Want to know the single biggest problem with determining the per person cost of a class reunion?
Making the wrong assumptions.
Many a class reunion has been ruined because the planners did not estimate the true expenses of a class reunion and ended up running short at the end.
So how can one determine the right price for a class reunion? Start by asking the right questions.
Figuring out the cost per person starts with answering three questions that will have the largest affect on the cost per person for a class reunion.
- How long will the class reunion be? A full weekend or just a day?
- What type of class reunion will it be? Elaborate banquets or potluck BBQ?
- Location. Will you hold it in a fancy hotel ballroom or will the entire event be held at a classmate’s house or park.
The cost per person will be very different for a class reunion that occurs over a weekend (hotels, banquets, activities) versus a BBQ picnic in the park.
Once you have answered these questions, its time to make some assumptions about how many classmates will attend the reunion.
Guesstimate How Many Will Attend
Attendance varies by school and by class. If this is not the first reunion for your class, then use the average number of attendees over the past few class reunions to come up with a number.
If this is your first class reunion, then start by asking the alumni office for historic class reunion attendance numbers at your high school or college. Most schools keep these records and you can base your expected attendance on the number that the school provides.
Most schools end up with anywhere from 15-30% attendance during a class reunion. As a general rule, the smaller the graduating class, the higher the attendance percentage.
Once you know the type of class reunion and have determined a reasonable attendance percentage, it is time to get estimated costs for expenses.
When making initial estimates, it is best to start by getting costs for high ticket items.
For example, if you are planning a class reunion for a weekend, the biggest costs would be hotels, catering, decorations, communications, and Activities/Entertainment. Get the estimated expenses for these first. All the other minor expenses can be guesstimated.
Here is a sample class reunion per person cost worksheet.
Some things to keep in mind regarding expenses for a class reunion are:
If you are inviting a lot of out of town guests, make sure you block hotel rooms for them. In addition to getting discounted group hotel rates up to 70% off, blocking hotel rooms will also provide the following advantages:
- Free hotel rooms for class reunion planners
- Free hospitality suite at the hotel
- Discounts on catering for a banquet at the hotel
- Free meeting rooms
Learn more about blocking hotel rooms by reading “How to block hotel rooms for a class reunion“.
Class Reunion Banquet
Is there a rental fee? Can it be waived? Is there a setup fee? What are the taxes and gratuities? Can you bring in your own caterer? Can you bring in your own decorations? Are there additional expenses involved with choosing linen colors? Are soda and coffee included in the price or are those additional?
Are you going to have alcoholic drinks at the banquet? If so, what is cost of having a bar at the banquet? Will there be an open bar?
For more information, read our article “Class Reunion Catering Tips“.
Will most of your communications with classmates be through the class reunion website, Facebook and email? Or, will you send out physical invites, save the date cards and registration forms? Or will it be a combination of both?
Instead of developing new invites, registration forms etc., can the alumni office provide templates used by previous class reunions?
Read more about communicating with classmates.
Whether you are planning a picnic in the park or a large banquet at a local hotel, you will need to decorate it. Do you have a class reunion theme? If so, will you need to rent anything to make the theme come alive?
Will you need special centerpieces, balloons (Helium tanks etc.), a welcome banner, and display materials? To read more, read “How To Decorate A Class Reunion With Nostalgia And School Spirit”
Activities and Entertainment
Will you have a DJ at the banquet? Will there be any other kind of entertainment? How about entertainment for the kids? Will there be a clown or even a magician? What kind of activities should be planned for the daytime to keep people busy? Should these activities be included or should they be a la carte?
Everything costs money and there is no way to plan for everything. Make sure to add 5-10% on top of all your known expenses to account for unexpected costs. Trust us, you will need it.
Now that you have all the estimates, figuring out the cost per person is easy.
Determine The Cost Per Person For A Class Reunion
In order to determine the per person cost for the class reunion, add up all expected expenses and divide this by the expected attendees. The resulting dollar figure is the amount you should charge as the registration fee for the class reunion.
Is the cost person too high?
If the cost per person seems high, now is the time to lower it by looking at where costs can be cut. Here is where to start looking to make initial cuts:
- Remove non-essential items like streamers or go for cheaper centerpieces.
- Choose a different caterer or look at another venue altogether.
- Consider doing fundraising events, bingo nights, and car washes to raise additional funds?
- How about selling ads in the memory book or the class reunion website?
Every dollar raised is one less dollar that needs to be paid by classmates. And the lower the class reunion ticket price, the higher the attendance.
So What Is The Right Price For A Class Reunion?
For one day class reunions, a price lower than $50.00 per person is generally acceptable. For a weekend event, a price around $100 brings the most people.
Setting the price for a class reunion requires a lot of thought and research. Use the method above to calculate the cost per person for your class reunion. Use this download to make it even easier.
What should you read next?
Since we’re talking budgets, let’s go over some ways to reduce the cost of your class reunion.