Whether you are from the class of 1955 or the class of 2010, there is nothing like gathering the old gang for some celebrating and sharing baby pictures (or grandchild pictures if you are as old as I am!). To help simplify the process, WhenNow’s team has assembled some ideas to help get you started and stay on track.
Form a committee – preferably a few folks who live close to home. Computers are great, but there is nothing like face-to-face communication (over a beer or two) to hash out ideas and come up with solutions. One person should be in charge. One person should handle the money. Everyone else should tackle tracking classmates down and spreading the word.
Instead of using the mail or email, we recommend using an online ticketing system like WhenNow. This online software is free to set up and there is a small transaction fee that can be built into the price of the ticket. WhenNow allows you to create, promote and register folks all in one place and no one needs to worry about begging people for checks or handling money at the door. With WhenNow, your guests pay by credit card and you receive a check 5 days after your event ends.
This is the tricky part. You will not please everybody–and preferences seem to vary by age group. If your classmates have smaller children, they may be more interested in an outdoor, casual picnic-type event, rather than a dinner dance. My five year reunion was more like a prom (without tuxes and gowns) and every subsequent one has been a picnic. Your committee will need to decide which is going to attract the most guests.
Many class reunions are in the summer, which can sometimes pose a problem with vacation conflicts. How about planning it close to Homecoming to add another element to the reunion, or even have it around Thanksgiving or Christmas when families “come home” for the holiday. This will eliminate the picnic option, but there are many other casual options for indoor events that are kid-friendly. Announce the date early so people can plan and you will have a better idea on the head count. Perhaps even offer an early-bird rate to get people to commit early (and save a few bucks). Be sure to find a local hotel or two and see if they might offer a group rate for out-of-town guests who may need accommodations.
Obviously, the best place to find your classmates is social media. If your class doesn’t already have a Facebook Page, create one. You should be able to attract a good number here and also put the word out for others to help track down those missing from the list. Facebook will also let you embed a registration link to your WhenNow registration right in the event (no more pdfs to email!). Another great way to find people is classmates.com. Don’t forget Twitter and LinkedIn!
Regardless of the format you choose. Online ticketing solutions allow you to create a guest list, which you can then use to make name tags. Face it…no one stays young forever, so name tags are always helpful. Get a playlist of music from your senior year and journey back in time! Take lots of photos, create a hashtag and make the most out of social media during and after the event! It will make planning the next one easier too! Here are some great ideas on decorating for your reunion with nostalgia and school spirit from our friends at grouptravel.org.