Dive Into the Details Back to Event Details
Planning for a family reunion usually takes several months and involves many people in different locations. Staying organized and keeping detailed records will ensure that your plans roll along smoothly and that nothing gets overlooked.
When the event is still in its infancy, use a calendar to devise a timeline with actual dates. This will force you to make decisions and think about the details early on. Distribute the timeline to everyone involved in the planning. Then check off tasks as they're completed. Here are some of the big items to track (with several smaller details in between):
- 10 months to 1 year out: Contact family members to gauge interest and poll about possible dates and locations.
- 9 months out: Decide on the when and where. Mail postcards or send emails to reserve the date. Enlist volunteers to help with the planning and decision-making. Start work on the invitation list and begin research to track down relatives. Set a budget and decide on a theme, if desired.
- 8 months out: Research meeting and/or lodging options and make initial arrangements.
- 4 months out: Send out invitations and ask for RSVPs within 60 days. Suggest that attendees make lodging reservations.
- 2 months out: RSVPs are due. Follow up with relatives who haven't responded and finalize the attendee list. Send a flyer for each person or family to fill out that asks about their interests and talents. Order any customized items such as banners, T-shirts and name tags. Make meal and activity plans.
- 1 month out: Send email reminders with an updated list of attendees. Confirm all reservations for the meeting site. Visit site to determine meeting room arrangement. Start planning specific food needs and amounts.
- 3 weeks out: Decide on table settings and decorations. Order flowers, party trays and any other essentials from your neighborhood Publix.
- The day before: Set up tables, chairs and the welcome table with name tags. Decorate.
- The day or days of the big event: Enjoy!
- When it's all over: Distribute contact information, photos and videos. Look forward to next time!
During the planning phase, keep all details together in a notebook or computer file. You may want to consider purchasing family reunion-planning software. Packages include organizer checklists; committee worksheets; activity ideas; budget trackers; shopping lists; and printouts for awards, invitations, evaluation forms and more.