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Family Reunions

Be sure to use the Worksheet List to plan other aspects of your Event!

  Worksheet List

Most Common Needs for Many Events

Addressing Envelopes
Event Evaluation
Flowers & their Meaning


Reception Set-Up
Rental Needs

Theme Ideas


Family Reunions

Family reunions are a special time and organizing one takes time. Use the following worksheets to help get things in action.


Use this checklist and ideas to plan your next family reunion celebration gathering; the links at the bottom also provides additional planning information and tools for a thorough planning experience.

Committee Heads:


Food Committee:__________________________________________

Invitation/Communication Committee:_______________________

Family History:____________________________________________

Entertainment/Activities Committee:________________________

Set-up Committee:_________________________________________

Clean-up Committee:______________________________________

Registration/Welcoming Committee:______________________

Decoration Committee:___________________________________

Photography and Recording Committee:______________________


Date of Event:


Day of Week:


Location Site:


Estimated # of People:


Address of Site:


Estimated # of Invitations:


Contact Person #1:







Contact Person #2:






Theme Colors:














Contact Person:



Web Site Address?




Time Frame:



Base Rental Fee:


Fee Per Hour Extra:


Extra Time:

Pre-set up allowed:


Set-up Time:


Clean-up Fee:


Security Fee:

Fee for Tables:

Sound System



Fee for Chairs:

# of Tables Needed:


# of Chairs Needed:

Fee for Table Clothes:


Alcoholic Beverages Allowed?


Electrical Outlets

Food on Site?

Other Services/Amenities:

Handicap Parking

Plenty of Parking

RV Parking


# of Restrooms

Play area

Covered outdoor Pavilion



Tennis Courts

Swimming Pool


Meeting Room

Pool Table

Horseback Riding

Nearby Park



Other Requirements:









RSVP Due Date:


Final Head Count

Delivery Dates/Times:




Setup Time/Date


Clean-up Time


Rental pickup date and time:













Potential site location visited



Theme chosen



Chairperson selected for each committee



Gather cost estimates for Budget



Check for proposed date to avoid conflicts



Finalize date



Begin designing invitation



Develop press release listing for family reunion web sites



Select program entertainer, MC, family speaker



Compile mailing list, data base, email listings, etc.



Investigate the need for special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.



Select photographer for event; arrange for photo session and assignment



Gather written contracts for site, catering, entertainment, decorations, etc.  if needed



Finance committee drafts initial budget






Family Crest/Shield for printing needs
Order plaques, certificates, trophies, other awards or gifts
Send reunion announcement in local newspapers

Determine menu with caterer and family sponsor
Mail invitations, registration forms, and other information
Put together registration/welcoming packets
Provide caterer with an estimate of guests expected
Review script
Confirm transportation needs for elderly
organize guest homes, hotel accommodations, etc.
Prepare name tags
Assign head table seating if desired
Formalize Lunch program (or other program) agenda
Print program or other special handouts

Meet with committee and helpers

Write checks for payments due

Gather receipt book, mobile credit card terminal/equipment, etc.

Load up all required materials, equipment, packets, etc.

Provide or arrange transportation for VIP’s and guests
Initiate a cock-tail hour for VIP’s and guests
Recheck all necessary equipment

Welcome banner about 10'
Registration guest book
DJ, band or professional story teller
Tent rental
Survey forms for evaluation purposes
Name Tags and markers
Souvenir T-shirts, caps, aprons
Web site for reunion notices
Welcome packet, newsletter, etc.


Present selves to designated area for the program area 
Greetings & Special Words of thanks
Special Message, purpose of celebration and gathering
Special Scripture or Poem
Declaration of family crest, values and beliefs
Musical selection
Vocal or instrumental

Blessing of the Family
Spokesperson or Minister

Special Remembrances for those lost this year

Special Prayer or Verse
Recognition for new family members, elder birthdays and other special significances

Presentation of Family Record Certificate, Family Tree and/or Family Bible

Meal or other Activities


A Family Reunion Planning Checklist

1. Appoint a coordinator for the event.
a. Plan and organize well beforehand.
b. Rely on the needs and desires of your extended family.
c. Notify the extended family that "we're all going to get together."
d. Track down the relatives, including relatives in Finland.

2. Make a master list many months ahead.
a. Consult relatives for other distant relatives asking for names and addresses.
b. Use older family members as sources of information.
c. Look through family albums, old letters, etc.
d. Use a personal ad in local papers telling of the reunion and to track
down lost relatives.

3. Create a family file for now and for future use. Include:
a. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
b. Occupations.
c. Standing in the family, for example, second cousin, great uncle, etc.
d. Special interest, for example hobbies, spare time activities, etc.

4. Help
a. Involve relatives, thereby creating a greater interest.
b. Organize teams for the various tasks.
i. Finances.
ii. Food and lodging. Families could be grouped together in campus housing
iii. Activities and entertainment.
iv. Collecting family memorabilia.
v. Creating a family tree and/or history.
vi. Miscellaneous details.
c. Appeal to people's interests and abilities.
d. Recruit a liaison for each branch of the family to:
i. Keep each branch up to date.
ii. Give head count of who will attend.
iii. Relay information from the main organizers to each of the teams.

5. Keep a reunion notebook.
a. Add or delete pages as necessary
b. Assign a separate section to each team.
c. Decrease chance of snafus, misunderstandings, and disappointments.

6. Planning the event.
a. Options are endless with only one rule: The affair should suit your
family's interest and needs.
b. When? In conjunction with other events in the area
i. Allow relatives sufficient time to make arrangements.
ii. Emphasize special significance.
c. Family poll.
i. How long for the reunion? One day? Two days? Etc.
ii. Cost of the reunion.
iii. Special interests.
iv. Do it yourselves or let professionals do the work?
d. Site:
e. Lodging
i. Campus residence halls?
ii. Local motels?
iii. Nearby campgrounds?
f. Invitations should be exciting and imaginative.
g. Feeding the family.
i. Caterer
ii. Be aware of any special dietary needs.

7. Enjoy yourselves
a. Ice breakers to reacquaint and greet all relatives.
b. Variety is the spice.
c. Stengthen memories via videotaping your reunion.
d. Family history. Write it and print it up
e. Family tree. Your reunion is a good time to compile or update
the family tree.

8. Establish a tradition
a. Keep in touch with the relatives with whom you reconnect at the reunion.
b. Start a family newsletter.
c. Plan a next reunion.
d. Do not let it stop here.





Family Reunions - Celebrating Your Roots! Tips for Planning Your Reunion
by Carole E. Neal, June 20, 1998The most important thing parents can give their children are Roots and Wings!


Make decision to have a Reunion

  • WHEN will it be held?
  • WHERE will it be held?
  • HOW long will It be?
  • WHO will be invited?
  • COMPILE mailing list (database of family members)
  • SEND "Save The Date" Notice

Establish Committees

  • Involve members from each branch of the family; get input from, and involve, the young family members.
  • Set a timeline for completing tasks or assignments
  • Committees meet as needed
  • Establish back-up or contingency plans
  • Host Family, Coordinator
  • Financial - Select the Treasurer
  • Program [Theme, Reunion Colors, Schedule of Activities, Banquet Program/Speakers/Script, Picnic, Church Service, Tours, other activities based on your family’s interests and for all age groups]
  • Lodging/Hospitality
  • Registration [name badges, goodie bags]
  • Decorations, Flowers
  • Food - Meals, Refreshments [Catered? Pot Luck?]
  • T-shirts, Other Keepsakes
  • Reunion Booklet, Family Directory
  • Family History - Information & Exhibits/Displays
  • Other (Video, Photography, Banner, Prizes)
  • Clean-up


  • First, an immediate mailing should be the "Save the Date" notice. Thereafter, send out information updates periodically
  • Include due dates for response, as well as a return mailing address
  • Include tidbits of information about family ancestors
  • Give clear instructions on how to order reunion items
  • When making arrangements with service providers, confirm everything in writing. Be specific!


  • Set a budget and registration fee schedule
  • Include copy of budget in an early mailing
  • Request bank to open a free, temporary checking account in the name of your reunion
  • Keep reunion funds separate from personal funds
  • Can also consider a permanent account if you decide to establish a family association

Schedule of Activities

  • Contact the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the local Chambers of Commerce for information regarding sightseeing tours and other activities, printed information, and hopefully, promotional giveaways.
  • The first activity sets the tone for the reunion. Make it festive. Have get acquainted games. Assign committee members to act as greeters
  • Allow for "free" time, especially for a first reunion. This allows folks to just talk and get acquainted or reacquainted and allows for informal sharing of family stories. In other words, don’t have something scheduled for every minute of every day.
  • At appropriate point, re-emphasize the times for various activities
  • Provide written directions to activity locations
  • Tap into family talent pool


  • Contact local hotels and request a block of rooms be held in the name of the reunion
  • Negotiate group rate

Goodie Bags

  • Request promotional giveaways and printed information from local Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chambers of Commerce, or local businesses
  • Download information from internet


  • Design - reflect reunion’s theme and colors
  • Prepaid? Pre-delivered, or pick up at reunion?
  • Possible fundraising activity

Reunion Booklet

  • Cover designs
  • Welcome
  • Outline of activities
  • Banquet program
  • Welcome letter from local officials
  • "In Memoriam" section
  • Family history
  • Family directory
  • Family business cards (support our own)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Family photos
  • Other


  • Formal photos: family elders, group photo, other


  • Recommend professional videographer
  • Include on-camera testimonials from attendees


  • Invite local officials - formal welcome
  • Banquet keynote speaker


  • Pre-reunion press release, and/or
  • Post-reunion newspaper article
  • Internet postings
  • Family newsletter
  • Other

Name Badges

  • Color-coded by family branch
  • Have backup materials on-site

Record Keeping

  • Devise organized method for recording and maintaining registrations, keepsake orders, correspondence, confirmations, and other reunion Information

Family Business Meeting

  • Decide particulars for next reunion
  • Discuss/decide other family business

Ideas For Family Projects

  • Repair of ancestral grave sites; headstones
  • Establish family Youth Scholarship Fund
  • Create family Investment Club
  • Make a family Heirloom Quilt

Reunion Prizes

  • Person who traveled the farthest
  • Oldest attending
  • Youngest attending
  • First to register
  • Most grandchildren

Reunion Wrap-up

  • Pay all outstanding bills
  • Send final communication
  • Include final Financial Report


Family Tree Record













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