In terms of locating people, you might try contacting either the former class president of your year, or the school, and seeing if either of them has a list of old contact information that would have people's parents listed. Some might have moved, but some might still be there. :shrug
At my 10-year reunion, the organizers had us meet at a local bar for cocktails the first night, and the dinner the second night was at our old school. It wasn't that tasty, actually, and we all quickly decamped to another bar anyway. :lol
At the hotel I worked at, I allowed small groups to congregate in the lounge area (i.e. 30-40 people or less) without charging them. However, those sorts of rules vary from hotel to hotel. Your best move is to contact the sales office/general manager of the hotels in the area and find out what they can do for you. If you have a convention and visitor's bureau in town, contact them and fill out a RFP (request for proposal). That details what you want and the hotels in the area will send you proposals for what they can do for you.
Since you're just getting started, I'd send out emails asking people how much they'd be willing to spend. Take the average of your responses and plan accordingly. If they are willing to spend the money you need, then contact the place(s) you're interested in holding the reunion and find out the deposit amount and when its due. Send out announcements to your participants about the cost, whether its per person/couple/family, and what's included. Have a due date for at least half the total early enough to cover the hotel's deposit. Then have a final due date for the remainder of the money.
My advice is if you don't receive enough money in time to pay the deposit at the hotel, cancel the reservation and send out new announcements. Say that because of a lack of interest, you're going to just have a potluck picnic (or something similiarly cheap) at the local park. Trust me. If they haven't sent you their deposits in time to pay the hotel deposit, you'll never get it all out of them and you'll be stuck with the final bill.
If anyone is interested, a guy in Texas started a reunion site called www.yourhighschool.com. It is free to join and you can get like 2 or 3 e-mails without paying. For $5 a year, yes $5 a year, you get full access. It is a smaller site than classmates, but get the word out and it will grow.
As for reunions. My husband and I both missed our 10 year. We went to his 20 (I made him) and we had fun. One thing they did have there was a guy with a digital camera and a printer. They took a big group shot, printed the picture out right there and the guy sold the pictures for $10. A great momento to go with the memories book. My 20 is in 2 years. Reading this whole thread and we have quite a few graduates from 1988.
Could use more tips on planning a good reunion if anyone has any!
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