“Who is planning our 10-year high school reunion?”
I asked this back in December of 2014 because I knew that come summertime we would hit our 10 year mark of when we graduated high school and I was curious if anyone had started planning. When I talked about this with my girlfriends at dinner, I specifically said, “I will not do it.”
Well that changed quickly.
My good friend Tiffany said something along the lines of, “If I do it, will you do it.” So that is how it sort of got started. We posted something on Facebook making sure no one had started planning and away we went. This post is going to talk about the planning process of our first ever high school reunion and what went right and also, what went wrong. For those of you looking for advice on how to plan your reunion, take it or leave it, but his may help you out.
First step. We have it easy these days with Facebook. My mom was and still is on her high school reunion committee and thinking about having to call people and find addresses to send invites seems like such a hassle. Facebook helped us tremendously with finding people. I mean, that is what Facebook is for- finding people. Tiffany created an open group for Legacy High School Class of 2005 10-year reunion and shared it with everyone through her status update. People slowly started to join in. Then we posted an update saying, “If you are interested in being part of the committee to plan the reunion, please meet at this place, at this time to get started.” We had eight people show up. And really that was a perfect amount of people. And this group of people were not necessarily close friends back in high school or even today. TIP: Your committee should have men and women and not be your close group of friends. Branch out. This allows for more people to know about the event from all around your graduating class.
Second step. Pick a date. A lot goes into this. Yes, most reunions are scheduled either around the day you graduated, or the high school’s homecoming, but it isn’t all that easy. By the time we got together, homecoming had already come and passed and June 1 would have been exactly 10 years. We decided as a committee that July is a good month because typically the weather is nice, if you are teacher- you’ll have time off, and honestly when we met, June seemed too close, but July seemed just right. So we settled on July 25, 2015.
During our first meeting we also decided that we would meet monthly every fourth Monday of the month. This is key. Don’t do everything online or over email. So much more got done when we would meet at talk face to face. Our meetings lasted about an hour every time and we would bring our notepads, and discuss what needed to be done. We also decided to pick somewhere central. Denver. We had some people up north and others down south- so to make it fair we picked somewhere sort of in the middle and not at someone’s house to make them feel like they always had to host people. A restaurant worked for us so we could all huddle in, discuss our plans and get the most done while eating and drinking.
Everyone during the 6 months of planning really took on their jobs and went one step further. Everyone needs a job. I personally took on the task of managing the social media side of things. Facebook updates. Create a website. Post photos on Instagram. That is my jam anyways, so I was happy to take on this task. But man… people on social media can be.. let’s say.. brutally honest. I just want to give a warning to those people looking at this blog for advice, be prepared for some people to NOT be happy with what you are planning. Be prepared for people to give you opinions on what you should do, although they never came to a committee meeting. We would HAPPILY take any opinions at our meetings and we made it public of when our meeting where, so anyone could come in and ‘join the fun.’ On the flip side, when you see posts of people disliking what is going on, you have two options- reply. Or ignore it. I am going to recommend that you reply, but in a very well-thought out manor. Think before you type. In all honesty- it is a business. You are selling tickets (which I will get to how we decided on that later) to an event where you want to make a profit and you want as many people there as possible. I responded to the questions/concerns publically so that everyone could see what was already asked, and what the answers were. Sort of like a FAQ via Facebook. It is OKAY to ask questions, and it is OKAY to dislike something, and really, it is OKAY to give your opinions because we want it to be the best reunion possible – but if you are on your own committee just be warned, you cannot make everyone happy.
So- my tip after all of that is to create a facebook group and make it private about 3 months before the event and create a website to have more information on and a link to purchase tickets, where I would recommend wordpress.com and keep both of these active even after the reunion.
Next. Ticket sales. First, the price of the tickets will all depend on sponsorships, location, and what will be available at the reunion. We as a committee had a sponsor for the park event, and the evening event so we didn’t have to pay any fees to rent both places out. We also decided that there wouldn’t be food provided for free, but that you could purchase food for an extra cost at the evening event and made the park event a pot luck. Here we go. Let me break it down. Oh… paypal. It is so convenient, but they also have a surcharge. But, we decided that pay pal was more convenient than having checks sent to us and so we set up a business bank account, a business paypal account, and got it going. Tip: make ticket prices low. More people will come and will be able to afford it. Heck, at your 10-year a lot of people are new parents, or just got married and in all honesty, are probably broke. Anything over $50 per person seems a little high. Even if food will be served. We set our ticket prices at $25 per person with the stipulation that the prices would increase July 1. We did this so that we would have a good head count a month before the event. This worked somewhat in our favor. On the last day of June we had 13 people purchase tickets before the price increase. We had a headcount of about 60 people before the price increase so this helped us plan for one or two food trucks at the night event.
A great tip I would add is that the price of the ticket should include something. Whether it be food, or drinks, or something make people feel like they are getting SOMETHING. We decided that if you purchased a ticket, your ticket included two drink tickets. So, for $25 you were getting access to the party, and two drinks. People were very happy with this, and I would highly recommend it.
So, the night before the big party we had a headcount of 75 people, and ticket sales were cut off online. Then we announced via Facebook that you could buy your tickets at the door… You just have to do this. People procrastinate. People decide last minute that, “Oh hey! I know a lot of people going, I wish I could go.” Well everyone should be able to go. We ended up having over 100 people at the event and everyone was happy.
How do you get everyone their tickets? You have a welcome table with some pretty cool parents that would be fine offering their time. We had two sets of parents working the welcome table and while some people may think it is strange, I wouldn’t want it any other way. In high school my house was the place for a lot of people to come, and a lot of people knew my parents. And my parents loved seeing so many familiar faces. This also allows the committee to enjoy the party and we could let loose and enjoy the hard work that we put in. Ah. Finally- you see your hard work pay off.
I know I have left a lot of stuff out, but I told myself that after the reunion I would write something.. anything. Just to remember a few key points and to hopefully help others out when planning your high school reunion. I want to thank our sponsors, to my good friend Bryce who gave a speech acknowledging the committee’s hard work, our volunteers who helped the day of, and most of all the people who came every month to the meetings, put in their time, and got this shit done. Haha you’re all amazing, and I am so happy we got to work together. Until next time.
1. Keep ticket prices low(er).
2. Don’t just email invites and save the dates- call people. Peer pressure works great.
3. Use Facebook groups.
4. Lower the cost of the class reunion by offering an early bird discount.
5. Keep your registration form short and simple.
6. Create a class reunion website that keeps your classmates engaged. Check ours out: Legacy2005.wordpress.com
7. Have a family friendly event along with an adults only event.
8. Tell classmates who is attending.
9. Have a diverse group of committee members organizing the event.
10. Call your high school and let them know when the event is to get the word around to teachers.
11. Have the event be in the same town as your high school.
12. If you have extra money, roll it into an account to have a starting point for the next reunion.