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Choose your guestsGuest – n. One who is afforded hospitality or entertainment in another’s home or business establishment as a friend, visitor, patron, client, or family member gratuitously.

Mister Spiffy Says: "I love having guests over at my house. My home would be a disaster area if it weren’t for guests that offer to pay me back by cleaning my bathroom or kitchen."

Creating the Guest List
One of your first tasks (just underneath that doozy of organization) is to decide whom you want to include in your family reunion. Do you want to invite all the descendants of your great-great-great grandparents (which could easily number as hundreds of people, as in Mister Spiffy’s case), or just your immediate family? Just how many can you track down in how long an amount of time?

The number of people on your guest list will be a factor in many of your other early decisions, such as reunion location or the size of facility you’ll be needing. How many people will you need to pay for, and how much do you need from each person or family?  In general, if the crowd is big, you’ll need more planning time and have more advance preparations to make.  Also, you should try to get the reunion somewhere in the middle of the large spanning area of your family. Maybe the real question is, how many people are you willing to serve for?

Begin by making a list of people to invite.  Just contact the people that you already have addresses or phone numbers for. Ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the people you’re missing.

It’s very, very important to know approximately how many people and families you can count on to attend your reunion.  If your proposed guest list is short, you can find this out with a few quick phone calls. Unless, of course, your relatives are talkative. Then it might take several hours. If your guest list is very long, Mister Spiffy says you may want to send out a survey mailer to inform everybody that a would-be family reunion is in the works.  Include with this mailer a suggested, projected date, proposed reunion type, general ‘iffy’ location, and possible costs.  Ask – in a very courteous and polite manner – for your relatives to kindly send back responses indicating who would like to come so you can get a general idea of who you have to provide for.  You’ll also get an idea of what type of reunion they mostly want.  With this important information you can go find and reserve an appropriate facility and get everything else planned out and ready.

Tracking Down the Lost Relatives
If you’re lucky – which I’m not saying you are – you already have a lot of your family member’s addresses in an address book or on the computer somewhere. That way it’s just so much easier. You can use your computer to type up mailing labels for invitations, newsletters, mailers, various information packets, et cetera, et cetera.

If you aren’t so lucky – the category most of us fall into, including Mister Spiffy – it’s time to start shining up those rusty gut instincts of yours and track down the rest of your pack. Talk to your close family first, asking for the ones you don’t know.  For those of you whom are having difficulties with your memory recall, close family would be parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles.   Start collecting and compiling names and addresses of those previously lost family members.  Make sure you keep track of all your gains, or all your efforts were worthless. The best idea would be to put them in a computer program specifically designed to organize and manage these address, phone number, and/or name lists. Mister Spiffy wishes to inform you that keeping it up-to-date will help you avoid wasting all those thirty-three cent postage stamps by sending things to old addresses.  It doesn’t seem like much, I know, but it adds up over the years.

If there are relatives you still don’t have addresses for (or that you only have a partial address for), use the search form on this page.  You have to know at least their last name to use it, but if you don't even know their last name, you probably don't need to invite them.

And finally, add your reunion to the Family Reunion Registry and you might even find a few relatives you didn't even know existed.

Mister Spiffy’s Helpful Hints – If you have a family member who doesn’t like you (i.e., is holding a grudge for not getting invited to something), send them an invitation anyway. Mister Spiffy is an expert at healing souls through family reunions, and he knows. If they don’t come, then it’s their turn to try to fix things between you. That’s one less burden on your shoulders.

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