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Step 3. Prepare in Advance

On your marks! Get Ready!

While you wait for the date to get here, gather all the things you'll need for your family reunion: the supplies, the food, the furnishings, the items to strengthen your family ties. Confirm your reservations, too. Then you'll have everything ready when the big day arrives.

Order the clothing or other items you'll need to help family members realize they are truly part of your family.

Whether you need a few tables and chairs or a giant tent, now's the time to make sure you'll have everything you want to rent or borrow.

Get out the crepe paper, the photos, or whatever you have in mind to set the theme and the mood for your reunion.

Order or prepare the signs to help people find where they need to go and make the reunion seem well-planned.

You may or may not like computers, camcorders, digital cameras, microphones or loudspeakers, but they are important for preserving and enhancing your family reunion.

Unless you're having your family reunion catered or holding it at a restaurant or resort, you'll want to get food and other supplies ready.

You may want name tags, forms for collecting information, genealogies and so on. Now's the time to print them.

Whether a child gets a scraped knee or an adult suffers an upset stomach, it's good to be prepared for emergencies. Be sure to have a plan, supplies and phone numbers.

They may blame it on computers but human error is the reason reservations get canceled or never made. Avoid embarrassment and chaos by checking once again that all your reservations are in order.

Let people know your family reunion is still on schedule and that you hope they'll be there.

A star indicates a task that is essential for all family reunions. Unstarred tasks may or may not be essential, depending on how you structure your reunion.