School reunions can be a great way to reconnect with classmates, reminisce about the past, and share about your life after high school. If you have volunteered or been elected to plan a class reunion but don’t know where to start, this list is for you! If you follow this class reunion checklist using only 8 steps
Class Reunion Checklist: 8 Key Steps
1. Create a Committee
A committee is a key ingredient in planning any successful large event. Planning a reunion on your own is possible, but that is an enormous task. You will need to research the right event locations, budget, set a date, pick out decorations*, hire a DJ, photographer, caterer and so much more.
If you have more than one person do all of this, it will seem like much less work. This committee should be people who want to help. Classmates are your best bet for committee members because they will be a part of the class reunion anyway. A committee will not only help you get all your work done, it will also make your job much more enjoyable. Remember, you have the authority to choose who you want on this committee, be sure to choose people you know will be helpful!
After your committee is formed, you then need to know a few things. First, you will need to decide on a place and time to meet. You can meet in person or online. You can meet at a house, coffee shop, library or simply on a video call. When it comes to the timing of your meeting, this will simply depend on when everyone is free. Typically, aim for the afternoons or evenings when others are out of work. You will also need to be considerate of others’ family activities.
Once you have meeting times set, it is time to decide what platform you are going to use to communicate outside of those meetings. There are so many different ways to do this. You can simply utilize texting or calling. If you would rather, there are many social media platforms you can use. Facebook messenger is one way, or you can simply create a Facebook group. GroupMe is a very popular app for communicating to a group. Another idea is using Zoom or Skype, they both have chats and conference call capabilities. This is very much dependent on your specific committee and their preferences.
When it comes to budgeting, you can fundraise for the event in a few different ways. The most popular way to raise money is through selling tickets. If you follow this method, the more guests you have in attendance, the more money you will raise. Another common way to fundraise is to sell advertising. If your guests would like, they can purchase a space on a banner or handout at the party. The amount you raise through your fundraising efforts, in addition to how much you are willing to spend will dictate the amount you have to spend on your venue, decorations, food, etc.
There are also a few ways to save money when you are budgeting. First, be sure to use the resources and contacts you have. Fellow classmates may have connections to photographers that would offer a lower fee, or they may own a catering company that could provide food at a discount. Reaching out and asking could help you save quite a lot.
Second, to find the best deals, be on the lookout for specials or sales that are happening at that moment. While the event may not be taking place for a few months, there may be a sale on balloons or streamers that won’t still be happening at the time of the party.
Third, compare prices for items at different places. Be sure to look at the difference between online and in the store prices. There are many websites on the internet that offer coupon codes for these stores, such as Coupons.com.
Fourth, buy in bulk. Generally, décor is cheaper when bought in bulk. However, be cautious, if you don’t have a final number of guests. If you’re not sure how many people will be coming, it probably won’t be worth having hundreds of leftovers, and it could cost more than needed.
Finally, be aware of hidden fees. While generic designs may be advertised at a low cost, custom designs may increase the cost. Instead, look for ways to cut costs by finding less expensive products, altering the design, or making it homemade. However, while one item may be cheaper if it was homemade, it might not be cheaper to make a large amount of them. Sometimes making things homemade turns out to be way more expensive than purchasing a large quantity.
3. Research a Date
You are going to want to plan out this reunion in advance. You don’t want to have to plan this whole event last minute or run out of time to get out invites and RSVPs. Without a sufficient number of attendees, the reunion won’t feel worthy of capturing your high school experience. In order to prevent this, try and send out a survey with a few different dates about six months away to your classmates. This will allow your guests time to answer the poll. From those responses, you will be able to figure out the best date. Facebook and When2Meet are free resources that can be used for polling your guests about specific dates.
It is also important to choose the ideal start and finish dates. These dates can be for finding a venue, hiring a caterer, and any other decisions you need to make. This will help your committee with knowing how urgent their specific tasks are. Be sure to keep track of who is assigned what task, and when they need to complete it. This will help you to avoid much of the confusion that comes with planning an event.
4. Find a Venue
Once you have received the poll results and have chosen a date, it is now time to choose your venue. Reach out to people you know who may have connections or can give a referral. By utilizing your connections, you can be certain to choose a wonderful venue, and potentially receive a discount. Getting the venue solidified is an important step for making the reunion a reality.
When it comes to choosing the specific venue, one area of consideration is the number of attendees you plan to have. If you received RSVPs already, you can base your judgment on that number. If you have not received RSVPs yet, you can estimate based upon how many people responded to the poll about potential dates.
After you have a venue in mind, you’ll need to find out more basic information about it. Are you able to hold a reservation for the date you want the event to be hosted? Is there a deposit that needs to be made to hold the reservation? What is the maximum number of people that the place can hold? Is there a set caterer or entertainment provider that the venue requires you to use? There are many specifics that go into choosing a venue. Utilize your committee when you are choosing a venue, it will make it much less challenging.
5. Advertise it
Once the date is set and the venue is booked, it is time to spread the word about the reunion details. You can utilize many different methods to advertise the reunion. This is a good way to ensure that the information reaches as many of your classmates as possible. Social media, high school email lists, and creating a website that can be shared are all ways to ensure that the details will be publicized. Be sure to include the date, time, and venue. A brief description of who the event is for can also be helpful, just to ensure the correct people are invited. Also, include your name and email just in case people have questions.
6. Decision Making
When planning a class reunion, there are many decisions that need to be made. Would you like a photographer/photo booth? Do you need a DJ? Food is expected, but are you doing the cooking or are you hiring a caterer? How many decorations do you need and are you following a theme? Do you need ribbons*, tablecloths*, goodie bags, or invitations*? These decisions, and so many others, can be made by the committee and then split into specific tasks for each member.
There are many details that are easy to forget. When it comes to food, some people are lactose intolerant, have allergies, are gluten-free or vegetarian. It is very important to keep that in mind when choosing a menu. Another detail to remember is that people may be traveling to come to this reunion. Providing them with ideas for housing, or attaining a discount for them could be an option you choose.
7. Choosing a Vendor
Once you have decided all the different aspects you would like to include in the reunion, it is now time to choose a vendor to provide them. Keep in mind that finding vendors through people you know can potentially lead to discounts. If you aren’t sure where to begin when you are looking for a vendor, check out easyeventplanning.com. There you will find a list of all local party vendors and retailers in your area. Whenever scheduling anything with a vendor, be sure to get all agreements in writing. Having that written confirmation can save you from much confusion or hassle in the future.
8. Finalize your Decisions
The very last step is finalizing all your decisions. Finalize who on your committee will come early for setup and who will tear down the event after it happens. The vendor you hire may play a part in this process, but someone must be there to supervise at all times. Then finalize everything with your contacts and vendors. Make sure every aspect of the event is paid for, and brush up on any details you may have missed. If everything seems perfect, you’re all set to go!
Finish off your reunion planning experience by telling your committee how much you appreciated their time and efforts. It would be very kind to give them a Thank You card or a gift.
While planning a high school reunion can seem like a daunting task, these steps were created to decrease your level of stress and organize your planning process for the major tasks. Ultimately, the goal is to throw a reunion that will allow your former classmates to come together again and reminisce. As long as you are able to come together again and enjoy one another’s company, it will be a successful reunion.
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Written by Caitlin Connell, Anni Xie and Anna Wertman; Contributors: Isabel Tenney, Kerri Sullivan