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The Eventbrite Guide to Class Reunions

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When it comes to planning a high school reunion, it’s normal to feel some of that pre-exam pressure rushing back. But don’t worry—we’ve helped thousands of class reunion organizers throw the party of the decade. Just follow this handy how-to guide and get ready to plan a reunion that’ll go down in class history.

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1 Plan Your Reunion

When considering how to plan a high school reunion, perception is reality. The more professional you seem, the more likely your classmates are to show up for the big event. So start planning the details early, and your classmates will take notice.

Find Classmates

The first (and arguably most important) step to planning a reunion is finding your classmates. Start with social media and professional networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Create a group for your graduating class on Facebook (if one doesn’t already exist), and spread the word. You can also find and contact fellow university alums on LinkedIn by clicking on “Find Alumni” in the “Connections” tab.

Once your classmates are in one virtual place, you can send out important updates—like Save the Dates and ticket sale announcements.

Lock Down a Date

Once you’ve started assembling your classmates, work on securing a date. Reunion turnouts depend on your classmates’ availability, so get on their calendars early. We recommend using an online survey tool—like Survey Monkey, Google Forms, or Doodle—to ask which dates work best.

Popular times for high school reunions are September and October, because of homecoming and football games, and around Thanksgiving or Christmas, when classmates are already home for the holidays.

Form a Committee

It’s all about teamwork. So reconnect with former classmates, and assign them roles based on their strengths and interests, such as:

  • The Chair: The person making sure the train stays on the rails.

  • The Treasurer: That person who loves tracking expenses.

  • The Promoter: The person you can trust to get the word out.

  • The Producer: The punctual, “make it happen” person.

Don’t forget to list your organizing committee members on the event page.

Create Your Event Page

Once you decide on a date and have your committee formed, it’s time to figure out how you’ll sell tickets to your high school reunion. Online ticketing platforms like Eventbrite are a great way to collect RSVPs and funds at the same time.

At Eventbrite, we’ve got you covered with a one-stop shop where you can create a webpage for your class reunion, spread the word to your classmates, and manage your ticket sales.

Tips

Vibe + Size = Venue

Start by identifying the vibe you’re going for. Will your high school reunion be contemporary and colorful, or sophisticated and formal? Then be realistic about how many people will show up. The last thing you want is a space that you’ll never fill, or an overflowing room of cranky classmates. When evaluating your venue, bring a checklist of questions to ask the manager. Make sure to address parking, WiFi access, storage space, audio-visual equipment, and cleanup protocol.

Set up a class bank account

It’s important to know how you’re going to cover all the reunion expenses. There are a few different approaches, but you may want to consider opening a bank account for your class. That way, you can deposit money into the account and pay for expenses with the bank card. If you’re interested in going this route, we recommend that you check with a legal or financial professional in your area to find out how to get started.

2 Promote Your Reunion

There are typically two spikes in the ticketing lifecycle. It’s common to see one when tickets first go on sale, and then again the week the event is taking place. Knowing that there will be a natural lull, here are a few steps you can take to keep the momentum going.

Set Goals & Timelines

Do you want half of your class to show? A quarter? Start with a goal for yourself and the organizing committee, and then build out a promotional plan to get there.

Think about which channels you want to use - such as Facebook or email - and then create a calendar where you can plan out your promotions. Keep in mind that people will likely procrastinate, so do what you can to build the hype early and get commitment from your classmates.

Track Progress

Once you have identified the channels you’ll use to promote your high school reunion, you need to find a way to track what’s working and what’s not.

Eventbrite offers “tracking links” that allow you to measure the success of every tweet, post, or email that you send. The other option is to ask people when they register how they heard about the class reunion. Trust us, you’ll be thankful you have this info when you make that last push for tickets—or when you start planning the next get-together.

Tap Your Committee

When assembling your organizing committee, consider asking each member to commit to selling a certain number of tickets. Then set a “stretch goal”— 2 to 3 more tickets than you think they can sell.

Use Eventbrite’s tracking links to follow their progress and periodically share how they’re doing. To up the ante, you can even create a little friendly competition by rewarding the highest seller with a gift certificate or bottle of wine.

Set Early Bird Ticket Prices

People on the fence about attending can be motivated to buy if they know they’ll be saving money. By setting up Early Bird tickets at a lower price than regular tickets, you can encourage your classmates to purchase ahead of time, relieving your worries about sales—and allowing you to plan food and drink provisions.

With Eventbrite, you can even set up these different tickets in advance and schedule them to automatically go on sale on a certain date.

Tips

Tap social influencers

Make sure to promote not only the class reunion, but all the fun people going—this will be a huge deciding factor for many people who are hesitant about attending.

Reach out to classmates who were part of different social circles in school, and have stayed in touch with their peers over the years. Ask them for help promoting the class reunion, and then list them as a member of the organizing or host committee on the event page. With Eventbrite, you can also display the names of people who have purchased tickets, so get those social influencers to sign up first.

Throwback Thursday (#tbt)

If you’re on any of the many social networks, you have likely seen the hashtag #tbt used in the caption of a picture that looks like it was taken days, months, or years ago. Throwback Thursday has become a popular way to share photos from the past, so use it to help you promote your reunion. Dig up pictures from school, share them with the #tbt hashtag, and include the link to your high school reunion event page. We guarantee a giggle or two.

3 Host Your Reunion

When the big day arrives, there are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye on. No need to panic — the hard parts are over.

Check In

Regardless of how formal your high school reunion is, be sure to set up a check-in table or greeter. People like to be welcomed rather than wander inside looking lost. It’s also your chance to keep attendance, re-introduce yourself, and let your guests know where the food and drinks are located.

While your classmates may never forget a face, they will inevitably forget a name. So, help ‘em out with nametags at the check-in table. Pre-print them directly through Eventbrite or have your guests make their own.

Make a Playlist

Remember those hits from back in the day? Your friends do too.

Use Eventbrite’s Custom Questions feature to survey your classmates about their favorite old-school songs when they’re purchasing their tickets. Use their responses to create the ultimate throwback playlist. Trust us, your classmates will love it!

Say a Few Words

Chances are, a few of your classmates overcame a bit of anxiety and/or traveled a ways to attend the high school reunion. It’s only appropriate to say a few words and thank everyone for attending. The key is keeping it short...no one came to the reunion to hear a long, drawn-out speech ;)

And if public speaking isn’t your thing, delegate it to someone else. Or, simply raise a glass, say thanks for coming, and get back to celebrating.

# Use a Hashtag

Hashtags are great ways to track the conversation in the lead-up to your high school reunion, so encourage your classmates to use one when they’re posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. etc.

It’s also an easy way to collect pictures from the reunion itself, so be sure to promote your hashtag everywhere at the event.

A few pointers on hashtags:

  • Limit yourself to one hashtag

  • Keep it short and sweet to make it easier for your classmates to remember

  • Post it everywhere and anywhere, including on signage at your event

Tips

Invite a photographer

If you’re going to invest in one thing for your high school reunion, it should be a photographer. Why? The reason you’re all coming together is to recount old memories, so you might as well doc- ument the new ones being made—and chances are, you and your classmates will be too busy making those memories to snap photos.

Remember, it’s less about hiring the best photographer and more about assigning the responsibility to someone. So if you don’t have the budget to hire a professional, consider inviting a friend or sibling with a nice camera.

Decorate on a dime

While you don’t need to stay up all night making personalized place cards, you should think about adding a few nice touches of flair here and there. Our suggestion: Go to a thrift shop and pick up some old picture frames and vases. Spray paint the frames your school colors and insert photos or event signage. Put some matching flowers in the vases and voilà, you’re all set. If you’re looking for more, take a peek at Pinterest, where you’re sure to find plenty of DIY inspiration.

4 Stay Connected

You just threw a phenomenal event, but it’s not over yet. Reach out and thank your attendees for coming, and your host committee for all their help. You may even consider helping out the next class as they think through how to plan a reunion.

Follow Up with an Email

Congrats! You made it! Enjoy that post-event glow a bit, but before you box everything up and get back to livin’, send a note out to your classmates thanking everyone for coming, and requesting that all pictures be sent your way. You can store the photos online in a folder with Box.com or Dropbox.

Thank Your Committee

The most important step in your post-event follow-up is to send a note to your organizing committee thanking them for their help. Email is great, handwritten is better. My mom totally agrees.

Keep Your Data

It’s likely that your next high school reunion is several years down the road, so be sure to pull all of the data (including emails and phone numbers) into one safe place. It’s not a bad idea to store them in a Google Doc, or upload them to the same folder where you’re storing your photos. You can also keep them in your Eventbrite account. You’ll thank yourself when it comes time to plan your next class reunion, trust us.

And if public speaking isn’t your thing, delegate it to someone else. Or, simply raise a glass, say thanks for coming, and get back to celebrating.

Help the Next Class

High school reunion organizing is a rite of passage that every graduating class has to experience. Since you’ve mastered the art, you might as well share your tips and tricks with the next class. Let them know how to promote their reunion, give them tips for selecting a venue, and share the tools you used to get the job done. You can always forward this guide to them as well.

Tips

Get feedback

Follow up with a survey to ask your classmates what they loved (or loathed) about the reunion. Their feedback will not only help you throw better events in the future, it will be excellent advice for the next class planning their reunion.

Be the messenger

There are big moments — both happy and sad — that will happen in your classmates’ lives between now and your next high school reunion. Consider keeping their email addresses close by and sending email updates to your classmates when the time comes to send a card or flowers.

Bonus Points: Make a New Tradition

Not all high school reunions have to look alike, so go ahead and think outside the box! Here are a few reunion ideas to get you started:

  • Tailgate

    Hometown football games tend to draw a good crowd. Consider a big tailgate before the game to gather the old crew.

  • Service Activity

    Rally your classmates and volunteer for a local charity. It feels good to come together as a class and make a positive difference in your community.

  • Trivia Night

    Get the gang back together for a night of trivia. Test everyone’s knowledge of your graduation year or alma mater for some guaranteed laughs.

  • Thanksgiving Eve Pre-Party

    Is everyone headed out the night before Thanksgiving? Take advantage of this tradition! Schedule your high school reunion that night, or make your reunion the pre-party before the class-wide bar crawl.

  • Mimosa Brunch

    If everyone’s coming home for the holidays, consider hosting a brunch filled with champagne and televised football games.

  • Scavenger Hunt

    Get classmates to form teams based on their former homerooms or majors. Send them on a hunt around old stomping grounds and popular hangouts.

Ready to Get this Party Started?

Now that you’re a reunion-planning expert, all you need to do is start setting up your event website. Don’t worry, we’re in it together! Eventbrite has your back with endless tips and tutorials.

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