A week-by-week guide to help your family create a casual family reunion picnic, beach holiday, or state park gathering.
A family reunion is a great way to gather your family together even as it is growing and changing. It's an opportunity to celebrate your family's history, recent achievements, and new additions. A picnic in the park, a beach-side barbecue, or a state park gathering are all casual venues that will attract even the most aloof family members for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
If you're planning a family reunion for about 100 people, you'll want to start your planning about six months in advance so you can drum up interest and enlist some deputies to help you pull it off. Here's a checklist to help you and your family get started!
Determine interest of family members. Send out a family poll (by e-mail or by post) to gauge interest in a reunion, get an idea of how many people would attend, and find out what dates and locations would work best.
Ask for help. You'll need to find dependable and enthusiastic relatives who could take charge of:
Research locations and facilities.
Finalize the date and location. Find out what amenities will be available: drinking water, swimming pool, grilling facilities, changing rooms, indoor space (in case of rain), picnic tables, etc.
Finalize plans for reunion favors, video, family history pamphlet, or T-shirts. Family members will want something to remember this grand occasion.
Come up with a reunion schedule, theme, and approximate cost per person.
Follow up with volunteers and dole out tasks as appropriate.
Schedule events and activities.
Schedule and plan meals.
Start a list of those who have confirmed their attendance, where they'll be staying, and when they'll be arriving.
Reserve rental equipment such as a podium, microphone, tables, or chairs.
Confirm restaurant reservations and provide your latest guest estimate.
Make final purchases.
Order copies of family history or video.
Confirm with relatives who are bringing food or other supplies.
Confirm meeting places.
Confirm sleeping accommodations.
Review your final to-do list.
Buy last-minute decorations and supplies.
Create signs and banners.
Make arrangements to donate leftover food to a local shelter or food pantry.
Review reunion minutiae with committees.
Pick up any rental equipment, like chairs, tables, etc.
Prepare final payments and tips for any professionals and help you've hired, like the caterer and wait staff. Put these together in separate envelopes so you can quickly hand them out as needed throughout the event. Keep in mind that you can send extra tips later if their performance was exceptional. Otherwise, a 10 to 15 percent tip is customary if it's not included in their charge.
Set up and decorate.
Get some sleep!
Write thank-you notes to special attendees, relatives who donated time and money, and any other people who helped make your event a success.
Develop film. Be sure to get CDs made so you can upload photos to ofoto.com or shutterfly.com. This way other family members can purchase copies of your photos.
Donate or distribute leftover favors, decorations, family history pamphlets, etc.
Follow up with videographer and photographer to find out when materials will be ready for distribution.
Send an e-mail or mass mailing to all who attended, summarizing the festivities, thanking them for attending, and telling them where they can purchase photos, videos, or any other follow-up items from your event.