Family reunion planning can be daunting, especially with large families. With so much to think about, the process can easily become overwhelming. Let these planning tips, timeline, family reunion invitations and checklist help you delegate tasks and properly prepare for your family’s big event.
Family Reunion Planning Tips
- Start early. Allow yourselves at least one year to plan. A good idea is to start polling family members 18 months ahead of time for potential interest and ideas, then set a date a year ahead of time.
- Before you officially plan any parties or get-togethers, keep the budget in mind. Evaluate all potential expenses such as food, beverages, entertainment, venue rental, decorations, invitations, etc. Ask your family if they’d rather pay a flat fee to help cover the costs or if they’d rather bring food, drinks and decorations to share. perhaps one family can sponsor the invitations while another will provide beverages, etc.
- Set a date that will appeal to the most attendees possible. While family reunions tend to be popular in the summertime, that may not be the best time for yours. Ask!
- Videos and photo slideshows are always a hit at family reunions, but they take time. If you’d like to see some family photos, ask early and set a strict submission deadline of three months before the reunion.
Family Reunion Planning Timeline
The following reunion planning timeline is meant to help you plan your reunion in 12-18 months. You may decide to plan your own reunion in less time or realize you need more time, so feel free to adjust this list as necessary.
12-18 Months Before
– Reach out via email, phone calls and social media to see how many of your family members would be interested in having a reunion.
– Survey family members for date preferences along with general preferences on activities. Ask them what their travel and spending budget will be.
– Create a budget. This can be difficult to do without knowing how many attendees you’ll have, but this free download will help you budget.
– Form a group of volunteers. Have them gather addresses and phone numbers of every family member you plan to invite.
12 Months Before
– Set an official date and location for the reunion based on feedback and availabilities.
– Decide on the event: picnic in the park? Swanky party at a resort? Pizza party?
– Decide on a venue and book it.
– Determine any liability insurance needs (some venues require it).
9 Months Before
– Set up an official website or Facebook page with all information on the reunion
– Design and order your family reunion invitations. Send them as soon as possible!
– Call local hotels that are close to the reunion venues and try to arrange a special discount for reunion attendees.
6 Months Before
– Mail your reunion invitations, if you haven’t yet.
– Make final menu decisions. If you’re having a potluck, organize spreadsheets and have each family add what they will bring. If you’re having everyone chip in on some catering, make a food budget and start collecting.
– Meet with your caterer and plan the menu, if you’re going that route.
– Confirm all reservations and bookings.
– Reserve any tables and chairs you may need for the reunion.
3 Months Before
– Purchase reunion decorations.
– Collect family photos and put together a slide show or video.
– Order cakes, if necessary.
One Month Before
– Get a final head count for attendees (or as close as possible). Give this count to the caterer, if applicable.
– Finalize all plans and make any final purchases or confirmations.
– Put any necessary reminders on the reunion website.
– Create name tags. This may not seem necessary, but once the entire park is full of distant cousins, you’ll be glad you have them.
– Write and print itineraries and welcome letters for the family reunion attendees. This will be especially helpful for multi-day reunions.
One Day Before / Reunion Day
– Decorate the venue for the big party.
– Pick up any cake or floral arrangements.
– Handle any other last-minute details.
Family Reunion Planning Checklist
This printable checklist will help you get organized and delegate tasks to ensure every detail of your family reunion planning goes smoothly. Simply copy and paste this checklist into a Word document and print as many copies as you need.
Reunion Planning Checklist
- Gather family opinions on attending a reunion, dates and locations
- Form a small committee of local family members to help
- Solicit volunteers to gather addresses, email address and phone numbers of all invited family members
- Decide on a date and location
- Decide on venue and type of event
- Order and send reunion invitations
- Create a budget
- Create a website or Facebook group
- Decide on a venue and reserve it
- Arrange for lodging discounts
- Choose a menu or hire a caterer
- Pay all required deposits
- Make / buy decorations
- Order a reunion guestbook
- Plan games and activities
- Order event mementos such as t-shirts
- Create photo slideshow
- Arrange deceased relative tribute
- Confirm all reservations
- Create name tags
- Delegate last-minute tasks: decorating, picking up flowers our mementos, etc.
Once you’ve split up your family reunion planning into a timetable and checklist and solicited plenty of help, the planning process will be much easier and a lot more fun. Just remember to give yourselves plenty of time, keep your family’s tastes and preferences in mind, and have fun!