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Etiquette for Your High School Class Reunion

Updated on September 27, 2011

What You Need to Know Before You Go & While You're There

I attended my 30th high school class reunion last weekend. The event was well-planned by several classmates and it was a lot of fun. Only about 60 of our class of 281 were there with their spouses or significant others but the smaller group was a great chance to reconnect with friends from long ago.

As I reflected on the weekend, it came to me that several things could affect the outcome of a class reunion.

Look at your yearbook before you go! I perused mine a few weeks before the reunion. That was a mistake. I should have brought it with me. There were several people that I had no idea who they were and some looked so different, I never would have recognized them. Also, everyone loves reminiscing over events in the yearbook. It's a perfect conversation-starter.

Facebook! I know everyone is not on the FB bandwagon but it's a great way to connect with folks before you actually see them. I was already "friends" with a number of classmates before the reunion so we had things to talk about when we met face to face. It was funny but I felt like I knew some of their children and grandchildren already.

Mingle! Don't just sit there and wait for someone to come up to you. Get out and say, "Hi!" to people. Look at their nametags to figure out who they are. It would have made my day if the print on the nametags could have been about 72 point. Everyone had to look closely at everyone else's chest to read the nametags. It was pretty funny.


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Plan, plan, plan! Usually invitations go out to reunions a month or two ahead of time so people can prepare funds, travel, etc. If you look significantly different from the way you did in high school and it bothers you, do something about it! Start a weight loss plan, exercise - if you want to lose weight. Eat like a horse to bulk up if you're too thin. Dye your hair, shave, grow a beard, get a facial, botox something. Or, do nothing. You're really the only one who cares.

Dress code! Our class reunions have really had no specific dress codes over the years. Semi-casual has been the norm. We had people in long dresses, jeans, camo, suits and ties, mini-dresses - you name it - and it was all ok. However, if there is a dress code it should be noted on the invitation. Follow it. Whatever you do, wear comfortable shoes. There's lots of standing and talking (and sometimes dancing).

Camera optional but recommended! I regret that I didn't bring my own camera to the reunion. It would have been nice to take some photos of long-lost friends. However, there were a number of people with cameras and I've found the pics on Facebook already. There was something really neat that I hadn't seen before at our reunion. It was called FaceTimePhotoBooth. The reunion committee rented a photo booth (included in the price of reunion tickets) and people could dress up with the funny accessories provided like giant glasses, hats, boas, etc. and have their pictures taken. There were four poses per sitting and two prints of the 4 poses were to keep. I was a little skeptical at first but it really was fun. There was a lot of laughter in that corner of the room.

Be discreet! Did someone come alone that you thought was married? Is someone else really fat? Is another anorexic-looking? Don't bring it up! This is another reason to check Facebook before going.

Dancing! After a delicious meal, class photo, awards and announcements, there was time for dancing. However, everyone was so excited to catch up with one another, hardly anyone danced. I remember at earlier reunions (5, 10, 20) a lot more people were up on the dance floor. Of course, it could have been that we're all too old now anyway. Ha!

Enjoy yourself - but not too much! Drinking excessively at your reunion may not be the best way to go. Coherent conversation is enjoyed by everyone and you don't want to say or do something you'll regret later!


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