Reality Check – Ten Things You Need to Know about Class Reunions

If you’re beginning to plan your first class reunion, you are no doubt filled with high expectations about how your magical evening will go. As a professional DJ company with more than 48 years experience in reunions, Fourth Estate Audio offers these observations to help ensure a successful party.

  • A reunion is not a wedding. And a reunion DJ needs completely different skills than a wedding DJ. Your DJ will not be the center of attention, and he needs to understand and accept that. His job is to facilitate a successful reunion, not to be its star.
  • Your classmates want to talk. The main purpose of a class reunion is to catch up with old classmates and share personal stories. A reunion that is too structured will interfere with that.
  • Keep your reunion committee’s presentation short. Again, your classmates want to talk with each other, not listen to a lot of rambling, long-winded speeches. Make some brief welcoming remarks, recognize your planners for their efforts, hand out some awards, then step away from the microphone.
  • Need music for your presentation? Ask your DJ in advance. Sometimes, a creative reunion committee wants to use excerpts from special songs in its presentation. If your DJ knows in advance about those songs, he can edit them to start at the “hooks” for maximum impact.
  • Don’t expect a full dance floor right away. Once your classmates have had plenty of time to share their stories with one another, then and only then will they be ready to dance. Sometimes, they’re not ready until late in the evening. And an experienced reunion DJ knows enough not to try to force them to dance. Yes, a handful of people will be frustrated that their classmates aren’t flocking to the dance floor from the very first song. But a reunion DJ must not try to break up people’s conversations, just to get them involved in his party.
  • Do all of your raffles at once. Your classmates will be frustrated and angry if you try to stop their dancing and their conversations every half hour, to hold periodic drawings. Also, no more speeches after the committee’s presentation.
  • Don’t restrict your music. Some of your classmates will love the great old songs from your school days; and you’ll hear plenty of them. Others will want to hear more current music, especially when the dance floor opens. Any classmate who is paying to attend the reunion is entitled to a voice in the music selection. A professional DJ already knows not to play anything offensive or disruptive. Trust him to accept requests from all of your guests.
  • Invite a beloved teacher, coach or counselor. If there’s someone who made your school experience special, invite him or her to the reunion, and let your classmates share their appreciation and show your teacher how well you all turned out.
  • 10-year reunions can be the toughest. The dynamics of a 10-year reunion are unique. The “princess” from high school may try to reassert her dominance by ordering people around; some classmates may try to settle old scores; there’s bound to be someone who rents an expensive limo to show how “successful” he is. All of those things disappear by the 20-year reunion, when everyone is a little older, more mature and more self-confident. Don’t be too hard on those classmates who are still feeling their growing pains.
  • A tip to get classmates to sign up early. Getting those first few classmates to commit to the reunion can be like pulling teeth; but you need those early checks to cover your planning expenses and make your down payments for the venue, DJ and other vendors. Some reunion committees offer a $10 discount for early registrants. Here’s a better way. Buy a packet of $100 gift cards from They’re valid at thousands of fine restaurants across America, including more than 700 right here in Chicagoland. And they cost only $10 each. So instead of giving early registrants a $10 discount, you can, for the same price, treat them to $100 worth of meals. Think about it. Who wouldn’t want to sign up early, if writing a $150 reunion check got them an instant $100 back, plus admittance to the reunion?

As Chicagoland’s premier class reunion experts, Fourth Estate Audio has the expertise to guide you through your reunion planning, and help you put on a reunion your classmates will remember forever. 

To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s incomparable reunion DJ and lighting services, just call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here e to help.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2014 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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