I have some pictures of my 20th high school reunion to show you. Do you want to see? Okay!
Our budget was very small. Tiffany and I decided early on that we wanted to keep ticket prices well under the $100-$125 per person going rate in California. Does that price sound average for your area? California is expensive, but wow, $250 (classmate + guest) seemed like a lot to ask these days. We decided to shoot for $50 per person.
We knew from talking to older alumni and researching online that a sit-down dinner is standard, as is a DJ, audio-visual, invitations, and everything else expected from an elegant evening. Basically, it’s a wedding.
The same older alumni suggested we skip the dinner and have it in a bar, like they did. That’s great, except our class never had a 10 year reunion. Sort of. The class of ’91 took pity on us and invited us to theirs (I think they had trouble reaching their event site minimum and started scrambling for bodies), but few people went so Tiff and I stand firm that it doesn’t count. We felt our class deserved something a little nicer than a bar.
When we priced everything out, it became clear why reunion tickets are so expensive. Our graduating class was so small, we didn’t even have volume to spread the cost around. Luckily, we had one thing going for us. Tiff and I both agreed that the idea of a sit-down dinner sounded like a monumental bore. Plus, most of these people I haven’t seen in 20 years! I knew I would be too nervous to eat a dinner and aggravated by assigned seating. We decided to give the reunion a lounge atmosphere and offer heavy appetizers throughout the night. Each person received tickets for two drinks.
We held the reunion in the patio area of Mario’s Place. The locale is small, something that had Tiff nervous, but I knew the tight quarters would only work in our favor by making attendance look a little better. Hah! That was our main problem–convincing people to attend. Our school wasn’t known for it’s killer dances, and Tiffany and I didn’t leave the house, let alone host raging parties. I’m sure most of our class was a little nervous to hear two of the most quiet, insecure, and studious girls in school were hosting. They were probably expecting room temperature Sprite and a rousing game of Canasta.
We nailed it! Not a deck of cards in sight. The lounge atmosphere was great for reconnecting, the few tables and chairs we had set up were perfect for the patient spouses, and the horrendous 80s music made everyone laugh. We offered a cold meat and cheese plate, various grilled pizzas (your standard California toppings, like thinly sliced red potatoes and Gorgonzola cheese on a thin crust), flame grilled lamb chops, caprese salad in individual spoons, risotto balls, tuna tartar in cucumber cups, and chicken satay. For dessert there were two different puddings in espresso cups: dark chocolate with chocolate shavings and caramel with sea salt flakes. (Um, the caramel pudding? Holy cow, I could have had twelve. It was like this: super sweet, then crunch, crunch, crunch salty. Gah!)
And then, there was Anthony. Sweet, polite, easy on the eyes Anthony Carbajal, who waded through a throng of middle-aged women to take our pictures and put up with my instructions to “mind the double chin!”
I found him on Craigslist, of all places. Our budget was crazy low, and he was willing to do it to build his portfolio. I can’t recommend him enough, now that I’ve worked with him. At first, having hired him sight unseen, I was terrified. I called Tiffany and told her to play it cool if a 400 pound ex-con named Tony showed up to the reunion with a camera phone. She wasn’t amused.
Then we saw his picture online.
“Yeah, he is. I wonder what’s up with that?”
“He must be gay.”
Then he showed up to take our pictures.
“He’s not gay.”
“But he’s too young. That’s a shame.”
Anthony, all the ladies gave you +200 points for looks and +2,000,000 points for thinking it was only a 10 year reunion.
And that’s it! My 20th reunion in a nutshell. We ended up charging $67.50 per person, just a little over the $50 we wanted originally. We had just a smidgen of money left over, and rather than returning to our classmates $0.50 each via Paypal, we’ll put that money towards an album of pictures of the event. It will be on display at the next reunion.
p.s. You didn’t think I would forget to show you my dress, did you?