Thursday, August 20, 2009

High School Reunions, Make it a Party to Remember!

I went to my high school reunion last weekend and realized that, though there must be thousands of these events all over the country almost every weekend, I never seem to find someone who says they had a blast at their reunion (feel free to let me know if you loved yours and why!). So I got to thinking, and besides being totally open to planning them in the future (for the sake of everyone who will have to go one of these days), there are many ways to make a high school reunion fun, entertaining, and possibly even an event that everyone looks forward to going to! Check them out below.

1. Make your invitation POP! With everyone getting married and having husiness meetings, holiday parties, and conferences, your invitation has to really catch the attention of your classmates! Think about the type of party you're hosting (casual, themed, cocktail hour) and try to get creative with it. Our mascots were the Tigers, so I was inspired with a tiger print "Walk on the Wild Side" theme to show a fun "cocktail hour" lounge theme.

2. Stop the food! We've all been to enough networking and social events to know that the food is not important!! Have enough hours d'ouerves to let people snack, but a full sit down dinner is not necessary. The reason people are attending the reunion is to reaquaint themselves with lost friends and catch up with what's been going on. The last you want to do is lock everyone down to a seat the whole night with food in their mouths. As a candy lover, I'm all about the candy stations with little take home bags that people can pack for later.3. Keep the Drinks Flowing! Not that everyone drinks alcohol, but for those that do, I imagine you'll want a cocktail in hand when you're re-meeting people again. Open bar would be fantastic, but it could also be dangerous. So perhaps allowing the ticket price to include 2 drinks, or if you come early that there's free drinks for the first 30 minutes would be an incentive to come early and start mingling.
Following the theme, create a signature drink! This one is called "Orange Blossom"

4. Play some games. Now this one will depend on the type of class you have, but since everyone attending is obviously interested in learning what everyone else has been doing, might as well make some games out of it and make it fun! Games can be as simple as asking who traveled the furthest, who has been married the longest, who has the most kids, etc. Prizes can be given afterward.

5. Be nostalgic. I personally had a great time in high school but didn't really keep up with as many friends as I'd hoped. I don't quite remember who was in what class and what our theme was for prom, so I would have loved some pictures, posters, or even a slideshow of pictures from the past. Ask guests to submit photos to be put into a slideshow that you can show that evening. Have a photobooth where pictures can be seen from the outside as well, like my fab vendors Photocube. Have the mascots show up for a portion of the party so that alumni can take pictures with them. There are many ways you can bring back that old high school spirit.
6. Invite the family. For those who can't make it to an evening reunion, consider having a picnic in the day time. This is great for those guests who did travel from afar to be there, and it also allows guests with spouses or kids to share in the festivities. This can be as informal as a potluck picnic in the quad of your high school or at the local restaurant hang out.
Reunions are supposed to be fun! Remember that you want to make all your classmates comfortable and make it worthwhile to have traveled all the way there to see everyone again. It should be a good mix of high school/adult mixer/ice breakers so that you can incorporate all types of people. Have fun!

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