A detailed checklist for your family reunion plans will keep you organized and give you a semblance of order and direction as you attempt to put together a successful event for the whole clan.
Video: How to Plan a Family Reunion
Where to start:
Ideally, you want to give yourself and your helpers at least six months to 1 year to prepare, consolidate ideas, and advise everyone regarding the event. This should also give participants and invited guests ample time to make travel plans and other reservations necessary, as well as file appropriate notices for taking time off from work or school. If you can start planning up to a year before the reunion, the better for you and for the whole family as this will allow for more thorough planning.
What your checklist should include:
In family reunion planning, no detail is too small or unnecessary. List everything down, and if possible, keep your checklist with you at all times so you can easily jot down updates any time of the day. You may find yourself suddenly thinking of something or remembering a task while grocery shopping, or in line at the bank, or browsing through magazines at your local book store. Inspiration and creative ideas are everywhere, so keep your checklist handy.
*Tip: If you want to go digital, there are also online checklists and Web-based project management tools that you can use, such as Checkvist or Basecamp. Checklists can be created and assigned online, and members can then update the tasks on their own computers, tablets, or smartphones.
6 months or more before the Family Reunion
- Organize your reunion committee(s)
- Update the Family Directory; make sure phone numbers and email addresses are accurate
- Contact family members regarding suggested dates, locations
- Begin looking into possible venues and cost
- Research and select reunion theme
5 months before the Family Reunion
- Synchronize with reunion planning committees regarding the theme to be followed
- Finalize the date/s of the reunion
- Finalize the location or venue, and begin making reservations
- Create a detailed budget
- Make or order reunion invitations
- Mail out invitations
4 months before the Family Reunion
- Set up the family reunion website; start Facebook or Twitter updates
- If preparing meals on your own, coordinate with food preparation committee regarding the family reunion menu
- If having food catering service, contact possible professional caterers and get price quotes
- As you begin to receive RSVPs from family members, update reservations with the venue as necessary
- Contact entertainment and other event peripherals as needed
- Plan games and activities
3 months before the Family Reunion
- Contact professional photographer or videographer to document the festivities
- Compile family memorabilia to be displayed during the reunion
- Update the family reunion website with helpful resources, maps, and links regarding the reunion event
- Inform family members of the contests, talent presentations, and other activities so they can start preparing
2 months before the Family Reunion
- Order reunion souvenir items such pens, mugs, shirts or other apparel
- Create an example schedule for the activities planned during the reunion
- Contact area restaurants, hotels, and other establishments and ask about discounts or coupons for large groups
1 month before the Family Reunion
- Send out reminder blasts on the family reunion website, or via e-mail and Facebook/Twitter
- Purchase equipment that will be used for the activities and games
- Confirm reservations with the venue, accommodations, caterers, entertainment, etc.
- Finalize theme decorations for the event
1-2 weeks before the Family Reunion
- Confirm any last minute details with your committee members
- If a destination reunion was chosen, make petsitting arrangements for any furry loved ones that will left at home
- If supplying food for the reunion, plan a grocery shopping trip
- Buy any last-minute decorations and supplies if needed
- Make sure souvenir items, programs, shirts, and other materials are ready and en-route
Your checklist should be constantly updated as you complete each step of the planning process, and also synchronized with other family members who are helping you out with the event. This way, you can maximize the available time and resources, and avoid wasting efforts having to redo certain steps or unnecessarily duplicate tasks because of poor organization.