reunion planning

Planning your own class reunion can be a rewarding and fulfilling activity. The committee brings together individuals who have much in common in order to present an event that can bring excitement and joy into the lives of people with whom you shared a common experience. Your committee is composed of folks who come from the same background, who are all in about the same age group, who had teachers they remember, and who might have been friends and acquaintances years ago. So find out how much fun it can be.

Reunion Planning Timeline

Organizing

Countdown

Hunting for Classmates

Form a committee, choose a secretary, treasurer, facilities contact, graphics artist, publicist, etc. until everyone has a title. Determine a date for the reunion that is available to everyone on the committee. Start a treasury.
12 months

Contact the alumni association, ask for their information about your classmates.  Also, check any published alumni directory. 

Assemble your roster from the alumni database, annuals, commencement announcements, and all other sources available. List all classmates, men and women, by their surnames.
11 months
Search the Internet for those who have identified themselves as your classmates in high school registries. If yours is a renewed committee, obtain the records of any prior planners also.
Mail the initial letter to the class. Announce the date and place (but not necessarily the price) of the reunion, have them verify their addresses and seek their help in locating your classmates and alumni from other classes. Ask that if the letter reached someone with the same name, but not your classmate, they contact you. Continue to mail initial letters to newly found classmates.
10 months
Access student rosters from other classes of your school to find siblings of your missing classmates by common addresses. Ask your committee and anyone else who attended your school for their recollections of missing classmates and their families. Parents may still be living at the same place they did when their children were in school.
Choose a firm to print the “Memory book”, a booklet containing photos of your classmates at the reunion, a directory, list of decedents, etc.

Decide if you want a disk jockey or a band. Choose and engage the person or group of your choice.
Choose and engage a photographer and/or a video taping company.
9 months
Telephone classmates who did not respond to the initial letter, personally invite them to the reunion and fill out the letter with information from the phone conversation.

Continue to do so as new classmates are found and fail to respond to the letter.
Search real estate records for missing men and their brothers, starting in the county of your school, and then proceed to nearby counties and the Internet.
Decide on the details of the reunion, such as these possibilities:
A. Golf outing the afternoon before big night.
B. Brunch the morning after.
C. Picnic that weekend.
The committee needs to decide when all of these activities will start and end, where will they be held, and how much they will cost. All of this information will be necessary for the invitational letter. Also, include an incentive, such as a souvenir or cash discount, for registering and paying two months before the reunion.
8 months
Search brides’ index of marriages records for women classmates and transcribe the certificates.

Mail letters of inquiry to the grooms and witnesses on the marriage applications if their addresses are already known.

Search investigative CD’s for missing women by married and maiden name, but also list for future use information on individuals who appear to be the women’s husband and children because they occupy the same address.
Begin planning the activities for the reunion night. Decide on what prizes will be awarded for what accomplishments. What introductions will be made, and generally who will do what and when.

7 months

Search property records for real estate held in the married name of the missing women, their husbands as named in the marriage certificate, and property held jointly.

1. If the property is owned jointly or in the name of the woman only, send an initial letter.

2. If the property is owned by a man named as the groom on the marriage certificate, send him a letter of inquiry, even if classmate is not a joint owner.
Mail the invitational letter and a biographical sketch form, include a coupon to be returned. In the letter, ask for photos of those who cannot be at the reunion for the Memory book.
6 months but January is best.
Search groom’s index of marriages records for missing men and transcribe the certificates. Search CD’s for wives and children.

Start publicity campaign. 
Decide on souvenirs.

5 months
Search local assessors rolls for property owned by parents or in-laws Send them letters of inquiry.
Prepare Memorabilia posters, centerpieces, and other decorations.
4 months
Search investigative CD’s for husbands, wives, brothers, and children of still missing classmates. Send them letters of inquiry.

Send letters of inquiry to former neighbors when old address is known.
Resolve how decedents will be honored.
3 months
Search for death certificates of parents, and write to the informant.
Mail a follow-up letter to those who did not register, listing those who will be there.

Copy pictures from annual for name tags.

2 months

Search the Internet in remaining categories. Follow up on all unexplored leads and non responses. Generally wrap up loose ends.
Prepare labeled envelopes for video company. Finalize reception desk procedures Discontinue sending initial letters to newly found classmates.

1 month

Prepare supplemental pages for Memory Book from information gathered by biographical sketches. Use biographical pages to determine who wins prizes.

2 weeks

Print Biography Book. Prepare cards for photographer.
1 week
Prepare a list of missing classmates for inclusion in Biography Book.
Prepare name tags, photographer’s cards, etc. for last minute registrations. Assemble name tags, meal tickets, small souvenirs, photographer’s cards, tickets for drawings, etc. into labeled envelopes for distribution at the reception table.
3 days
Start publicity campaign. Decide on souvenirs.
5 months
Search local assessors rolls for property owned by parents or in-laws Send them letters of inquiry.