Family reunions are lots of fun to attend but can be overwhelming to organize! Especially if your family is big and spread out all over the country or the world for that matter. Here’s a timetable to refer to for your family reunion planning. Adjust as needed to fit the specifics of your event.
16 to 12 months before your Family Reunion:
- Get Organized – Create an effective family reunion planning committee. Ask family members who have a strong organizational streak- if the committee isn’t organized, the reunion won’t be either. Decide how often you should meet.
- Select a Family Reunion Type – How big and how expensive? Consider realistically what family members can afford.
- Select a Date – What time of year is best? And how long do you want to spend with all those relatives? Make sure you provide family members with ample time to prepare for this event- especially if a lot of travel will be involved. People need time to budget money and time away from work.
- Create a guest list – Which side of the family is this for? Do you want extended family or just immediate (you get the idea)
- Select a location– keep in mind the budget factor. Also, if your family is spread out, try and select a central location or one that has great significance to everyone (favorite camp ground from childhood, favorite oceanside resort, grandma’s farm, etc.)
- Budget and Financing – You want everyone on your guest list to be able to participate. Unless rich Aunt Gerdie has offered to pay everyone’s way, you might need some starter ideas on how to raise money to finance the family fun. One place you can cut costs is by sending out cheap reunion invitations. There’s plenty of stylish and affordable reunion, invitation, you can customize!
- Create an Event Hub– Use PurpleTrail to keep family members all on the same page about the event
- Post your Event – Send out save the date alerts
8 to 10 months out Family Reunion Planning
- Choose a Family Reunion Theme – Themes not only make the reunion more fun, they can also trigger ideas for activities, food, invitations, and more. Plus they can act as an icebreaker for family members who don’t know each other.
- Send invites with event details
- Update Reunion site
- Arrange for food
- Arrange for photographers if needed
- Plan decorations
6 to 8 months out Reunion Planning
- Finalize family reunion location details and post the details on your reunion site
- Plan family Reunion Activities- Planning family friendly fun is a snap. Check our Unique Family Reunion Games and our Ice Breaker ideas..
- Plan/create/order family memorabilia (t-shirts, hats, etc.)
4 months out Reunion Planning
- Confirm reservations, entertainment, photographer, caterer, etc.
- Continue work on decorations, order those that require professional printing (such as banners).
- Calculate loaner or rental needs (e.g. chairs, tables, coolers, etc.). Reserve.
- Reserve a tent for outdoor activities (if necessary)
2 months out Family Reunion Planning
- Send out follow-up postcard/reminder.
- Draw up list of attendees; contact as needed.
- Enlist volunteers for set up, clean up, etc. (for whatever events require them).
- Prepare programs and schedules.
1 Month Out
- Buy (or assign a volunteer to buy) nonperishable items (e.g. name tags, raffle tickets, craft supplies, decorations, etc.).
- For picnics and barbecues, be certain to include paper goods, trash bags, etc.
- For picnics and barbecues, decide on menu.
- Divvy up potluck assignments.
2 Weeks Out
- Consult checklist. Include list of volunteers and their assignments.
- Check in with volunteers and review final details.
- Confirm reunion arrangements with the facility.
1 Week Out
- Load up cameras and camcorders with film/tape/batteries.
- Assemble welcome packets, name tags, etc.
- Family “chefs” should shop for ingredients and start cooking.
- Pick up or have “loaners” (chairs, coolers, etc.) delivered.
- Arrange for tent to be set up (if needed).
Day Of Event
- Take a deep breath and smile. This is where all those long, miserable hours of sweat, dirt, blood and tears pay off. Above all, join in and have fun. You deserve it.
Follow Up – Important Part Of Family Reunion Planning:
- Success! Pat yourself on the back, relax, enjoy the leftovers, take a few deep breaths, and then come back and read the rest of this.
- Complete bookkeeping; settle accounts.
- Call or write volunteers to thank them for their efforts.
- Send thank-you notes to the location manager, caterer, hotel staff, and others if you’re happy with the services provided.
- Send follow-up mailing/newsletter to entire family, including those who could not attend, describing the events of the weekend.
- Reflect and evaluate for the next family reunion: What worked? What didn’t?
- Start planning your next reunion.