Saturday, March 14, 2009

Planning a Class Reunion

Okay, in addition to work and motherhood and being the captain of a Relay for Life team, I am also on the committee to plan our 20-year class reunion. Actually, I think I'm heading the committee. How did THAT happen? It's not like I've ever planned one of these before. I really have no idea (okay, little idea) of what I'm doing. But I'd like to share what I've learned thus far.

  • Committee - first thing first, must gather a group of willing bodies to help make it happen and take some of the heat off you (me, in this instance)
  • Make a list of known information - I did this in preparation for our first meeting. I had a list of all graduates from the class of '89 as well as venue options in the area. I also created a website with the help of Class Creator that allowed me to gather additional information by way of a survey. We LOVE this website!
  • Determine format of reunion - do you want adults only or do you want to include the entire family? We decided on the adults only option. Then we had to decide what type of venue. There's the wedding reception option where you rent a hall, set it up, decorate, hire a caterer, and do the clean up yourself. Then there's the company Christmas party option where you rent a conference room at a hotel where THEY do the setup and tear down and probably serve their own food and WE just have to decorate.
  • Choose a venue - research, discuss, and choose a hall, restaurant, or hotel.
  • Don't forget the food - Do you want a meal or just finger foods? If your venue doesn't serve food, you need to consider a caterer or a pitch-in. These people are going to want to eat.
  • Date selection - this will likely be contingent on the availability of your venue, but also what works for the committee and your classmates.
  • Classmate Contact Information - Inevitably, there will be classmates that are more difficult to find than others. But someone should be looking for them nonetheless.
  • Alcohol - Should you have it or not? If yes, should you offer an open bar or a cash bar? Depending on the venue, you might have to get your own liquor license and you definitely need a licensed bartender.
  • Decorations - picking them out, putting them up, and taking them down.
  • Entertainment - band, DJ, dancing, karaoke, presentation of class memories, etc.
  • Lodging - Does your venue offer lodging? Consider getting a block of rooms for your classmates traveling from out of town. Ensure you know the deadlines when classmates need to make their reservations. At the very least, you should provide a list of local hotels to your out-of-town guests with the invitation.
  • Do you want a Friday night mixer, happy-hour kind of event? Do you want a secondary family event like a picnic on Sunday afternoon?
  • Welcoming/Arrival - There needs to be some kind of sign in area with name tags and such.
  • Programs/Memory Booklets - Do you want them, what do you want in them, who will create them?
  • Prizes, novelties, mementos - more entertainment and reminders that they actually attended the event.
  • Agenda items - besides the food and music, do you want speakers, tributes for deceased members or military members, etc.?
  • Photography - Do you want formal pictures taken? Or do you intend to go with something more casual like classmates bringing their own cameras or leaving disposable cameras sitting around?
  • Money - After determining the cost of the event (venue, food, deposits, etc.) divide that amongst those attending the event. THAT will be the cost per person. Someone has to receive that money...and on time.
  • Advertising and Communication - web site development and maintenance, newspaper announcements, postcards and other mailings...whatever keeps everyone in the loop.

I'm sure there are things I've forgotten. Hopefully someone on the committee thinks of them before the actual reunion comes around.

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