Regardless of what activities you choose for your reunion, the main goal is to have a great time and make some wonderful memories. It's natural to start a diet and fitness regime several months earlier, but don't overdo it. Your former classmates are more concerned with your opinion of them than they are of how skinny you are after all these years. If you're in charge of reunion planning, spend most of your time ensuring everyone will be comfortable, be able to communicate and have enough activities to give them something to talk about for years.
Invitations should go out well in advance so more people can make arrangements to attend. For something fun and interesting, feature the reunion theme on the invitation. If your school had a winning athletic year, show a picture of a megaphone or the winning sport and proclaim the reuniting of everyone who made that possible.
Web site or Blog
Create a Web site or blog and encourage everyone to send or post their pictures for their classmates to see. Build excitement beforehand by playing online games that require group participation. "Remember when..." games are always fun. Remind them of an incident, and have people guess who was there.
The decision to hire a live band or use recorded music is up to you. Since this is a 20-year reunion, it might be easier to find CDs from that era, unless some of your former classmates are willing to donate their musical talents. If you graduated with one of the members from Casey and the Sunshine Band, you've struck gold. However, if the classmates who had a garage band haven't picked up a guitar since they graduated, the music could be rather awkward. Or better yet, find a high-quality karaoke machine, and let everyone make their own music.
The decorations should reflect the theme of the party and offer a hint of something from the year you graduated. Don't try to do this alone. If you're on a small budget and can't afford to hire professionals (most of us can't), keep the decorations simple and easy to take down after the event.
Some classes choose a theme aside from the 20-year-reunion concept. This is fine, but make sure you allow time for speeches, announcements and free time. Some themes you might want to consider are song titles from the year of graduation, mascot or sports themes or a social theme (relating to something happening during the year of graduation).
The best way to get people to open up is to start an activity that involves the entire group. When people walk into the room, ask them to pick up a name tag that isn't theirs. Start the activities with getting everyone to look for the person wearing their name tag and claiming it. If you had the foresight to bury a time capsule, this would be an excellent time to open it and read it to the group for a few laughs. However, if you didn't, you can pair everyone off and have them interview each other. For a small class, encourage them to read their interviews to the group. For larger classes, split the class into groups of 10 or 20 pairs. Another icebreaker is to hold a dance contest featuring dances from the era of their senior year. Those who can't or won't dance can be the judges.
Don't forget to have a designated photographer. Make sure you have names to go with the faces. Then after it's over and everyone goes home, stay in contact through the Web site or blog. That will make the next reunion even more fun!
- school bus image by Lombok from Fotolia.com