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Choosing a reunion date

These are suggestions for steps and the time it takes from the time you start your very first reunion. For someone organizing a reunion with a history, this list is also good for checking your progress or as agenda considerations for committee meetings.

If your family has a newsletter, include some of these steps from time to time. Family members can better appreciate what their part is, if they know what you need to do when. For example, they might return reservations and t-shirt orders if they realize your deadline date is not arrived at arbitrarily.

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 24-18 months before your reunion...

  • Determine interest
  • Talk to other reunion organizers
  • Attend a reunion organizing class, workshop or conference
  • Start mailing and email list
  • Form reunion committee(s) and establish responsibilities and schedules 
  • Keep records of everything
  • Develop budget and bookkeeping system
  • How to ask for money
  • Scout/visit locations, facilities
  • Contact convention and visitors or tourism bureaus
  • Hotels are looking for your reunion

Set up social media presence! A website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

One year before ...

  • Set dates
  • Send Save-the-Date cards.
    Choose destination/location/venue
  • Send first mailer; tentative reunion schedule and plans (tours, souvenirs, memory books), theme, approximate cost, and missing persons list.
  • Art of the loving invitation
  • Begin souvenir directory/list of members, memory book
  • Arrange or hire entertainment, caterer, photographer, videographer, printer, motorcoach for touring
  • How to hire a motorcoach

6-9 months before ...

Visit hotel, meet with staff
Reserve block of rooms
Use website and Facebook pages to send announcements, build excitement and enthusiasm.
How to make a fundraising book
Send second mailer; include registration and souvenir order forms and cost
Send announcement to Reunions magazine

5 months before ...

  • Confirm reservations, entertainment (band, DJ, comedian, magician, face painting), photographer, caterer
  • Choose menu
  • Announce event to local news media, elected officials

4-2 months before ...

  • Meet with hotel staff, visit facility with reunion committee
  • Select decorations, theme, signs banners and order printed items
  • Reserve rental equipment; tents, bounce house, tables, chairs, porta-potties
  • Submit personalized souvenir order (t-shirts, mugs, caps ...)
    Complete directory/memory book; deliver to the printer

6 weeks before ...

  • Review committee assignments
    Write checklist for reunion tasks
  • Designate assignments for reunion volunteers
  • Don't do it alone: recruit volunteers

2 weeks before ...

  • Purchase last minute decorations and incidental supplies
  • Reconfirm meeting, sleeping and eating accommodations
  • Review final checklist

The day before ...

  • Determine location staff contacts for your reunion
  • Solve last-minute problems
  • Review final details with reunion committee

Reunion day(s) ...

  • Set up registration tables, rental equipment, displays, decorations
  • Juggle details; volunteers, food, photographer, games, kids activities, entertainment, tours, ceremonies
  • Decorate
  • Enjoy
  • Note: an evaluation done at the reunion will get faster response.

Afterward ...

  • Reflect and evaluate — note what worked, what didn’t
  • Complete bookkeeping; settle accounts
  • Write thank you notes to volunteers, hotel staff, caterers
    Add a reunion summary to your website and facebook pages and add lots of pictures and videos.
  • Start planning your next reunion

Choosing a date

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