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Getting the Word Out - Invitations

Just starting out and wondering who to invite? Several of our podcasts will help solve that reunion planning dilemma. Listen to "Who do you invite to a reunion anyway?" Then consider "The art of the loving Invitation" and "The opening letter."


Invitations that get attention
by Karen Luna Ray

Grab attention with your reunion invitation! Remember what your mother told you about first impressions? It’s true. Invitations are your best, sometimes first and only, chance to make a lasting impression. Your goal is for the recipient to mark the date on his/her calendar immediately and return the confirmation ASAP.

Pertinent information must be provided, surround necessary particulars with photos of smiling family faces. It’s more appealing than straight text. Can’t decide if a photo is Aunt Agnes or Grandma Sue when she was a young woman? Never mind, pick the invitation up again and again until you figure it out.

Timeliness is always a concern. If your reunion involves children, you must consider summer vacation start and end dates. Many plan vacations around reunions. A Save-the-Date card should be sent early so members can make arrangements with employers. Send early enough to avoid last minute calendar shuffling but not so early to be tossed aside or forgotten. I suspect most members know well in advance, via the family grapevine, so 90 days may be sufficient to mail invitations; while, for many reasons, some reunions require longer notice. Allow folks ample time to RSVP and prepare to follow up. An absolute must for organizers is to specify deadline and cut-off dates.

Your budget determines how fancy or plain your invitations and/or other reunion mailings can be. If your budget allows only minimal expenditure for invitations try this:

Bold Headline “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE JUST BEEN MADE A WINNER IN THE (your family surname) SWEEPSTAKES! YOUR PRIZE? AN INVITATION TO A FUN FILLED DAY AT THE (your family surname) REUNION!”

Continuing the sweepstakes theme, fill in the remainder of the page with pertinent reunion information.

If your budget stretches a little further, add family faces around the outer edges. The number of family pictures you have determines the paper size. Photos can be current or you can make it really interesting by going through Grandma’s picture box and make copies of everyone when they were younger. I guarantee this is one invitation that won’t be tossed aside.

Gather a number of photos and xerox them in color or black and white. Cut the faces from the photocopies. Attach them to a master copy of the invitation with double sticky tape. When the master copy is complete, make mailing copies in color or black and white.

Whatever form your invitation takes, make it interesting, make it personal. Once the invitation is in recipients’ hands, the ball is in their court and you’ve given it your best shot.

About the author
Karen Luna Ray is a veteran reunion planner and freelance writer who has shared much of her excellent and creative experience with Reunions magazine readers. She lives in southeastern Oklahoma with her husband and two children. Her work has also been published in North American Manx Association Bulletin and newspapers. She writes and publishes a family newsletter distributed on reunion day.

 

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Does anyone send out invitations anymore?

I just realized that I've seen very few mailed invitations to reunions this year. When I do workshops I urge electronic communication as swifter and cheaper. But I'm beginning to think that no one is "sending" invitations any more. Prove me wrong! Please put Reunions magazine (PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211) on your invitation list so we can see how you are engaging your members. We would also like to share your ideas with other reunions. See some of the collection we already have.

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