Organizing class reunions: saving time and money

You can get headaches from all the planning, organizing and finances that need to be done for a reunion. While it might be fun to attend, reduce the stress of organizing with a few of these tips.

Organizing class reunions: saving time and money

1. Reunite by sunlight

The caterer may try to talk you into a dinner reunion, but a daytime meal will save a bundle.

Daytime meals — breakfast, brunch and lunch — cost a lot less than evening meals because these foods typically cost less, people expect smaller portions, and you can get away with serving less alcohol.

  • At a daytime outdoor reunion, you can organize games like horseshoes and volleyball that will break the ice and encourage people to interact.
  • Daytime events such as picnics or barbecues are also more casual; for example, you can get away with plastic plates rather than fancy, rented china.

2. Trick former classmates into pitching in

Sure, it may have seemed like a great idea to run for class president when you were 17, but 10 or 20 years later, you're stuck planning your high school reunion — a big responsibility.

  • To figure out how much of this work you're able to delegate to others, survey the group and see if anyone is in the event-planning business.

Ask these event planners if they can arrange for a discounted (or free) venue, photographer or caterer. In exchange for your much-appreciated discounts, offer to advertise the businesses prominently at the reunion.

3. Ask attendees for their two cents

Whether you are planning a high school reunion, co-worker reunion or family reunion, one of the best things you can do is to ask attendees for suggestions.

  • Even if you never use their ideas, people love to think that they had a role in creating a fabulous event.
  • Try emailing attendees a survey a few weeks (or months) before the event to ask what their thoughts are on games, activities and themes. Then you can use the best ideas and ignore the others.

4. Spark a prom déjà vu

For a great high school reunion favour, create a replica of the champagne flute you got at your junior prom. It's a little-known fact that giving out these flutes can also save your event organizers some money!

  • If you request that guests drink all alcoholic beverages out of the flutes, you will cut down on alcohol consumption (those flutes don't hold much in the way of beer or cocktails).
  • Also, if your high school reunion is being held in a public place, the flutes will deter reunion crashers on the prowl for free drinks.

5. Find an affordable reunion space

Looking for a place to hold your class reunion? Renting a hall, a dining room at a restaurant or a conference room at a hotel can be an expensive proposition.

  • And if you are the chief organizer, you not only have to make an upfront down payment on the space but also have to nudge your former classmates into paying their fair share.
  • And to be quite frank, many of your classmates might be deadbeats — they think they've done their part just by showing up. But finding affordable space is really not that difficult.
  1. See if one of your former classmates has gone into the restaurant, bar or hotel business and would be more than willing to offer a special deal.
  2. Talk to the administrators at the school itself to see if there is any way to make an arrangement to use the school gym, cafeteria or even the schoolyard. Call the alumni affairs office at your college.
  3. Check the parks department for available space; some even have pavilions you can rent for a moderate fee.
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