The Reunion Project, a blog
by Scott Ryan
Location, Location, Location
December 7, 2012
Well, we did it. Finally booked a location for our party. It's at the Crowne Plaza in what is now Virginia Beach's downtown area. Obviously the credit for getting it done goes to the part of the crew that's out there. And I think we learned a good lesson: however much lead time you think you need, double it! As far as "good" locations go, we were running low on options. The other route would have been to change the date, but that would have been too confusing, and some people had already started making plans.
That freed me to send about 300 emails, half of which didn't reach their destinations. Why? Good question, but I guess that's what I get for setting up an email list that big. So now I have to track people down – again – to see if they got my email. I've already re-sent it to 100 or so classmates. At least my upcoming vacation is planned out. Of the 150 or so people who've replied, just over half are planning to be there.
But the good news is that we have a location, a menu, and even some sponsors! This is the biggest reunion effort to date – and with so many people reconnecting with old friends, it's a great chance for people to do business with someone they know.
Along with Saturday night's event, we're trying to plan a Friday night gathering, too. And a picnic. Saturday is a party. Period. No tuxes, you don't have to wear a suit or an evening dress. Show up and eat, laugh, dance. A wedding reception without any formalities. That means Friday will have to be more about food and friends – we're working on a restaurant.
I'm not sure yet if we'll wind up making the Friday event a free one. We might just follow what the group for the 20th reunion did – pass the hat. Several classmates are only interested in the Friday event – in part, because certain friends will be there. And those friends will be there because of our exhaustive efforts to bring everybody together. I hope people take that into consideration.
January 11, 2013
New Year, New Energy
As we turn the page to 2013, I still have one foot stuck in 2012.
I had really hoped to have the people-searching done by now, but that's not how it turned out. Over Thanksgiving, I sent an email about our reunion plans to everyone in our class …
We've found over 330 classmates so far—and almost one-half of them have already replied. I feel pretty good that 90 percent are either a maybe or a yes, but I'll feel better when the info is sent out soon for ticket purchases and early birds start snapping up their seats. So for now, I'm stuck still chasing down a few dozen people for the first time and chasing down many more for the second time—trying to find out if they're showing up for the reunion.
If your phone rings or your inbox pings, then it's probably me.
I've fielded a lot of questions recently about what people should wear. They should wear whatever they're comfortable in. I'm sure we'll get people in suits or gowns, business casual, jeans and t-shirts, and maybe even a few wearing shorts. We've got enough work to do without planning a dress code, too. As an adult, I really don't like being "told" what to wear and I'm sure others will agree.
The past few weeks have been dull overall when it comes to planning. Once the venue and menu were taken care of, I think everyone slipped into holiday mode, and rightfully so. But I plan to bounce back next week with a renewed sense of purpose and energy.
Lastly, I'm still trying to learn website design. I'll probably never know enough code to do it all myself, so I'm letting Weebly do the heavy lifting. Check it out at http://princessanne88.weebly.com.
February 11, 2013
Ticket To Ride
The ticket window is open for our reunion. This project has been an exercise in discipline, persistence, and omnipresence. Once we booked the venue in December, I guess I gave up actively looking for people. Now we're trying to round everyone up again. Over 100 people have said they're going to the reunion, but only a fraction have purchased tickets.
As much as I thought people wanted to go the traditional route with an invitation in the mail, I was mistaken. We're selling tickets via PayPal, which makes things easy to track, especially since the people coordinating this live hundreds of miles apart.
Our "early bird" deadline for tickets ends Friday, and we're excited and nervous at the same time. Early bird sales have surpassed those for the 20th reunion—but this is a bigger venue. We're expecting more people, which means more expenses.
I've got a hunch that a lot of people are waiting until the last day to purchase tickets and still get the early bird discount. So if you notice the Internet running slowly on Friday, that could be a combination of people buying tickets … and those of us on this end checking for sales.
Not really, but that'd be nice.
March 13, 2013
An Eerie Silence
Talk about a lull in activity. With early bird tickets sales over and the flurry of calls to find people mostly done—we wait. I guess we'll release another block of tickets in a couple of weeks.
I've been hearing from a lot of people that they haven't planned that far in advance, but these last 3+ months will go quickly. I'm hoping that the 130+ people who've either bought tickets or who've said they'll be there go ahead and make plans. That will take a lot of pressure from those of us who are putting this together.
Sponsors and fundraisers are needed, too. A handful of classmates have agreed to contribute. Once their donations/sponsorships are received, we can start getting the word out about them ahead of the reunion.
I did claim a small victory this week, getting in touch with a pair of classmates—or at least their relatives. I've scaled back my initial goal of finding every single one. The effort required is probably better spent on getting the ones we know about to show up.