Do you have a Class Reunion Coming Up? I do, our 30th Class Reunion... yes, I'm getting that old! Like most things, I have been doing some research and brain storming. Creative types have ideas bouncing out at rapid speeds; --my spouse makes fun of me for it because the ideas regarding just about anything in my life never cease.
Timeline for success While it's a good idea to begin planning your event as soon as you
know you are going to have one, here is a timetable to consider for planning your event.
Twenty-four months before Form a committee and divide the committee into subcommittees
Recruit and appoint subcommittee members that will focus on individual projects. Some tasks will need individualized attention are: finding classmates, getting the invites out, event venue, format and program, financing, decorations, prizes and awards, advertising, deceased classmate tribute, fun slide show and games.
Determine event format
- picnic, dinner-dance, etc.
- informal, formal
- single day event, multi-day event; if multi-day, consider a fun field trip, like floating down a river on inner tubes! Bring your own beer, of course.
Brainstorm additional activities (school tours, etc.)
Scout candidate reunion facilities, not excluding the unusual like galleries and hotels; Position your reunion as a non-profit event and you may get a favorable rate.
Start developing mailing list and tracking classmates
Eighteen months before
Invite any teachers that are still alive. See if they will give a short speech.
Select and reserve reunion facility and hotels
Arrange for and hire entertainment, caterer, photographer (Call the yearbook staff of Richmond High and hire a student photographer), etc.
Make arrangements with the photographer to be at the event, take candid shots, as well as poses, and sell the photos directly to the classmates. This way, the committee does not have to worry about the cost.
Enlist a family member , or hire someone to videotape classmates giving a one-minute summary of what they've been up to. Edit the video after the event, and sell the DVD to classmates. This is much more lively than a memory book. This video can also be uploaded to the website.
Twelve months before Determine cost per ticket; Send initial mailer announcing date and location of reunion and Fundraising
Publicize reunion information
- public web sites
Arrange for additional leisure activities (sightseeing tours, etc.)
Drink and Raffle tickets may need to be obtained. Signs that may need to be made: Registration, Raffle, Drink tickets, T-shirts, For those who are not here, Class photo and/or Video.
Name tags made w bold font, maiden names and yearbook photo, spouse and guest badges too. Have extra blank badges.
Six months before Mail reunion registration materials
confirm all reservations, caterer, entertainment, etc.
Meet with hotels and reunion venue staff
Four months before Make payment arrangements with all suppliers for group functions
- meals, tours, photographer, DJ, etc.
One month before
Plan Registration and cash box ahead of time, because this is an area that can be full of turmoil.
For whoever has the slideshow skills: contact Eagles; ask them if you can come early to run your slideshow once to make sure that everything is set up properly and to work out any glitches.
The welcome schedule should include the visit to the high school, and the planned outings: i.e.: an ice-breaker at a bar on Friday night, a golf tournament, picnics, and the program for (including menu planned)--the main party:
The last activity is the Awards Ceremony, (winners are taken from questionnaires provided at the registration table), hosted by -xyz-, up-and-coming comedienne. Announce the winners the classmates voted for:
Lived in The Most Places? Award: Wizard of Oz Travel Mug, "There's no Place like Kansas" with a small card that says, "There's no place like home"
Up-and-coming Comedienne? Award: Laffy Taffy
Martha Stewart Award (good at all homemaker things)? Award: Betty Crocker Spoon Rest
If a teacher comes, Most Popular Teacher. Award: Shinny Red Apple and Flowers. --(Can also acknowledge the teachers in our class at this time)
Door Stopping Beauty? Award: Doorstopper
Most involved with Little League kid's sports? Award: Babe Ruth candy bar
Best Smile, Award: Big smile brush
Most Likely to Succeed, Award: Nerds Candy, a "Genuis At Work" door sign
as said in high school, "Sweetest", Award: Honey Buns,
Prettiest, Award: Red Hot Sauce,
Most Handsome, Award: Beef Jerky;
Point out any recipients who have changed paths since their high school ranking.
Any tables that deal with currency will need a cash box with a float. Raffles and contests will also need ticket collection boxes. Make sure that there is always at least one person (and 2 people is preferred) at the table with the cash box.
- 1 Pull out your old yearbook or contact your school to get a list of classmates from your year. Enter all of the names into a spreadsheet and add columns for married name, email address, mailing address and phone number. You may also want to add columns to track classmates who no longer wish to be contacted or who are deceased. Lastly, make columns for whether or not they are interested in the reunion, planning to attend and interested in helping out.
- 2 Enter as much information as you can into the spreadsheet. Contact your friends and ask them to fill in the blanks with people they are still in touch with. Have them pass the message along as well. Many of your contacts will be found from simple word of mouth. They may have moved, but perhaps their parents are at the old address.
- 3 Search for classmates on popular social networking groups such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Remember that many of the women in your class may have changed their last names through marriage. You will need to create a free account on each of these sites to search and contact classmates. Split the task with friends.
- 4 Use your favorite search engine to look for additional missing classmates. Try using both their full name and their nickname to search. Place the name in quotations to help filter the pages. This type of search is hit or miss, since there many be many people online with the same name. Use clues such as the place that they work or live to help you find the right individuals.
- 5 Consider joining premium services such as Classmates.com or Reunion.com. You can usually search for people on these sites, so look for missing classmates before signing on.
- 6 Send out initial reunion “save the date” invitations approximately nine months before the reunion date. Include a missing classmates list, and ask people to respond if they have any information about the lost alumni.
- 7 Locate as many alumni as possible through your alma mater’s alumni center. Make a list of missing classmates, and begin a more extensive search to locate these people.