Your guide to plan, sell tickets, and host the perfect class reunion.
PLAN YOUR CLASS REUNION
SELECT YOUR PLANNING COMMITTEE
Ideally these folks will be your back-up and help to lighten the load. When choosing who you should have on your planning committee, pick people who you will not only get along with but people who have enough free time to help you out. Keep in mind that having a diverse group of committee members means that each will bring a different set of skills to the table.
HOLD YOUR FIRST MEETING AND SET THE DATE
It’s important to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. When you’ve narrowed down who will be on your class reunion planning committee, get together at the earliest opportunity to set a date. That way you have a concrete time frame in which to get everything done. This will help immensely when you start laying out your reunion’s timeline.
FIGURE OUT A BUDGET
Once you have your activities planned you’ll be able to estimate how much money you’ll need. The venue rentals, catering, production services (videographers, DJs, and photographers), outside activities, and any service related fees vary tremendously, so do some footwork in order to get the best price/value combination. And it’s always a good idea to overestimate so you don’t run into problems as the date approaches.
CHOOSE A TICKETING PLATFORM
Choose the best ticketing platform to sell tickets to your class reunion, taking into consideration:
- how easy the platform is to use?
- is there a fee for organizers to use the platform?
- can the platform service fee be passed on to the buyer? is there a discounted ticketing fee for class reunions?
- can you connect to a Stripe or PayPal payment processor account? This will allow you to collect funds after every sale versus waiting until after your event to get paid.
- are there registration and promotional tools to help save time?
Ticketstripe checks all the above boxes and more. Our platform is free for organizers to use and we offer a discounted nonprofit ticket pricing that can be passed on to the buyer. This brings the costs down for your guests and enables you to collect the full value of your ticket price. Additionally, when you connect to a Stripe payment processor account, you can pass on the merchant fees, ensuring maximum cash flow for your class reunion expenses.
PLAN THE HIJINKS (A.K.A. “ACTIVITIES”)
The point of having a reunion is to get people who haven’t seen each other in years together, but then what? Chances are things will be quite boring (picture crickets chirping) if you don’t have some sort of structured activities for the guests to engage in.
Ideally you should have some sort of ice breaker game to get tongues wagging right off the bat. You should also have a video or slide show – something that helps you all reminisce about the way things were – which will probably earn some laughs and go a long way toward getting people to interact.
Quiet time is also highly recommended, or set aside a given area so people can catch up on their own terms without feeling like they’re holding the group back. Whether your reunion is a one-night affair or takes place over a long weekend, pacing is important. Giving people a little breather between events allows them to de-stress and refresh.
RECON AND RESERVE YOUR VENUE
The biggest ticket item you’ll have to foot the bill for is your venue. However, you may not need a fancy ballroom that holds three hundred people. Some of the best reunions are laid back affairs in intimate settings. Once you have an estimated attendance number and a budget, contact possible venues immediately.
To avoid SNAFUs with double-bookings, rate discrepancies, and “lost” reservations, book early and get everything in writing. (Also, call to confirm a month or so in advance).
24 MONTHS OUT
Form a committee of enthusiastic and energetic alumni to help you with all of the “heavy lifting.”
Brainstorm ideas for venues, entertainment, and catering (and remember it’s okay if you don’t want to do a big fancy production; however, even backyard barbecues take a lot of planning when large numbers of guests are involved.)
Plot out basic activities for during the reunion: school tours, homecoming games, rounds of golf, spa dates for the ladies – everything and anything right down to the ice breaking games you’d like to try.
Set the date or dates. Keep in mind that a multi-day reunion gives your guests the chance to really connect and will create a very memorable experience, whereas a single evening event may just be too short.
Begin to shop around for venues (go online, make calls, visit these places in person.) The venue is probably the most important part of your reunion planning and will determine what else can and will go on from the catering right down to the number of people you can invite.
Develop a budget that fits your needs based on the number of people you intend to invite. This preliminary budget can be altered once the details are nailed down, but going into the planning phase without an estimate of how much you can and should spend is a bad idea.
Choose the best ticketing platform to sell tickets to your class reunion. Important items to consider are ease of use, organizer fees, ticketing service fees, payment processor options (which will determine if you can collect funds after every sale or need to wait until after the event), and promotional tools.
Start digging up those addresses – email or otherwise – telephone numbers, social profiles, and friend-of-a-friend contacts so you can track down all of your old classmates. This process can sometimes take time so start soon.
18 MONTHS OUT
Finalize your venue. Doing so this far in advance will not only ensure that the place is available on your dates, but will provide you something to “hang” the rest of the reunion on during the planning process.
Another thing to keep in mind – especially if you’re planning a multi-day reunion or are expecting a large group of alumni – make sure there are hotel facilities available for your guests. One option is to reserve blocks of rooms at one facility. That way everybody is in one place and the reunion can carry over even after the guests have left the venue.
Now is also the time to line up any services you’re planning on having: catering, valet parking, photography/videography. These professionals are often in high demand and reserving their time this far in advance will help avoid scheduling conflicts and help you to choose the right provider.
12 MONTHS OUT
Create your event page with details about the class reunion, such as the venue location and a brief description. You can always update this description down the line.
Figure out your ticket prices and list them for sale. Be sure to pass on the fees so there is no cost to the organizer.
Promote your reunion by sharing the event page on social channels and via email. Your event page is a “one-stop shop” where guests can get all the info they need, purchase tickets and share it with their friends. You may event contact your old school or alumni association and ask them to include it in their newsletter or social profiles.
Put down deposits: venue, service providers, and entertainment providers.
6 MONTHS OUT
Call all of your service providers – including the venue – to confirm your date. This is a very important step and will help avoid any last minute SNAFUs that might derail your reunion.
Meet with hotel and reunion venue staff to go over your expectations and limitations.
1 MONTH OUT
Finalize the last minute details and use your ticketing platform’s flexible attendee management tools to generate digital tickets for guests that pay offline. This will keep your attendee registration accurate and all in one place.
Continue to promote via social channels and email to make sure you reach as many alumni as possible. This will also keep the event fresh in the minds of your guests. Remember, with Ticketstripe you have complete control over your event and attendee information. You can refund tickets, reassign orders, and send emails to all or segments of your attendees.
PROMOTE YOUR CLASS REUNION
CHOOSE YOUR PAYMENT PROCESSOR
With Ticketstripe you have the option to connect your account with Stripe or PayPal. Most school reunion organizers prefer Stripe as this option allows you to pass both the payment processing and service fees to the ticket buyer. This article can help you choose which merchant is right for your class reunion.
Signing up for a Stripe account is easy, but we’ve compiled some helpful info to make it even easier:
Stripe will ask for the legal name of your business and EIN. Most of the time school reunion organizers do not operate as a business and you can process sales as an individual via Stripe. When you connect to Stripe, choose “Sole proprietorship” as a type of business/organization and for EIN use the primary organizer’s personal SSN. Your SSN (or EIN) is legally required to accept credit card payments.
Here is some quick info directly from Stripe on this topic:
Finally, you do not have to be a registered nonprofit in order to get our discounted pricing with Ticketstripe. All school reunions qualify for the our reduced ticketing rate of 1.50% + 50¢ per ticket sold.
CREATE YOUR EVENT PAGE
Having one event page where your guests can gather all the information they need (date, time, location, description of event), and from which they can purchase tickets is essential. Anything you can do to make the process easier for your guests will not only improve their experience, but will also increase your attendance rate.
Ticketstripe’s event pages make it easy for your guests to purchase tickets on any device quickly.
LIST TICKETS FOR SALE
As soon as you’ve reserved the venue, list your tickets for sale. The sooner you can get the word out, the better chances your guests will be able to attend.
Keep in mind, ticket prices can be used to offset the cost of the reunion, but they may not cover everything. If you set your prices too high, you’ll have fewer people – too low and you’ll be stuck paying off a huge bill. Find somewhere in the middle and promote your event for maximum attendance.
With Ticketstripe you can also list donations on your event page, which will help cover expenses.
MAKE A LIST OF ALUMNI AND SHARE YOUR EVENT PAGE
You can start by contacting your old alma mater to see if they have a list of names and addresses or you could check with the alumni association if one exists. From there, you can ask those for which you have contact information about others who have “disappeared.” Use social sites to find people you’ve lost contact with and share your reunion’s event page.
FINDING OLD CLASSMATES
Use social platforms and dedicated services like Classmates.com to connect with old classmates. Keep in mind that your fellow former students may be the best resource.
When contacting a potential guest, ask them if they have information about other former students. And don’t forget to ask about relatives of those people as well – sometimes your former classmates may “drop off the face of the earth” but their parents or siblings may be easier to find.
GETTING EVERYONE TO SHOW UP
Promote your event page that contains all the necessary info: location, time, contact information and tickets. Then, get in touch through snail mail, email, and even telephone or text. Don’t forget to send out email reminders as the date gets closer – people forget.
THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK TO HAVE A REUNION
Ideally, weekend days work best with Saturdays being the best out of the bunch. People tend to work on Fridays and spend time with family on Sundays. However, if you’re planning a multi-day event, beginning the festivities on a Friday will optimize the amount of time you have available.
TO CATER OR NOT TO CATER
All reunions should have some sort of food competent – eating is a social activity and can break the ice easier than any name game you might play. However, that doesn’t mean you need to hire an expensive caterer and serve a four course meal.
Some reunions work just fine as pot luck dinners, others work better with professionally crafted hors d’oeuvres. And, if your reunion is a little more elegant, you’re probably want to cater a sit-down dinner sorts. What you offer depends a lot on what type of reunion you’re planning and which venue you choose – so start planning early to explore all your options.
HOST YOUR CLASS REUNION AND HAVE FUN!
The most important part! Your class reunion should be a blast—not only for your guests but for you as well. Don’t let the planning and hosting duties overwhelm you. Give yourself permission to have a good time and let your guests do the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHERE TO SELL TICKETS FOR MY CLASS REUNION?
Sell tickets to your class reunion with Ticketstripe – the ticketing platform trusted by thousands of school reunion organizers! Our platform is incredibly easy to use, management & promotional tools are free – and the best part – fast direct deposits. Sign up for a free account today and start selling tickets to your class reunion in minutes.
WHEN SHOULD WE START PLANNING?
If possible, begin planning your reunion two years from the date. However, 12 months is generally enough time to plan a successful reunion. Keep in mind allotting that much time can ease the planning process and help minimize the effect planning the event has on your personal life.
WHAT SORT OF EVENT SHOULD WE PLAN?
This depends on your class as a whole. Whether you’re planning an elegant and refined event or a backyard barbecue, it’s important to take into account the attitudes and demeanor of your former classmates. Some may enjoy a more relaxed event – which are generally more “fun” and allow people to really catch-up – while others are looking for something a little more refined. In the end, it boils down to personal taste.
HOW BIG SHOULD OUR BUDGET BE?
That depends on the number of people you’re inviting and the estimated cost of your event. One of the biggest costs will be venue rentals. The next highest will probably be catering, followed by entertainers (if any) and reserving hotel space for travelers. Once you have a ballpark idea about those costs – which depend on the type and length of class reunion you’re planning – you can then narrow down a budget.
WHAT SORTS OF GIVEAWAYS/GIFTS SHOULD WE HAVE?
Gifts are something that your guests can take away and remember the reunion by. You may choose to have small remembrances for each guest (photos, tickets to a homecoming game) or bigger “prizes” you can use for “awards ceremonies” or as incentive for participation in ice breaking games.
These can range from floral arrangements to spa day gift certificates or even weekend getaways (ask the venue for special rates). It all depends on your budget, your guests, and how much time and effort you want to put in.
WHAT SORT OF ACTIVITIES SHOULD WE HAVE AT OUR REUNION?
You can go extravagant and plan spa days, golf games, a full-on concert with a local band – based on your budget of course – but there are a few things that every class reunion should have:
- Ice breaker games to get people talking
- Some sort of walk down memory lane (slideshow, video, yearbook presentation)
- A memorial for classmates who have passed away
- “Quiet time” so small groups of classmates can catch-up at their own speed
- Presentation of “awards” (the most changed, the most similar, etc.)
- Recognition of individuals and their achievements (Somebody raised two children? Published a best-seller? Started their own company?)
- Giveaways or gifts (anything from flowers from a local florist to full weekend getaways and anything in between)
HOW CAN WE FIND THE BEST VENUE AT THE BEST POSSIBLE PRICE?
That comes down to good old fashioned footwork. Research what sort of venues are available in your area. Then, contact those venues and ask questions until you’re blue in the face. How many guests can you have? What’s the best price? Are there any discounts? Next, visit the venue in person to see if it suits your needs.
WHERE SHOULD WE HOLD OUR REUNION?
That depends on the type of event and the number of guests. While many reunions are held at conference centers or even dedicated events centers, some reunions are held on campus (especially college reunions). And, if simple is the name of your game, one of your classmate’s backyards or camps may be the ideal place. Wherever you choose to hold your event, securing the venues should be one of your first priorities as these places tend to be very busy – especially during certain times of the year.
HOW CAN WE AVOID A CRUNCH-TIME CRISIS?
Start early and double-check arrangements often. Don’t wait until a week before the event to call the venue and confirm. Also, get everything in writing and pay deposits. Putting money down will make service providers and venue rental staff less likely to “forget” or “misplace” your reservations.
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