Want to gather family or old friends? Know what you’re getting into.
here’s nothing quite like the experience of gathering with past school friends or far-away family members for a reunion. For baby boomers, the desire to attend these functions may seem stronger than in years past.
“Like a fine wine, relationships with family and close friends get better with age, as both we and the relationships mature,” says Herschel M. Chicowitz, boomer-in-charge at www.BabyBoomerHeadquarters.com.
According to a 2007 survey by Reunions Magazine, more than 68 percent of folks in charge of planning a reunion begin preparations a year in advance. For small-scale get-togethers, planners likely won’t require as much time.
Consider the following tips to ensure smooth planning and a memorable reunion:
“Maybe the most important thing is that planning a successful reunion will likely take a lot more effort than one thought,” says Chicowitz. “The success of the reunion ultimately depends primarily on the efforts and skills of the organizers and the enthusiasm of the attendees.” Before committing to the planning process, make sure you’re up for a time-consuming, but rewarding, challenge.
Get a location
Selecting a venue can be tricky, but it must be done early in the process. Banquet halls will likely require at least six months in advance to secure a date, while sites such as parks will demand much less. Pick a centrally located spot that will easily accommodate the size and style of your event. As the organizer, you’ll be asked to pay a deposit that you won’t likely see again until reunion time.
Get a list
The lengthiest part of planning is coming up with a contact list for attendees. When you’re gathering old school friends, start with the school attended and consult its alumni records, says Chicowitz. Ask everyone you have current information for to search online with sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. It’s hard to tell how long this will take, so begin well in advance of reunion time.
Get lost in the details
Once your venue and date are determined, you’re ready to delve into details like food, drinks, entertainment, securing nearby hotels, commemorative items and any supplies not included by the venue. Consult the checklist at www.reunionannouncements.com to ensure you’ve covered all your bases. Now is also the time to consider whether your event will include any ancillary events, whether you’ll invite teachers if hosting a school event, how you’ll handle inclement weather and identifying adults-only events when applicable.
There are many sites that assist in the planning process, including Chicowitz’s site. Baby Boomer Headquarters acts as a focal point for communication related to your event and can offer services like video documentation. Look into the variety of planning assistance available on the Web to lessen the burden of organizing the entire event.
As the details of the reunion mount, so does the cost. “One of the trickiest parts may be coming up with a realistic cost for each attendee,” says Chicowitz. “The larger the number of attendees, the lower the individual cost, but it’s important to establish a realistic, accurate figure.” That means making sure nothing is left out of the equation, but also keeping the number low enough so most people on the list can afford to be there. Set a firm day of payment for 30 days in advance for all those who plan to attend.