Centerpiece: Class Reunion

Ten years ago, the world was preparing for Y2K, rocking out to Ricky Martin, and watching Fight Club in slow-mo to see the dirty parts.  AND… I was graduating from high school. 
A whole decade has passed since I was a chronically overachieving, dorky high school senior.  Now I’ve become a chronically overachieving, dorky stay-at-home-mom.  We all have to grow up sometime. 
Like the overachiever I am, I took on the job of planning our 10 year class reunion by myself.  Also because I am an idiot.    Planning class reunions are loads of work.  Tracking down lost classmates, bugging them to respond to emails, yada yada yada.  (Wahoo for ’90s-isms!)
Mostly, I was looking forward to decorating for the big party.  I wanted everybody to have a good time, and I have always found that people have more fun if you keep things casual.  I wanted the decorations to be kinda funky and whimsical, not too formal and definitely not too on the nose (aka NO “Party Like It’s 1999” signs).
Yet again, my search of the internets was mostly fruitless.  Am I just searching for weird things or what?  Why can’t I ever find what I am looking for?  Eventually I happened on this picture on the Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine website.
I just love this idea.  It’s fun and inexpensive without looking cheap.  I had found a winner.  I liked that it is school-related without screaming THIS IS A SCHOOL THEMED CENTERPIECE! 
To make class reunion centerpieces, you will need:
scrapbook paper in your school colors
floral wire (preferably NOT off a spool)
bud vases
paper clips
mirror tiles
old school photos
small binder clips
I cut my red and white (Red and White, FIGHT FIGHT!) scrapbook paper into various sized squares and rectangles.  Then I spent a ridiculous amount of time folding paper airplanes.  The process really isn’t hard  – 4th graders do everyday – but it is time consuming.  I found that the final product looks best if you use the same procedure to fold all the planes.
Next, poke the floral wire through the base of the planes, about 1/3 of the way from the back of the plane, and twist the wire around itself.  When you arrange the planes in the bud vases, you will probably end up cutting the wires to different lengths, just like you would if you were arranging fresh flowers.  To keep with the subtle school-inspired theme, I used black and white paper clips from the dollar store as vase filler to keep the floral wires steady.
Plop the vase down in the middle of a mirror tile that has been sitting in your mom’s basement since your wedding.  Time to go digging through your old photo albums.
I had a blast going through my old pictures and picking out photos to display at the reunion.  So much plaid flannel!  I had quite a few classmates send in photos of their own, and I really tried to have the whole class represented in a picture somewhere.
Since I was trying to keep the per person cost of the reunion down, I couldn’t afford to frame every single candid photo I wanted to have as part of the centerpieces.  I also didn’t want to just scatter the photos all over the table.  My solution was also in the school-supplies aisle of the dollar store.  Binder clips!  (in my best Austin Powers impression) Yeah, baby!
All I had to do was clip a tiny binder clip to the bottom corner of each photo, and they stood up on their own at a jaunty little angle. 
Since I already had the bud vases and mirror tiles on hand, the centerpieces themselves ended up costing me something like a dollar apiece.   Everybody really enjoyed walking around from table to table looking at all the photos, which was good to get everybody mingling.
The reunion went off without a hitch, and people really seemed to have a great time.  And, yes, we did party like it was 1999.
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