20-Year Reunion

My brother is in the throes of helping to organize his 20-year reunion. Since mine was just last year (and Sue’s will be next year – hey, is this how I got in the habit of sharing information – by sharing info with my younger sibs?), Songbae has been passing along reunion info and getting feedback. He sent this quick article from the Washington Post (Oct 2006), which I think has great tips.

A Class Reunion Primer
Before you head off to your reunion, check out these tips for making the best of it:
Get the DJ on your side. The Montgomery Blair reunion led off with Tony Bennett — hardly the stuff to lure 1986 alumni onto the dance floor. Marnie Rode quickly requested funk music. “I know our class — our poms and our cheerleaders did stuff to funk songs — and if it’s funky,w e’ll get out and dance.” Also, slow songs are reunion buzz kills. It’s best to keep the music upbeat.

Make sure your reunion committee is diverse. Rode co-chaired the reunion with Rebecca Lertora. The two were friendly in high school, but “she hung out with completely different people than I did,” Lertora says. “I think that’s why we’re so successful” at drawing a diverse crowd.

Look your best. People. Will. Check. You. Out.
Make a weekend of it. Lertora, who lives in Loudoun County, got a hotel room at the Hyatt, the site of the reunion, with three of her closest high school girlfriends. Though only one was visiting from out of town, the gathering in their room was a mini-reunion all its own. And nothing says high school like a slumber party.

Sign up in advance. As with any party, reunion planners need to know how many people they will have to entertain and feed.

Bring your significant other. This was the resounding consensus among Montgomery Blair reunion-goers. “If your spouse went to high school with you or knows people, then fine,” says Rachel James, who left her husband at their Tysons Corner home. “But if they didn’t, they have a lousyt ime. This way I can have fun and not feel guilty.”

Worry about remembering names. Most reunion organizers have name tags on hand for everyone in the class, regardless of registration. “Hopefully the names are big enough that you can do the quick scan down,” says Shelly Modes of Capital Reunions. Name tags typically include a classmate’s yearbook photo, too.

Think every reunion is the same. Different people turn out for different reunions, and each one has a different vibe. At a 10-year reunion, people typically come with a little more to prove. There, “if people are successful, they obviously want to let people know they are successful,” says Great Reunions’ Sandy Gosper. “After 20 years, it’s just trying to rekindle the past. At the 30- and 40- and 50-year reunions, they really don’t care — they just want to go and have a good time.”

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