Over the last couple of years we’ve been hosting more and more school reunions at The Normanby. Most are between the 10 to 25 year reunion time window.
It’s been nice to see these events become more regular, especially as we all look for ways to reconnect after covid.
I have noticed though, they’re a stressful party to organise. There are multiple people planning the event. Nobody really knows how many will turn up or not. And then there’s the budgeting part to figure out. We’re here to help make the planning as smooth and simple as possible. Your toughest job will be trying to remember all your classmates’ names…
How many school reunion parties have you planned?
Over the last couple of years the number of school reunions have multiplied. I don’t know exactly how many but they have become a regular at The Normanby.
Why do you think the Normanby Hotel is such a popular place to have a school reunion party?
I think it’s because we’re in an easy location for many people, no matter where you are in Brisbane. But also I think it’s because of nostalgia. Being an iconic pub of the Brisbane scene, it’s a place that holds lots of stories and memories for anyone that went to school here. It just seems to work so well that not only are people reminiscing about their school time together, but also the fun times, after school, hanging out and partying. The Normanby is that place for many people.
And people also like the friendly and welcoming feeling of The Normanby. Whilst there is excitement around a school reunion, there are also plenty of nerves too. Some venues have a grand and slightly cold feel to them. People don’t feel at ease straight away in these spaces. Our atmosphere comes from being a warm and welcoming pub. So I see people relax much quicker in our environment. Nothing breaks the ice like a glass of bubbles or an ice cold pint in a friendly pub…
Which of the rooms or spaces at The Normanby Hotel are the most popular for school reunions?
Our larger spaces book out the most for reunions, especially the bigger ones like the 10, 20 and 30 year reunions. The Lounge Bar accommodates 100 guests and our Public Bar is perfect for 120 guests.
Download our Functions package for more details on each room available to book.
What would you recommend for food and drinks?
For food, people order a few platters. Let’s say the reunion is for about 50 people, 5 to 6 platters is a good amount. Just enough for everyone to have a nibble on. If people like, they can always order off our regular menu and we can have it delivered to the room. I find that just a bit of food tends to keep people sticking around for a bit longer.
For drinks, most choose drinks at the bar, with everyone paying for their own. Or shouting in groups.
Occasionally I’ll have a group ordering a food and drinks package, making it a set amount per head. Either way, we have you covered.
Download our food & drink functions menu to see all the selections.
Do you have gf and vegetarian food options?
Yes, we always include gf and vegetarian options. Just check the menu for all we have on offer. There’s plenty…
Can we just hire the space?
Yes. We don’t charge a room hire fee. All we require is a minimum spend, which varies by space, and a $500 deposit, to secure the booking. This amount is part of the minimum spend.
Or an alternative is the outside Garden Bar. It’s a book and go style. This means you don’t need to pay a deposit or meet a minimum spend. This works best for smaller groups or if you aren’t sure how many people will turn up. You just book the area and it’s yours for as long as you need it. It’s kind of like a VIP beer garden booking…It only accommodates up to 30 seated, 50 standing though, so spacing is more limited.
For pricing information, download our Functions package.
What time of the year should I book a school reunion?
Because a school reunion can really happen any time of the year, I recommend staying away from the end of the year and Christmas time. People are busy with other parties anyway.
If you’re wanting to have your event outside, (March, April, May) our Cabana or Garden space are ideal.
When it’s a bit cooler, (June, July, August) our indoor rooms, The Public Bar and The Lounge Bar, are the best picks. The art deco style, with mahogany tones, have a warm feel about them.
How far in advance should I book?
I suggest 3 months in advance, to secure the space that will suit your guest size. We hold so many different kinds of parties – birthdays, engagements, family reunions, work parties – and we only have limited spaces, so we get booked out quickly.
Do themed parties work?
Not many seem to like themed parties. Just keep it simple I say. There is enough excitement as it is with many seeing each other for the first time in years and sometimes decades…
Here are some more tips I’ve seen work at past school reunion parties.
- Get RSVP’s nailed down a week out, at least. In my experience, people are less likely to formally RSVP and will just turn up, depending on their mood on the day. It will make your job as organiser easier if you ask people to officially RSVP.
- Have name badges. It puts people at ease and takes away some of the anxiety of needing to remember names…
- Ask everyone for photos from school and make an easy slide presentation. We can play this on the TV. It’s a great way to get some laughs happening and the memories flowing.
Do you have parking?
Yes we have parking for about 80 cars on site. It’s right next door to the hotel. For directions, the address for parking is 18 Kelvin Grove Rd, Kelvin Grove.
I have some more questions.
Please email us email@example.com or call (07) 3831 3353. Or send us an enquiry with our event form below.
We love reunions at The Normanby!
Reunions are so much fun. They may seem like a challenge to plan but I promise you, everyone raves about them in the end. I commonly hear people say something like – “Let’s not wait another 5 or 10 years for the next one. Let’s do this every year!”
And we get rave reviews, like this one, I just had to share. Thanks Madonna.
“We held our school reunion here. The staff were very accommodating and helpful. Food is always great and the bar service and facilities are awesome.” – Madonna