A long long time ago, I agreed to co-plan my 10-year college reunion. A few months back I was thanking my lucky stars that many of the wedding plans were mostly finalized because the reunion was requiring more focus and attention. The last month was a challenge, and while I was at my reunion I said on multiple occasions “I love our coordinator” or “I am so happy we decided to have a DOC for the wedding!” There were so many challenges; the challenges at the reunion were one thing, but Sweetie Scone and I both realized how lucky we were that someone else was going to be there for us when our wedding rolled around so that we can be present and enjoy our wedding.
Our Class Board right after our Class Meeting
(Image via Mount Holyoke Class of 2002)
Laurel Parade / Personal image
I am happy to report that I survived reunion! Mixed in with the reconnecting, pulling things together, following state laws (more Massachusetts drinking laws!!!), and supporting the Alumnae Association, there were some pretty major bumps/lessons/celebrations. (It would seem that May was full of lessons for me that I am passing along to you. Ignore me if it bores you or laugh at me for learning silly/no-brainer lessons.)
- Sometimes your body gives you a gut reaction: LISTEN TO IT! When it tells you that people won’t follow through, your body is probably right. Even if someone is volunteering, even if they are amazeballs people in general—if you have a gut feeling along the way, GO WITH YOUR GUT! Work with people that at the core are willing to partner with you (be it friendor/vendor/partner).
- When someone “says” they are just leaving and will be there soon they are lying. In reality it means “oops” (or some other expletive), dropped the ball. (This happened a couple of times, and the hardest to cover up was the caterer that showed up one-and-a-half hours late—thank goodness for having food sources from multiple places and an awesome dinner chair!)
- Even when things are positively not working out how they are supposed to, find a way to have fun.
- It is OK to ask for help! Better yet, when someone offers to help, accept the blessed help! Thanks to Sweetie Scone I think I learned the lesson, and by Saturday night I was totally OK with this one. (Thursday, I wasn’t quite there.)
- Major events are always about community. People are there for their own reasons, too (for sure), but they are also there because they want to be part of the communal celebration (reunion, graduation, marriage, etc.).
- Sometimes when you are surrounded by so much awesomeness you get a little bleary (oops, maybe that is just me).
- When you lose your keys, driver’s license, debit card, and a ridiculous number of receipts it is OK to announce it”¦it is even better to allow your better half to poke fun at you in front of 100-plus people. (These keys also had the ability to unlock the booze for the night’s party, so it was muy muy importante!)
- Accept praise. This is incredibly hard for me. It makes me blush”¦but when people thank you they are thanking you for a reason. As women it is important that we do not minimize our work. (Oh, the women’s college is coming out right about now.)
- Soaking up the awesomeness of old friends does pretty amazing things for the soul.
- Watching my future spouse be redonkulously awesome, helpful, and fantastic not only reaffirmed our impending marriage but it truly warmed my soul when my classmates a) mistook her for an alum or b) said she is absolutely awesome and said they knew why I was marrying her.
- If you are having a destination event and flying in, it is very important to have some time on-location to get everything together. (Twenty-four hours beforehand is not quite enough—probably applies if you are driving or boating in, too.)
- Celebrations are a great time to practice drinking. (If you are a light-weight drinker, like me, and you happen to be getting married at a brewery it is even more important.) I had a great “training” session at the party.
- Giving feels pretty amazing. On Sunday morning we had a crazy amount of drinks/beer/wine/brownies/donuts/fruit leftovers. We opened up a pseudo free-store for alums, and they just weren’t taking enough”¦our dorm happened to be right next to where the graduating seniors were lining up. (Amazeballs Sweetie Scone had a genius idea to hand out goods to seniors as they walked by.) We handed out whatever might be helpful to them on their way to a very sunny and warm graduation ceremony. It made me bleary. (Gahhh, the happy blearies strike again!)
- When anyone tells you not to do something (like plan a reunion or do something meaningful) because it is too close to your wedding, DO.NOT.LISTEN. Do what is in your heart AND what you and your future spouse agrees on. Had I listened to the naysayers (and there were many), I would not have learned so many important lessons. I would not have gotten to experience a weekend filled with empowerment, togetherness, passion, laughter, tears, anger (there was some of that, too), and forgiveness. All of the good outweighed the bad on a scale that is not even measurable.
I walked away from reunion with so much love in my heart; a renewed commitment to my MHC sisters/women/education and people at large; a continued desire to do better as a person; and even more appreciation for community. To the Class of ’02, you truly inspiRED me. Thank you! To everyone else, I hope these lessons are helpful.
Is anyone else planning/coordinating another large event close to your wedding?