminisce and catch up on what everyone has been up to.
A good reunion will be a nice mix of old-school nostalgia and modern-day fun and convenience. The key to a great reunion is planning. If you're in charge of an upcoming reunion, you've come to the right place. This blog will provide you with all you need to plan an epic reunion to remember.
How to Plan a Class Reunion
Planning a class reunion is a huge event and should not be a solo act. The first thing to do is recruit a reunion committee. Talk to old friends, make a reunion page on Facebook, and ask for volunteers. This should happen about 12–18 months before the reunion is to take place. Elect a chairperson treasurer and break down duties for entertainment, venue, menu, and decorations.
Next, put out feelers about dates. Use the Facebook page to take a poll, so everyone feels they have a voice. The most popular times for reunions are during the summer through late fall. This is when people are most likely able to take time off from work to travel.
Then, come up with a budget. This can be the most critical step to a successful reunion. It needs to be affordable yet cover everything to make it an enjoyable event. You’ll definitely need to make a checklist for your budget. This will determine how much you charge per ticket. To create a larger budget, consider fundraising and asking for donations.
If you need more information on this and other event planning particulars, Esstart has a wealth of great info. After you have a budget, it's time to choose your venue.
Location to Conduct Class Reunions
The size of your class and the number of people attending will help you decide on the location. Also, thinking about themes, budget, and the atmosphere you want will help you choose a venue that's right. There's a ton of options to choose from. Here are a few to get you started.
1. School Gymnasium
Your Alma maters school gym could be an excellent place for a reunion. It's affordable and spacious and is sure to bring back memories.
If you're looking for something more formal, a hotel banquet room is a great choice. Most hotels will also offer deals on catering and room bookings.
Chartering a yacht or party boat can make for a fun and unique venue filled with some beautiful sites. Just consult with your classmates to see if anyone gets seasick!
4. Bar or Club
If you've got a smaller group, renting out a bar or club for the evening could be the perfect setting for your fun. It will make the drink and food menu a lot easier to navigate, too.
Vineyards often rent out their space for special events, so they'll likely have staff to help with planning. They're also naturally beautiful, so decorating won't be a chore.
6. Movie Theater
If you're looking for something truly unique, rent out a movie theater for the night and start by screening a film that was popular the year your class graduated. You can have the entire theme revolve around the movie, from dress to food.
Nothing says a reunion has to be at night or even indoors. Having the event at a park local to your old stomping grounds is a great way to keep things informal and fun.
8. Cultural Center
A library, museum, or art gallery can make the perfect spot for a reunion gathering. They are usually open and airy spaces with plenty of room for tables, food, and entertainment.
9. Local Restaurant
Having the reunion at a local restaurant is one of the easiest ways to kick off the fun. It's more intimate than other venues, and things like food, beverages, and wait staff are automatically taken care of.
10. Hit the Field
If you find an old-school gym too stuffy but want to stay close to your old school, consider setting up tents on your old football field. It will ensure enough space and allow people to stroll around and relive fond memories.
High School Reunion Games
Having games at your reunion is a great way to break the ice and get folks to interact. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few to get you started.
1. M&M Facts
Place a large bowl on each table and leave directions, so everyone can play at their leisure. The idea is for everyone to take a handful and tell one fact about themselves for each piece of candy they have.
2. Name That Tune or Jingle
In this game, two classmates at a time compete for prizes by naming the title of a snippet from a song or commercial jingle from their school days. It's a great way to sneak in some classic tunes.
3. High School Trivia and Quiz Time
A good old-fashioned trivia game is sure to be a hit. We highly recommend using Storybook by Esstart to make this game come alive. Storybook is a highly interactive, easy-to-use program that allows you to share message walls, photos, and quizzes live in real time on guest's devices. So everyone is sharing the same great experience, nobody's view is blocked, and nobody misses a beat.
4. Guess Who Bingo
This bingo uses high school photos instead of numbers. Give a bonus prize to anyone who can name entire rows of classmates.
5. School Jeopardy
You can play this like regular Jeopardy. The only difference is you'll give hints like “This English teacher had a fake British accent” or “This star football player once dated the head cheerleader.”
6. Casino Games
Adding a few casino games like slots, roulette, and blackjack can allow people to walk around and mingle. Give tickets for door prizes instead of chips/money.
High School Reunion Themes
It's your party, so you can pick whatever theme you like (though it's good to take a vote to make as many people as happy as possible). Here are a few major themes that can be broken down into more specific ideas.
Have the theme reflect the decade in which you graduated. For example, a disco theme for the 1970s, an over-the-top hair metal theme for the 1980s, or a hip-hop dance party theme for the 1990s.
Consider going all out with an elaborate decorative theme. Ideas for this could be a Roaring 20s event or an indoor Mardi Gras party.
If you want to keep it classy, consider a black-tie event where everyone is in tuxedos and gowns. You can also follow Sean “Diddy” Combs's lead and have an elegant white party where everyone dons crisp white outfits, and the venue is draped in simple white decorations.
If everyone has voted for good old plain fun, think along the lines of a Hawaiian luau, costume party, or dress as your favorite character from your high school decade.
One of the most essential parts of your reunion will be recording the new memories you make as you recall old ones. Therefore, photography should be an integral part of your event. Traditional photographers are a valuable tool, but consider taking it to the next level. Instant Spotlight makes this possible by allowing guests to snap photos and instantly share them to both a slide show and the phones of other guests. This fantastic photography tool allows everyone to see the entire party from all angles and different perspectives. The best part is that all the memories are yours to keep forever.
Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid
A few tips for added success at your event include:
- Ensuring you have a wide variety of everything, including food, beverage, and music. Take into consideration dietary needs and the fact that some folks don't drink alcohol.
- Be flexible and take requests when you can.
- Steer clear of politics
- Have a rideshare service on speed dial
- Hire a reputable DJ that can keep the party going if it starts to get dull
- Relax and have fun
The most important part of pulling off an iconic reunion is organizing and planning. Give yourself at least a year of prep time. Gather your team and decide your theme, entertainment, and budget.
Make a webpage or Facebook page where everyone can pop in for updates and ticket information. Choose the appropriate venue, menu, decorations, and prizes for your planned games. Then, make it memorable and shareable with some great photography and tools like Storybook.