Planning a high school class reunion is no small task! If it’s your first reunion post-graduation, you may not quite know where to start. If you’re celebrating decades since graduating, you may feel pressured to level up from the last reunion or keep classmates engaged so many years later.
There is a lot to think about and manage from tracking down classmates, to collecting payments, to the day-of logistics. We’ve broken down this seemingly daunting process into 4 simple phases to help you prepare and execute an awesome event. Start early (some reunions start planning up to 2 years in advance!), put together a great team, and follow this guide for an awesome class reunion.
Phase 1: Early Planning Stages
When do you start to plan a high school reunion? The earlier the better!
Roll Call! Put Together Your Planning Committee.
Planning a big event like a high school reunion is not meant to be a one person job. Your first task is to find a group of reliable individuals who you can count on to get their tasks done. Traditionally, the event is planned by former student council members, but don’t be afraid to ask for help outside of this group! You might be surprised who raises their hand to help if you just ask. Once you have your esteemed planning committee, you can break down responsibilities and assign roles to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of their part in planning the high school reunion.
The next step is to lay the groundwork for the months ahead. If you’re not the super organized type, consider asking someone from the committee to step in and help with this. Here are a few pro-tips to help you get organized:
- Select a shared destination for documents and creative for the event. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy – a Google Drive folder is a great option – just make sure it can be accessed by all committee members.
- Make a timeline with key planning milestones and goals. This may start as something as simple as ‘set the date, location, and budget within 3 months’, and you can chart out the rest of the planning once those milestones are in place.
- Find an easy way to track responsibilities and progress. This could be a shared spreadsheet or a free project management tool like Trello.
Start To Track Down Your Classmates
Thankfully, the digital world we live in has made getting in touch with former classmates much easier. Social media is a great place to start – specifically Facebook & LinkedIn. We recommend starting a Facebook group for your class, as this will be a great way to share updates and your event page. You can also use it as a tool to survey attendees on various expectations and preferences to help make decisions in your planning.
Phase 2: The Real Planning Begins
Phase 1 has laid the groundwork for the real work to begin. In phase 2 your committee will really take action to start making the details of your high school reunion come to life.
Nail Down What Type of Reunion You Want To Have
The beauty of planning class reunions is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way to do them. We love to see the various ways different schools and classes celebrate reunions. We’ve seen reunions with formal sit-down catered meals, full weekends of scheduled activities, and more casual get togethers at a local bar or bowling alley. Get a feel for what your classmates want and expect from a reunion (this is where Facebook groups can come in handy!) and use that to help decide which direction you should go in planning.
Lock in the Date & Venue
Once you know what type of event you’ll be planning it will be much easier to know what to look for in a venue and start planning the agenda. Remember, different venues will have different contracts and requirements to consider, so make sure to ask questions about things like deposits and minimums to mitigate any unwanted surprises and ensure you can plan and price accordingly.
Setup Your Reunion Event Page
Once those major details are planned, you’ll want to setup an easy way for your classmates to RSVP and pay for their attendance at the reunion. The event page is also a great central location to house all the important details of the event. RSVPify makes the whole process of selling tickets for your reunion super easy – and it looks super professional! We even put together a detailed guide to setting up your class reunion event page to help you easily get set up.
Tip: With RSVPify, there’s no need to wait until after your event to collect the funds you’ve collected from classmates. This will be helpful when it comes to making deposits for the venue and other event essentials!
Phase 3: Promote The Big Event
You and your team are putting in tons of time to make this reunion special. Don’t be afraid to promote it! In phase 3 we’ll share strategies for maximizing attendance at the reunion.
Share The Details EARLY
Of course, not all your classmates still live in the local area. These attendees will need to make additional time and financial commitments in order to attend the event so be mindful of that! The best thing you can do is to get the date out as early as possible, even if you don’t have all the details finalized yet, to give them the best chance at making arrangements to attend.
Remind, Remind, & Remind Again
Keep the event at the front of your classmates mind using frequent updates and reminders. To keep from feeling like you’re spamming them, get creative with your social media posts. Here’s a few ideas:
- Post photos from high school! Tag those in the photo to engage them in the upcoming festivities.
- Have a countdown to the event and other milestones such as the last day for early bird pricing and the last day to purchase tickets.
- Highlight classmates who are attending with a photo and short bio of what they’ve been up to since graduation.
- Shoutout each member of the planning committee and their involvement in the planning.
- Dedicate posts to the venue, any sponsors, and specific activities that will be happening throughout your time together.
Sell Tickets Early with Incentives
Providing incentives can help push people to purchase tickets early and avoid tons of last minute sales. Early bird pricing or incentives such as extra drink tickets or entries to win a prize or raffle are just a few ideas. For more details on incentivizing early purchasers, check out our guide to boost early event ticket sales.
Phase 4: Day-Of Logistics
As the event gets closer, make sure you have all your ducks in a row for a fun event! Here’s some tips for smooth sailing on reunion day/weekend.
Keep The Line Moving with a Smooth Check-In Process
Start the event off right with a smooth and quick check-in process. If you collected payments through RSVPify, you’ll have free access to our integrated check-in feature (that’s right, FREE). You can send the guests QR codes and quickly check that attendees had purchased tickets in advance at the door.
Think About The Little Details
Little details can make a big difference in having a memorable high school reunion! A few small details that make a big impact are…
- Create a playlist of songs that were popular when you were in high school to play throughout the event. You can even request songs from guests during the RSVP process, or make a Facebook post that people can comment song names.
- Have attendees wear name tags! You don’t want attendees to feel embarrassed or stressed out trying to recall names. Make it easy on everyone and provide name tags at event check-in.
- Have a photo-booth and consider hiring a photographer to ensure you get some great shots of the reunion. These will come in handy for promoting the next milestone reunion! Hint: We have some fun ideas on our Pinterest board!
Even when the event is over, make an effort to stay engaged with your classmates between reunions! The first step is to send a follow-up after the event thanking everyone who attended for being there! This is a good time to highlight classmates who came a long way to be there and let attendees know where they can find photos from the event. After that, it’s easy to get disengaged until the next planning season starts, but here a few simple strategies for staying engaged.
- Post periodically in the Facebook group! For example, share news about your hometown/school, life events of classmates, or a reunion throwback every once in a while.
- Keep any extra funds from your reunion in the class’s bank account to send small gifts, cards, or flowers to classmates for major life events. You can’t keep up with everyone, but a small bouquet from the class for someone going through a tough time can really be meaningful.
As we said, planning class reunions is a lot of work. You are a rockstar for taking on this role. Have questions on how RSVPify can help plan your high school reunion? Create a free account and get in touch with us!