Without knowing these three things, invitations cannot be printed, hotel rooms cannot be blocked, and caterers cannot be hired.
Use the recommendations below to brainstorm with the class reunion planning committee and come up with dates, locations, and a theme for your class reunion.
Select A Date For The Class Reunion
Selecting the dates of the class reunion can be simple or complicated, depending on the choices that are open to you. The factors below should be considered before a decision is made.
Most class reunions are held in the summer, especially the 10th, 20th, and 30th ones. If your classmates are of child rearing age, then summer is the best time to schedule any kind of reunion. Any other time would conflict with the school year and will result in lower attendance.
If the class reunion is going to be held at the school, then find out ff there are any date restrictions. Some schools only allow class reunions on certain weekends (e.x. Homecoming weekend).
Another factor to consider is school availability. Is the banquet space at the college or high school available for the dates you have in mind?
If a hotel will be used to block rooms for out of town classmates, then it would be prudent to inquire about their availability during potential dates. You can get availability and rates easily by filling out our group hotel rates request form. Additionally, research should be done to uncover busy and slow weekends so you can get low group hotel rates.
Keep in mind that while the reunion may have to occur in the summer (A busy season for hotels and caterers), there are several weekends that are “soft”. Many times, a hotel sales manager will outright tell you what their “need” dates are. Plan the class reunion around a slow weekend and you could score some great concessions. To learn more, read about how to block hotel rooms for a class reunion.
If you end up scheduling the class reunion on a busy weekend, not only will classmates pay more for hotels, there will be a premium on photographers, videographers, caterers, and entertainers.
Location Of Class Reunion
Where should your class reunion be? The most obvious and best answer is at the school. The advantages are tremendous in terms of cost and attendance.
Schools generally do not charge rent to class reunions for their banquets. In fact, many even provide linen, decorations, and AV equipment for free too.
Attendance is another reason to have the class reunion at the school. Many classmates may not have been back since they graduated and will be very curious about what changes have occurred.
Another reason to host the class reunion at the school is that you have access to free help from student volunteers. They can help at registration, waiting tables, decorate, and cleanup. And the grand total cost for all this help is nothing (We would recommend some kind of tip though).
If the school is not available or does not have adequate space for the class reunion, then you next best choice would be a hotel. Since you will be blocking hotel rooms for out of town guests anyways, why not package the whole event with a banquet too.Learn more by reading “Want to learn how to block hotel rooms for a class reunion?”
Most hotels will offer significant discounts on meeting rooms, AV equipment, and menu prices provided that you reserve rooms.
Many hotels will even offer a free hospitality suite, and let you bring in your own AV equipment if the business is large enough (More than 50 rooms per night usually).
Questions You Should Ask A Hotel
- How good is the transportation between the airport and the hotel? Is there a possibility of providing a shuttle to the school?
- Can they provide you contact information of other class reunions that hosted their event at the hotel?
- What are the seasonally busy time periods for this hotel? Is there a part of the busy season that is slow traditionally? Is there is shoulder season (Months that surround the busy periods)?
- What are the cancellation, and attrition policies? Are they written in stone or can you have them altered?
- Are they willing to offer a free hospitality suite? A free hotel room (comp room) if you block a certain number of rooms?
- Check for fees that the hotel charges (like resort fee, parking fee, corkage fee etc.)
If a hotel is not an affordable option for the class reunion, then try using a local community center or the Elks lodge. There are many churches that offer their banquet halls for rent too. Most of these places are near schools and in town so they should not be difficult to find for attendees.
While not exactly a location, a class reunion cruise has become an immensely popular choice. The all inclusive nature of the event makes it very attractive for attendees as does island hopping. This choice is highly recommended for class reunions that have good attendance history and strong reunion bonds. To learn more, read our article on the advantages of class reunion cruises.
Type of Class Reunion
In order to determine what kind of class reunion you want to have, you will have to decide on the theme that will attract a maximum number of attendees.
For example, if you graduated in the 1970’s, you could create a whole theme around Elvis. Set up the banquet space to look like it belongs in the 70’s and have the music of that era played by the DJ. To take it a step further, hire some professional dancers that can dance popular routines from the 70’s to get people started. Lastly, require everyone to dress like they belong in the 70’s (the long sideburns too).
Extend the theme to every part of the class reunion for maximum effect. For example, if you’re renting out the bowling alley, then have them play music from the 70’s. Also, ask the manager if they can make their wait staff play the part by dressing in clothes from that era.
There are so many things you can do when it comes to a theme. The only thing you are restricted by is your imagination and creativity.
What should you read next?
Since you’re planning a class reunion, why not get some great tips to help you organize the event.