What happens when a photographer plans your high school reunion? Well, the event looks more like a decorated wedding reception than a bar AND a photobooth is a requirement. I asked my second shooter Cassie to man the camera for the night so my classmates and I could get silly and capture our memories without me reaching for the camera. I was the president of our tiny class so I knew I wanted this reunion on a budget — but I didn’t want it to feel like a backyard ho-down. (In reality, we could’ve had a ho-down and people probably still would’ve been happy.) So I set out to find a nice, affordable venue with a cash bar option.
Venue: Madison Elks Lodge :: Madison, Indiana
Offerings: Cash bar, screened & heated porch for smokers, simple food catering options, off-street parking, friendly staff, rental discount with membership, day-before decorating, built-in audio speakers (we had an iPod shuffle mix for the night)
Here’s a breakdown of the decorations:
All of the photos from display were from my personal collection so I didn’t have to worry about borrowing or returning any (I’ve always been the one taking photos!) — so it was nice to have them on hand for decorating. I wrote down that there were seven tables for decorating and then the 10 for seating… but when I arrived it was SEVENTEEN for decorating (oh noes). It was at that point I was happy I threw in a bunch of my random photo props too in my car. I knew I wanted a country feel (we all did grow up on farms) with a vintage feel. I didn’t go with flowers or other decorations with our school colors. We all knew our colors, no need to splash them all over. I only used them in the photobooth.
Wooden centerpieces :: made by sweet Jim out of wood from our property. No open flames allowed at the venue, so I had to use LED candles.
Vases :: Purchased at a flea market for .50 each. Wrapped in twine (farm store) and held with hot glue
Crates :: Free from the dumpster behind my work
Mini Clothes pins :: $1.47 for 25 from Michaels (these break super easy, btw)
Flowers wrapped around vases & centerpieces :: from my newborn headband collection
Dessert Table :: from my prop collection
2003 sign :: ‘borrowed’ after my husband’s 10 year reunion the weekend before.
Photobooth :: Seamless gray paper, backdrop stand, clamps (all on hand) helium balloons in school colors
Props :: Photobooth props and free printables on sticks (on hand & borrowed from a friend)
Desserts :: VP alumni baked, decorated and brought
Flowers :: Kroger floral department, assorted bouquets $18
White Lights :: On hand from my friend’s Christmas decorations
I decorated all of the round tables with flowers and the candle centerpieces and designated them for seating. I then surrounded two of the outer walls with long tables filled with decorations such as old photos from high school, yearbooks from our four years and the dessert table.
Sadly, we did have one member of our graduating class pass away. I wanted to make sure I started a tradition for our reunions that would allow us to remember our classmates who has passed, so I had a special candle with Jackie’s picture on display.
And lastly, we couldn’t forget to take a minute for a group photo of all of us who were able to come out and reunite. We graduated with approximately 86, so I thought this turnout was great! Here’s to the next 10 years!