High school reunion planning can be a daunting task—but when executed properly, you’ll have everyone reliving their glory days in no time. Or, at the very least, you’ll throw a darn good party.
You might be asking yourself where’s the best place even to get started when it comes to planning a high school reunion. If you take away only one thing from this article, know this one thing—the more planning, the better.
What do we mean? Under-planning is a bit like understudying. Remember that feeling in high school when you walked into an exam that you weren’t in any way prepared for? You remember it: the panic, the dread, the pit in your stomach. You don’t want to feel that way leading up to the class reunion because you forgot to invite someone, things went amiss, or you didn’t think of something.
Now before your palms start to get clammy with the seemingly intimidating task of class reunion planning, let us help guide you through the steps.
Step 1: Form A Committee
Planning a high school reunion typically falls on the class president as well as class officers, but there’s no hard and fast rule that it has to be one of them. Perhaps the class president has moved far away or just has little interest in organizing the get-together. Either way, it’s a great idea to reach out the class president as well as some other well-to-do members of the student body to see if anybody is planning anything or if there’s any interest.
Once a clear planning leader is identified, it’s time to get the ball rolling. It would be wise to form a committee of multiple people to help as well. The size of your committee will depend on how large or small your school body was. Generally speaking, 1 committee member to every 25 is a good gauge for determining how many hands you should have on deck for class reunion planning. Some of the potential roles include:
- Reunion Chair—the overall leader who organizes the committee
- Treasurer—in charge of all monetary duties and staying within the budget
- Catering & Beverage Chair—one or two people who help to lock down a location as well as food and beverage options
- Contact and Invitation Chair—responsible for tracking down classmates as well as managing RSVPs
- Decoration Chair—in charge of all decorations, banners, and memorabilia
Step 2: Connect to Reconnect
From the jocks to the drama kids to the debate club, it’s time to find those old classmates! You may be able to reach out to your old school for an electronic or paper list to help ensure you’ve covered everyone, especially if you were part of a large class.
The next question is how do you go about finding them? If you’re in charge of tracking down classmates, you may be reluctant to use Facebook as some classmates might have left Facebook altogether. While Facebook may be old news for some people, they might still be active on LinkedIn, Instagram, or other social media channels.
The easiest and most efficient way of reconnecting with everyone is to direct them to a centralized messaging board like Guestboard. When you sign up on Guestboard, you can create an event and receive a specialized link to send to your classmates whether it is via their email, LinkedIn profile, or social media channels. This link becomes their key to everything class reunion related. They can see who else is attending, participate in threads, and stay up-to-date on plans every step of the way.
Step 3: Money Matters—Establish a Budget
So, you’ve formed a committee and started buzz around the event, now it is time to establish a budget. Some high schools have a built-in class fund which can be used for reunions, while other high schools take no part, leaving the fiscal responsibilities to the former students.
But, there are plenty of options to help raise funds necessary for the reunion, so the committee doesn’t have to front all the costs in the beginning. Once a preliminary budget is established, other members of the committee can start looking for locations and planning food and drinks.
Step 4: Nail Down the Location
Once the classmates are tracked down and interest is generated, you’ll want to nail down a location based roughly off RSVPs, preferably with room to grow. While many people’s first inclination may be to decline a reunion due to a number of reasons (busy schedules, travel, etc.), they might change their mind when more and more buzz starts to happen, and the promise of seeing old friends becomes more concrete.
Some high school reunions occur at the high school itself, but others like to throw a get-together off-site. You can use Guestboard to source ideas for possible locations from classmates, and then narrow it down further as a committee.
Step 5: Plan the Food and Beverages
Next, it’s time to sort out the food and beverage aspect. Will you serve just hors d’oeuvres? Small plates? Does the location offer catering, or will you need to bring in your own food? Will alcohol be served?
If you’re in charge of this aspect of your high school reunion planning, you’ll want to work closely with the Class Treasurer to ensure you keep it within the budget.
Step 6: Boost School Spirit
There’s always a bit of nostalgia when it comes to your alma mater and its familiar colors or mascots, so why not decorate the venue with a little school spirit? At this point in the planning process, the Decorations Chair can decide what will help give the night a bit of pizzazz.
A popular idea for high school reunions is photo slideshows, which can be created by the Decoration committee. Ask for old photographs ahead of time from attendees to create this, or take a look at some other decorations ideas here.
Step 7: Send Out Reminders
At this point in your planning, hopefully, the buzz is still growing, and the RSVPs are flowing in. But there might still be a few stragglers who have yet to answer. Depending on your planning timeline (see ours below!), you’ll want to send out final reminders for the reunion.
Resend the invitation link via Guestboard to anyone who hasn’t yet responded, connect on social media channels, or go rogue and give them a telephone call. Not only is the more the merrier when it comes to the reunion, but you’ll soon need a final count for the venue and caterers.
Step 8: Party like it’s [whatever year you graduated]
All your high school reunion planning has paid off, so it’s time to enjoy the evening finally, right? Maybe old friendships will pick up where they left off, old stories will be rehashed, or perhaps even old romances rekindled. You’ll be transported back in time, if only for a night.
In any case, your classmates will reward you with an A+ for your efforts.
Sound like a fun time? Get started planning a high school reunion by creating an event on Guestboard and reconnecting with old classmates. And If you need help with a planning timeline, check out ours below!
High School Reunion Planning Checklist/Timeline:
12 months in advance:
- Put out feelers for interest in a high school reunion
- Start a planning committee and organize first meeting
- Set preliminary budget
- Start a list of as many classmates as you can think of!
8-12 months in advance:
- Second planning meeting
- Finalize date of event
- Plan fundraising opportunities if necessary
- Send event invitations via Guestboard
- Book venue
- Book caterer
4 -8 Months in advance:
- Third planning meeting
- Click “resend invite” on Guestboard’s Guest List tab to remind anyone who hasn’t yet RSVP’d
- Plan décor, centerpieces, and displays, if necessary
1-3 Months in advance:
- Assemble slide shows or videos
- Send final reminders
The Final Weeks:
- Prepare guest lists for registration table
- Create name tags
- Share final meal count with caterer
- Confirm with all vendors, suppliers, and donors
- Decorate room, tables, displays
- Set up registration area
Ready to kick off your high school reunion planning? Create an event!