header 1
header 2
header 3

Reunion Tips and Info




Video conferencing platforms are easy to use and great for smaller reunions.  Consider Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans or GoTo.

Got some $ and want to get fancy?  Consider conference platforms like Remo,  Shindig, HopinAlmabase, etc. for that "almost like being there" experience. 

Things to consider when hosting a virtual reunion:

  • Have an agenda/schedule
  • Start with an icebreaker to help get your classmates comfortable with the platform
  • Use break-out rooms for small group chats
  • Get to know each other and have some fun using polling questions
  • Include slideshows, videos, in memorium presentations, etc. just like you would if you were meeting in person 
  • More ideas for planning a virtual reunion:  NY Times article, Medium.com article.

Good luck, and stay safe!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 


If your class would like to use the Paly campus, please read carefully...

*** Paly Policy for Alumni use of Paly Campus ***

- All Alumni visits to campus must go through Vallen Queen (vqueen@pausd.org) in the Main Office. She will put the event on the calendar to avoid conflicts.

- Campus tours:  Contact the Chairperson for the Alumni and Friends Association, Arne Lim (arne_lim@yahoo.com).  1.5 - 2 hours of fun.  NOTE: tours cannot occur during school hours.  $50 donation is requested.  No custodian needed.

- For onsite events, at least one member of your Planning Committee must provide Vallen with a written request including but not limited to the event date, time of event, number of people attending, activities planned (Paly tour only? Catered event? Other?) facilities requested such as Student Center for catered event, bathrooms etc.

- Organizing group may need to purchase one-day insurance (TBD).

- The organizing group must pay for custodial service, if required and if there is no custodian available on site.


- Events that require set up and clean up:  Paid custodial help for your event will be required.

*** Planning your Paly reunion (new ideas always welcome!) ***

NOTE:  There are no funds available through Paly for reunions.  Each class is responsible for their own reunion funding.  See info about donations under Finances.

Events can be held at Paly (see Paly Policy for Alumni Use of Paly Site above for details).

Please notify palyalumni@gmail.com of your plans so she can post it on the Alumni calendar/website.




- Form a Reunion Committee as soon as possible, and select a Coordinator/Chair.  Recommended: Select your most detail-oriented person for your Committee Chair or Assistant.  The success is in the details and organization.  

- Although it is better for your Chair and Reunion Committee to make the decisions, you may wish to take a poll by email/social media for the best date, type of function, etc.  Be aware that the more people you poll and the larger the committee, the more variation in responses.

- Finding Classmates takes time!  Email everybody, and ask other classmates if they have contact info for other classmates.  If you want to pay for a search website, there are resources such as Vimeo, Truthfinders or Ancestry.com, or you may choose to hire a search company. (The latter gets expensive.)  Ask relatives, and search CA and NV databases for marriage records.

- Paly Alumni and Friends will print one list for the respective class (from the 2017 Paly Directory) or send it via email to ONE member of your committee.  Because of confidentiality considerations, please do not circulate this list beyond your committee members.

- Consider a collaborative reunion with neighboring class years (e.g. reunion for 1958 - 1962).

- Contact a Reunion Chair/Committee Member of a prior class for advice/suggestions.




- Consider the best time for your people to travel.  Take into account weather, school calendar, and stages in life.  Most common days of the week for travel are Friday (to Palo Alto) and Sunday (towards home).

- Try to avoid weekends on which Stanford events have high attendance.  This includes home football games, Parents' Weekend, and graduation.

- Paly weekend events include sporting events and standardized testing.  Tours usually do not conflict with these activities, but the use of a facility may not be available.  Consult Paly's calendar on the home website: paly.net

- Be sensitive regarding holidays.  Recent graduating classes tend to "return home" for the Fall holidays, so November and December are good candidates for events.  




- Consider the overall spending limits of your classmates, and then make a plan that you believe most can afford.

- Ask for donations for "seed money" to help with initial costs.  Also consider establishing scholarships for classmates with financial limitations.

- Avoid donations to any special cause -- too controversial.  Aim to price the event at cost.  If there is money left over, then either save it for your next reunion/get-together or donate it for Paly Scholarships or to the Alumni General Fund.

- Include cost of mailings, venues, music, photographers, decorations, prizes, etc. in the ticket pricing.

- Consider establishing a separate bank account under the Reunion Class and Year name as a (DBA) if possible.  For checks and balances, require two signatures  (highly advised).  If your class has a CLASS CREATOR website, it is easy to get payments through them.

- Some local hotels are willing to offer discount rates for reserving a block of rooms.

- Try to include some Low-Cost Events such as a Bring-Your-Own picnic for families at a park or on the Paly Campus. Campus tours are free (suggested donation is $50).  A No-Host Friday night at a private home allows for a lot of  freedom to do whatever you wish.  A No-Host get-together at a bar or hotel works too: just make certain you give the establishment plenty of advanced notice.

- Consider one price for all weekend events .  Also consider a discount for early payment.  




- Send a postcard/social media notice -- "Save the Date" -- about 9 months in advance.  Mail with First Class postage and include a return address that way you'll find out which addresses are no longer good.  Request email addresses.

- Send one invite/order form mailing.  Most invites can be done via email to save on expenses.  Only send invite/order form to those who don't use computers/email.

- Set up a social media page or a class website - If you use ClassCreator for your website software, reunions can be run through the website and classmates can easily pay with credit cards.  (For a sample of a ClassCreator  webpage see www.paly61.com .)


***** VENUE SUGGESTIONS (as of 8/2023)


         Current featured venue:

"Baylands Cafe was one of our best-ever dinner events. The general manager Ed Winiecki, is experienced, service oriented and he loves Paly. With Ed’s encouragement, we provided Paly58 tee shirts for his staff, and they wore them proudly throughout the evening. He welcomed our displays and photos, and has a/v equipment if you need it. In addition to enthusiastic service from his restaurant manager and staff, the food was great and the price was right!" - Class of '58

Other places to consider:

Palo Alto Art Center, Lucie Stern, Gamble House, Elks Lodge, local Country Clubs (e.g. Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Circus, University, Foothill, Fremont Hills, and Ladera), Rinconada Park, Mitchell Park, Foothill Park (now open to non-residents for a fee), Holbrook Palmer Park (Atherton).


***** HOTELS


Arrange and negotiate with hotels for blocks of rooms for a discount rate as far in advance as possible.  Use several hotels at varying rates.  Be sure to provide this information on your website/Facebook or written communication to classmates well in advance.  Hotels will often provide "shoulder nights" on either end of the reunion at the same rate -- be sure to ask.  Make sure to arrange cut-off dates with the hotels when reservations at the special rate can no longer be accessed and communicate this info to class members.  




- Consider hiring Paly grads from years behind you to run registration at the main event.  Chances are good that they will know several of your classmates, and they can take notes for their own (upcoming) reunion.

- Have greeters, use name tags.

- Update contact information for future purposes.




- Buffet or food stations allow people to circulate and converse.  If you have a large group and a buffet set up, it is imperative that you have two lines running simultaneously that can be served from both sides.  Highly recommend drinks and desserts be located at very visible, separate stations away from the buffet lines.  Also consider offering mocktails as many people are now aware of how alcohol affects their own body.

- Much smaller groups can consider a sit-down dinner.  Or if you have a generous benefactor, ....




Set up tables with artifacts from the past: photos, yearbooks, old Campaniles, trivia games, or an art show.  Run a continuous loop CD/computer slide show on screen or wall.  Add new photos and sell CDs for seed money for next reunion.

  •  Some classes have set up a special location at the reunion for listing those deceased.  Designate a small table or an empty chair with a white rose across the seat with a list of names and deceased dates.  Be creative and respectful.


***** MUSIC


Band? DJ?  Just make sure it isn't too loud; guests really want to talk!  Older reunion classes seem to prefer no music (due to hearing issues especially with a large group and the ambient noise making it difficult).  Dancing?  Up to you.  One class hired a Steel Drum Band (steeldrumbands.com) to play at their No-Host Friday Night Kickoff Event.   Make certain there are spaces where people can go away from the music to converse.




- Consider hiring a photographer or videographer, or renting a photo booth.  If possible, create a place/space where everyone can have their picture taken so no one is left out.  Don't use classmates as official photographers or they won't get to enjoy the reunion.  Ask classmates who take pictures on iPhones/Smartphones to share their photos with website administrator to be included on class website.  Make sure they identify people in their photo -- very important as everyone ages!

- Consider recording classmate thoughts about the reunion.  Arrange for a quiet area for these recordings and let the planning committee take note of what to keep and how to improve the next reunion.




Consider that you will have Alcoholics and Recovering Alcoholics at your reunion.  A nice accomodation for them is to have a room reserved in a hotel for them to meet for a "Friends of Dave" meeting (some hotels will provide a free room if you have a block of rooms there).  That moniker is the socially accepted term for an AA type meeting.  You may know of one of your classmates who is a recovering alcoholic who could tell you how often they should meet during the weekend along with the best time(s). You can discreetly arrange this room ahead of time and provide the information privately or on your website to those who have the need for this support environment during your reunion.