It seems like just yesterday you were planning your graduation, and now your class reunion is on the horizon. Time passes quickly, and the best way to tackle your reunion planning is to start early. The beginning stages of reunion planning may be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time planning such a large event. We’ve done the research, consulted the experts and come up with a realistic reunion planning timeline along with a printable reunion planning checklist. To help get organized, start by sending class reunion invitations and follow these tips.
General Class Reunion Planning Tips
Before you get started with your class reunion planning, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Start early. Allow yourselves at least one year to plan, up to two years for large classes. The reunion planning timeline used here will be 18 months, but customize it to fit your needs.
- Before you officially plan any parties or get-togethers, keep your budget in mind. Evaluate all potential expenses such as food, beverages, entertainment, venue rental, decorations, invitations, etc. Most class reunions have each attendee pay a flat fee that covers every event.
- Depending on the size of your class and how far away everyone lives now, keep in mind that you may not have a huge turnout. Aim for a goal of getting 50% of your class to attend, but understand that 25% is a more realistic number.
- Set a date that will appeal to the most attendees possible. While class reunions tend to be popular in the summertime, that may not be the best time for your particular class. Summers also mean weddings and family vacations. A good idea is to set up a poll with several potential dates and post it where your fellow alumni can see it- a reunion website or class Facebook page, for example. Ask potential attendees to vote on the date that works best for them and go with the most popular choice. If that’s not possible, simply determine through word of mouth when the best time would be to have the reunion.
- When planning the events, make sure to keep a variety of interests in mind. Some of your classmates may only be interested in family-friendly activities, while some will want to drink and dance the night away. Hosting between two and four activities will ensure there’s something for everyone.
- Videos and photo slideshows are always a hit at reunions, but they take time. If you’d like to see recent pictures from your fellow alumni, ask early and set a strict submission deadline of three months before the reunion.
Class Reunion Planning Timeline
The following reunion planning timeline is meant to help you plan your reunion in 18 months. You may decide to plan your own reunion in less time or realize you need more time, so feel free to adjust this list as necessary.
18 Months Before
– Organize a reunion committee. Reach out via Facebook, Classmates.com or word of mouth. The size of your committee will vary based on the size of your class, but remember that you can never have too many volunteers.
– At your initial committee meeting, delegate tasks to various members. Assign jobs based on each person’s strength- for example, put the accountant in charge of the budget.
– Define the events: for example, a Friday night meet and greet session over appetizers and drinks, a Saturday picnic and family games in the park and a Saturday night dance with a DJ playing the hits from your graduation year.
– Survey classmates for date preferences along with general preferences on activities. If no one is interested in touring the new building at your college, there’s no need to schedule one.
– Create a budget. This can be difficult to do without knowing how many attendees you’ll have. Add up the expected cost of the reunion and determine a realistic ticket price. Your ticket sales may be the only source of income for your budget, or you may be able to raise some money through fundraisers ahead of time.
– Start reaching out to your fellow alumni for current addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Assign two members of your committee to finding volunteers to help them.
12 Months Before
– Continue to seek out addresses and phone numbers of your fellow alumni.
– Set an official date for the reunion based on feedback and availabilities.
– Decide on the official activities.
– Book the venues as well as any other vendors- caterers, the DJ, photographers, etc.
– Determine any liability insurance needs (some venues require it).
9 Months Before
– Set up an official website with all information on the reunion
– Design and order your class reunion invitations and tickets.
– Call local hotels that are close to the reunion venues and try to arrange a special discount for reunion attendees.
6 Months Before
– Mail your reunion invitations. Make sure the invitations include all relevant information including directions, hotel discounts being offered, food being served at each event and appropriate attire. Let them know that the listed ticket price is good until the RSVP date (one month before the reunion), and higher-priced tickets will be sold at the door.
– Decide how to honor your deceased classmates. Usually this is done with a small memorial table with photos and quotes about how they will not be forgotten.
– Meet with your caterer and plan the menu. Make sure to keep vegetarian and gluten free classmates in mind.
– Confirm all reservations and bookings.
– Invite old teachers and school staff.
3 Months Before
– Purchase reunion decorations.
– Collect photos of classmates and put together a slide show or video.
– Create nostalgia boards or photo collages to hang at your initial meeting spot.
– Plan an awards ceremony or prize giveaways. For prizes, reach out to your classmates to see who is willing to donate prizes… a bouquet of roses from the successful florist and a 60 minute massage from the massage therapist, for example. For ideas on the awards you can give out, check out this article.
One Month Before
– Get a final head count for attendees (or as close as possible). Give this count to the caterer.
– Finalize all plans and make any final purchases or confirmations.
– Put any necessary reminders on the reunion website.
– Create name tags.
One Day Before
– Decorate the venue for the big party.
– Pick up any cake or floral arrangements.
– Handle any other last-minute details.
Class Reunion Planning Checklist
This printable checklist will help you get organized and delegate tasks to ensure every detail of your reunion planning goes smoothly. Simply copy and paste this checklist into a Word document and print as many copies as you need.
Reunion Planning Checklist
- Form a reunion committee
- Elect chairperson and other positions (treasurer, etc.)
- Solicit volunteers to work on subcommittees and reach out to classmates
- Establish regular reunion committee meetings
- Survey classmates for ideas and potential dates
- Decide on venue and format of events
- Create a budget
- Develop classmate contact listing
- Develop class website
- Select event location(s) and venues
- Arrange for lodging discounts
- Select photographer, DJ and other services
- Select caterer
- Choose a menu
- Pay all required deposits
- Develop registration process
- Order reunion invitations and tickets
- Mail reunion invitations
- Make / buy decorations
- Order event mementos such as t-shirts
- Create old photo slide show
- Arrange deceased classmates tribute
- Confirm all reservations
- Create name tags
- Nostalgia table and photo collages
- Delegate last-minute tasks: decorating, picking up flowers our mementos, etc.
With these reunion planning tips and an official reunion planning checklist to assist you in getting organized, your class reunion is sure to be a hit with your classmates. For more reunion planning tips and ideas, check out this website.