Planning a class reunion takes a lot of time and effort. In addition to finding old classmates, deciding on a date that works for as many people as possible, sending class reunion invitations, and figuring out a budget, you’ve got to plan several activities that appeal to a wide variety of people…and decorate for them! Giving your class reunion a theme is a wonderful way to streamline the planning process, making decorating decisions easier and have a whole lot of fun. Whether you’re planning a high school reunion or a college reunion, consider hosting a themed affair to remember. Let these ideas for class reunion themes inspire you to plan a proper party for your fellow alumni.
Class Reunion Themes
Then And Now
When it comes to reunion themes, you can’t go wrong with “Then and Now,” particularly if you’re preparing for your 20th or 30th high school reunion. While this theme does take a tremendous amount of planning and coordinating, the results are usually wonderful. There is nothing like seeing old photos next to new photos and hearing list after list of accomplishments to make your classmates realize how much they’ve really done over the years. While the idea itself might seem a bit cliche, when put into motion it’s actually a perfect option for reunion themes.
How to pull it off: ask for three high school (or college, if it’s a college reunion) photos and three current photos that best define each classmate now. Send each classmate a short survey asking what they’ve been up to as well as their job title. At the biggest event of your class reunion, show a slideshow video with the old photos next to the new photos. List each classmate’s current job title or something else interesting about them in the video as well. In addition, have the band or DJ play a variety of music from the year you graduated as well as present day hits. You can even decorate one of your event with a “then” theme and give it a retro look, followed by an event decorated in modern motifs. The idea is to pay homage to the year you graduated as well as give plenty of recognition to where you are now.
Around The World
Some of your classmates will have been lucky enough to have traveled the world since you saw them last, but the odds are good that many of your classmates haven’t had the opportunity. Why not bring the world to them with a travel-themed reunion? Around the World makes an excellent reunion theme because of all the opportunities to get creative. Plus, you can tie the theme into the awards you hand out at the reunion: who traveled the farthest to attend, who has traveled the most since your school days, etc.
How to pull it off: First, send out travel reunion invitations to let your fellow alumni know they’re about to become jet-setters. If you’re selling paper tickets to the reunion, you can make them look like boarding passes as well. Around the World is truly one of the most exciting reunion themes because of all the directions it can go. For example, you can stick to one theme for each event: a European-themed Friday night get-together with German beer, Spanish tapas and French pastries, a Saturday Mexican fiesta in the park, a Saturday night Bollywood dance straight out of India followed by an all-American BBQ on Sunday afternoon.
Another option is to focus your Around the World theme on your main event. Decorate with globe lanterns, postcards and posters of beautiful destination spots. You can also make collages of pictures of your classmates enjoying various trips. Hang giant maps on the wall and give reunion attendees red pins to pin the places they’ve visited (this also makes a great ice breaker when your classmates realize they’ve both been to that amazing cafe in Prague). Give each table a country or famous city name, such as the Paris table or the New York table. Serve a variety of small bites from around the world. Keep bags of popcorn or trail mix inside a vintage suitcase. Play music from around the world. Get creative with your backdrop for photos- it can be Hawaii, Las Vegas or a collage of oversized passport stamps. Your fellow alumni will leave the reunion feeling as if they’ve been everywhere.
Unless you were fortunate enough to graduate from Kauai High School or Honolulu University, a retreat to a tropical paradise is likely a special event for you and your classmates. With an “Almost Paradise” theme, you can bring them a tropical vacation without the hefty price tag. A luau is one of the best class reunion themes because it’s fun for everyone and decorating for it will be extremely simple and affordable. Every dollar store, party supply store in town or discount party website will have plenty luau decorations that will transform your reunion venues into tropical oases.
How to pull it off: First, send out tropical reunion invitations to the reunion that will clue your classmates in to the theme. You can request that they come in Hawaiian attire or simply tell them to wear whatever they’d like, but be ready to party in paradise. The best part about having a beach theme is that you can make it as casual or as elegant as you’d like it to be. In fact, with a weekend-long class reunion, you can have both! Host a casual luau in the park on the first day of your reunion, where guests can come to register and get reacquainted. String flip-flop lights around the covered area, decorate the tables with grass table skirts and seashell centerpieces, fill kiddie pools with ice for keeping beverages cool and greet everyone with a lei. Hosting a limbo contest makes for a great ice breaker!
For your big party the following evening, decorate for a more elegant beach party. Float candles in vases with seashells at the bottoms, use tiki torches if your venue is outdoors, and decorate with brightly colored flowers. You can serve popular finger foods such as pineapple and shrimp skewers, tropical fruit salad and macadamia nuts. Make sure and make the signature cocktail of the evening something fruity, like Mai Tais or Blue Hawaiians. You can veer from the tropical getaway theme with your music and stick to hiring a DJ to play the hits, as you’ll want guests to dance. Or you could offer hula lessons, or better yet, hire a few professional hula dancers to put on a show. Set up a backdrop of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset for photos.
A movie-themed class reunion is sure to be a big hit for every fan of film in your class. From movie posters to trivia to snacking on concession foods, this is definitely one of the most creative reunion themes with a lot of versatility.
How to pull it off: Host an informal check-in on the first night of your reunion at a local bar, restaurant banquet room or other casual venue. Set up a table with movie theater snacks: bags of popcorn, candy and other small treats. For an ice breaker, play a few rounds of movie trivia asking questions about classic films and new releases alike. Award prizes to the winners.
For your main event, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. You can host an Old Hollywood party and decorate in red, black and gold with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald serenading your classmates. You can also opt for a more general movie theme and give each table a movie name and decor to match (the “Pretty in Pink” table would be decked out in pink, while the “Moulin Rouge” table would be red and black with a sparkly centerpiece). You can hire a DJ to play movie soundtracks all night while silent movies play against a wall. Don’t forget to decorate the walls or tables with famous movie quotes! And, if you have the means, arranging an outdoor family movie is sure to impress the reunion guests. Many cities have outdoor movie nights in the park, but if yours doesn’t, you may be able to find someone with a large home to host or make special arrangements with your local park.
When coming up with ideas for reunion themes, remember to select something that will see you through an entire weekend full of activities…otherwise, just have one themed event at your reunion and spend the rest of the time focusing on catching up with your classmates. Reunion themes put a lighthearted spin on what can be an intimidating life event, so make sure to keep it simple and fun. On a final note, make sure to check out PurpleTrail.com for a great collection of fully customizable class reunion invitations.