This past October was my 10 year high school reunion. It’s the type of thing you always dream about showing up to in a sweet car, with a beautiful woman (or handsome man) on your arm and watching everyone’s jaws drop as you saunter in like you own the joint. And of course the venue that the reunion is held at is top notch. Fully catered, full bar, DJ, lights, really just the works.
I didn’t go to my 10 year reunion for one reason. The planning was awful and it would have been a waste of my time and money to show up. I can understand things slipping through the cracks here and there, but in all reality, the class presidency has one job every 5 to 10 years, and that’s to plan a reunion that people actually want to go to. From what I heard, ours involved a couple of meat and cheese trays, some beverages (of the non-alcoholic form) and some crudely set up tables for mingling.
So how do you plan a reunion that people actually want to come to?
Obviously, you need the cash. Not everyone is going to want to pitch in money for a reunion, so you have two options.
1.) Make it something that people really want to show up for. Have a theme for the night that makes people excited. A flashback to when you were in high school perhaps? Alternatively, the term “open bar” always draws my attention. People won’t mind showing up and paying a little cash for an event that they can really get behind.
2.) Collect donations on WePay beforehand. This is obviously ideal just for budgeting sake. You can even collect dues each year for the people who care enough just to make sure you have a savings built up for such events.
A high school reunion should be swanky. Classy. Entertaining. Like I mentioned in the beginning, it’s a place to show up and brag or show off about where you’ve ended up in your life. Make it about that. Set something up where your classmates are going to treat it like a vacation, and not an obligatory event that they probably won’t even show up for.
One key piece I noticed was missing from my reunion was the lack of time allowed before the event for people to plan for it. A reunion should not be talked about starting 6 months before you’re going to have it. It should be at LEAST a year before! Not everyone still lives in their home town so there are plane tickets to be booked, hotels to be reserved, money to be put away for other expenses, work to be taken off and in a lot of cases, families to be planned around.
Facebook allows for this type of communication to be handled VERY quickly and efficiently. Everyone typically has their high school in their profile information, and you can create a group and add anyone necessary to it so that the planning is quick and effective. Make sure people know PLENTY of time in advance if you want the best turnout possible.
Last, but certainly not least, if you ask people for their input or ideas about the reunion, make sure you use them. It’s not just a way to create discussion. It’s valuable input from the people who are saying they WANT to attend. Take the feedback and run with it. Incorporate the ideas. Make polls along the way to find out what ideas people latch onto more than others.
Oh, and one more thing. If you’re in your year’s class presidency and you’re reading this, wonderful. If you have a slacker presidency and still want to do something great for your reunion, take it upon yourself! Enough thought and effort can make any high school reunion just as swanky as you’d always dreamed it would be.