If it’s a milestone year for your high school graduating class, it’s time for you to get to planning (if you haven’t already), especially if your reunion is taking place over the summer. Summer is the most popular time of year for class reunions. The weather is nice, kids have off from school, travel is easier and safer, and there are more options for activities in parts of the country that see big seasonal swings in weather. However, people’s summers also book up quickly, so it’s important to get your dates set as soon as possible so you can maximize your attendance. Here are a few planning tips to help you have a great reunion experience:
3-4 MONTHS BEFORE
- Gather a planning committee
- Determine costs
- Reserve venue(s)
- Get the word out with a “Save the Date” — As soon as you have the date set, send out a save the date to your alumni, even if you don’t already have all the other details set in stone yet.
2 MONTHS BEFORE
- Contact/Contract with any vendors
- Finalize costs — If you have a budget to subsidize some of the costs of the reunion, use it as much as possible for alumni to attend. Communicate what costs or responsibilities will be on attendees.
- Determine agenda/program/events — Make it easy for people to gather and socialize informally enough to allow people to have fun while catching up with old friends or meeting new ones.
- Share all event information with classmates
1 MONTH BEFORE
- Share final event details
- Collect RSVPs
1-2 WEEKS BEFORE
- Finalize with vendors/volunteers/venue
- Finalize last minute details — Have photo albums, yearbooks, or slideshows at the event(s) to showcase your class’s time in high school. Consider inviting former teachers. Take video of alumni stories and play them during the event or invite people to speak about their time in high school.
- Guest count to venue(s)
- Gather any venue needs/decorations
- Don’t forget nametags & pens!
DAY OF REUNION
- Committee should arrive early for set up
- Be prepared for last minute emergencies
- Create an accessible, easy-to-see check-in spot
AFTER THE REUNION
- Pay vendors
- Thank committee(s)
- Ensure all captured contact information for classmates is gathered for future communications
Class reunions ensure lifelong connections remain. While they can be time-consuming to plan, the work is worth the memories. And, if all else fails, contact the Foundation for assistance and direction!
Blog Author: Karen A. Swanson, CFRE
Executive Director, JHS Class of 1985