In part 1 of our reunion planning tips blog post, we outlined how to get started with your plan for a class reunion, family reunion, or other gathering. In this post, let’s look at steps to take after you have the basics down.
Plan main event details.
Yes, there are a lot of decisions to make and things to do at this point, but a well-thought-out plan now will make everything easier down the road. While there are plenty of checklists and ideas online that will help you, here are some of the more common things you’ll need to think through:
- Reunion venue setup: If you’ve chosen a location that offers the help of event planners, meet with them to discuss what type of setup support is available, what furnishings or equipment is included in the rental price (and what can be rented for an additional cost), and what type of physical layout the space can accommodate. Here at the Thrasher-Horne Center, our professional staff can help with everything from the room layout to catering options.
- Entertainment: Will you have a band or DJ? Do you need space for a dance floor? Reunion “season”—typically summertime—can be very busy, so secure your entertainment provider early.
- Main event schedule: You’ll probably need an emcee if you’re planning on a large crowd, and will need to consider options for speakers, awards, slideshows, or other types of presentations.
- Photographer or videographer: Consider whether your budget has room for a professional photographer. If not, encourage attendees to bring their own cameras or phones to the event, and provide a link where everyone’s photos can be shared online.
- Displays and signs: There are plenty of great ideas for these, especially if you plan ahead, such as asking classmates to send old photos, which you can enlarge and display on tables. Depending upon the size and arrangement of your space, you may want to post signs directing guests to food, beverages, coat rooms, and restrooms.
- Registration process and materials: Organize name tags, drink tickets, goody bags, or anything else that attendees will need when they arrive. If you plan to have a printed program, you’ll want to start planning that sooner rather than later.
Map out additional activities.
When people spend the time and money to travel to a reunion, they are likely to want more than one chance to see their fellow attendees. In addition to the main party, dinner, or other big event, you’ll want to plan one or more additional opportunities for everyone to get together. Depending upon the type of group you’re gathering, ideas include:
- Arrange an informal ice-breaker/mixer, perhaps a happy hour at a local nightspot.
- Host a luncheon at a casual, family-friendly (and affordable!) restaurant.
- Schedule a tour of your old school.
- If your reunion is at a resort, take advantage of recreational activities available there, such as a golf outing or gathering on the beach.
- If your reunion spans the weekend with the main event on Saturday night, a Sunday picnic can be a stress-free chance for everyone to do some last-minute catching up.
Keep committees and attendees up to date.
As your plans progress, keep everyone informed via email or your online reunion headquarters. Out-of-towners in particular will appreciate this, and you’ll probably get even more great ideas from attendees that can make your event an even greater success. Send regular reminders as your reunion date approaches.
That’s a wrap!
After your reunion, keep your online headquarters going if you can. It will be a great place for everyone to stay connected until your next gathering.