Family Reunion Planning Checklist

Family Reunion Planning Checklist

Use this handy timeline and checklist to guide your reunion planning. We’ve included extra lines so you can adapt it as necessary depending on the size and scope of your gathering. 

One Year to 18 Months Before the Reunion

• Recruit a planning committee
• Schedule committee meetings
• Assign responsibilities (such as attendance, finance, communication, venue, food, activities, etc.)
• Set a date and place (survey relatives if need be)
• Gather relatives’ contact information or update contact list
• Collect starter money (if a first-time reunion) or evaluate balance from the last reunion
• Set a budget (estimate costs, determine admission price)
• Open a reunion bank account (if you don’t have one)
• Set up a reunion website and/or Facebook page
• Send “save the date” announcement 
• Determine a theme
• Brainstorm activities, entertainment and food based on
the theme
• Investigate any events permits or other requirements
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12 Months Before

• Book the reunion venue
• Book a caterer, if using
• Book a professional photographer/videographer, or ask a relative to shoot photos and video
• Book entertainment, if using
• Reserve other services, such as tables and chairs or site clean-up
• Apply for permits
• Prepare map/directions to event site
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9 Months Before

• Design the invitation and tickets (if using)
• Order mementos and souvenirs
• Set up an email template for your registration confirmation message
• Begin preparing personal histories, slideshows, videos or other reunion handouts or displays
• Note milestones to acknowledge at the reunion, such as anniversaries, graduations, etc.
• Send a reminder announcement
• Look for sales of non-perishable supplies, such as decorations, plates, cups and napkins
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6 Months Before

• Plan decorations, displays and centerpieces
• Send official invitation
• Update address list as needed; continue to contact nonresponders and potential attendees
• Arrange for door prizes and game prizes
• Prepare door prize drawing tickets
• Book accommodations for traveling guests, if necessary
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3 Months Before

• Send reminder announcement (include enticing reunion details)
• Get event insurance as required
• Determine venue layout
• Make name tags
• Make table centerpieces and other decorations
• Prepare photo collage
• Prepare signage (marking the venue, registration area, drinks, bathrooms, etc.)
• Finalize schedule
• Designate event emcee
• Prepare announcements
• Prepare printed program
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1 Month Before

• Finalize personal histories, memory albums, slideshows, videos, etc., and order professional copies as necessary
• Update attendees list
• Assign dishes for potluck
• Continue attendee recruitment efforts
• Send reminder announcement
• Recruit helpers for set-up and clean-up
• Inventory items needed on-site and who is responsible for bringing each one
• Prepare a reunion survey
• Make nametags as needed
• Shop for nonperishable supplies
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2 Weeks Before

• Send reminders or tickets if using them
• Finalize attendance
• Prepare list of paid guests (if applicable)
• Confirm event details with all vendors and suppliers
• Finalize announcements and deliver to emcee
• Verify delivery of donated door prizes
• Finalize and print any handouts and labels
• For potluck, confirm who’s bringing what
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1 Week Before

• Update attendance list with last minute guests
• Finalize list of paid attendees
• Prepare name tags or registration packets
• Set contingency plans for weather or other unexpected events
• Give meal count to caterer (if using one)
• Shop for perishables
• Prepare final payment to venue and vendors
• Confirm room set up and equipment arrangements with venue (if applicable)
• Prepare checklist for the day of the reunion
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1 Day before

• Pick up beverages, ice and food (cake, cookie trays, sandwich trays, etc.)
• Prepare food and drinks as needed
• Deliver supplies to venue if possible
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Day of reunion

• Bring reunion day supplies (including checkbook) and checklist for the day
• Set up food and drinks
• Set up decorations and activities
• Have fun and enjoy the day!
• Clean up and pack items
• Retrieve supplies
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After the Reunion

• Send survey (if not distributed at event)
• Finalize photo book and or video with photographer/videographer
• Send memory albums and other handouts to those who paid but didn’t attend
• Send thank you notes and follow up letters
• Close bank account once all checks have cleared, or keep open with a minimal balance for the next reunion
• Store reunion supplies in convenient location
• Evaluate survey responses
• Meet with committee to discuss successes and pitfalls
• Send regular updates via a family website, social media, email and or mailings
• Update contact list
• Recruit planning committee volunteers for the next reunion
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From the September 2013 Family Tree Magazine 

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