Having never planned a high school reunion before, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I wish I had known in advance:
- Pick a date about 9 months in advance, announce it, and then don’t think about it for 7 months. You don’t need to spend 7 months meeting, discussing, and meeting again. The last two months are sufficient for pulling all of the details together.
- Convince 5-10 people to volunteer. Even if you think you can do all of the work, getting buy-in from others means there are other people with a vested interest in making the reunion a success.
- Choose a venue that’s a good fit for a high school reunion. We ended up at On Deck Sports Bar and Grill, which regularly hosts reunions. This was awesome, because it meant they already had some of the logistics covered.
- Rent a couple sets of cornhole. Ladder Golf and giant Jenga are fun too, but cornhole seems to be the winner for parties.
- Put conversation starters on the name tags. Make them fun, and not offensive, to make them a good entry point into re-meeting someone you haven’t talked to in 10 years.
- As a host, put extra effort into circulating, striking conversations with people, and making people feel welcome. Everyone initially feels super awkward about being a high school reunion. If you can help them break the ice, they’ll get into enjoying the party much quicker.
- Purchase a pony keg to keep the alcohol flowing for those who want to keep drinking after their drink tickets run out. I think offering the pony key was the right balance between not having enough drink tickets, and everyone getting smashed.
- Put a little bit of effort into decorating to make the venue feel special. We had a banner, “Welcome Tualatin High School Class of 2006”, and some light decorations at every table.
We had a ton of fun last Saturday night. I’m super glad I volunteered to help out (I wasn’t on ASB or anything). And, now I know what’s involved for next time!