Before the Gathering
Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2006
Buy Inexpensive Software
Easy-to-install computer programs, such as Family Reunion Organizer and Reunion Planner, include address books and mailing-list templates, budget worksheets, comprehensive checklists, and other features to help organize every aspect of the reunion.
Set Up a Website
Personal sites provide a forum for family members to trade ideas and decide on event details. Once the site has been created, relatives can visit it and make suggestions. Online services such as Myevent.com offer features, such as electronic payment options, that are designed specifically for family reunions.
Create a Family Tree
Trace your family history with help from websites such as Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com. Then convert your findings into a professional-looking family tree using design software. Share the family tree at the reunion: You can connect a portable projector or a television to your laptop to present the information.
Produce a Documentary
Slide shows have entered the twenty-first century. You can now integrate photographs and video clips collected from family members with narration, music, and sound effects using multimedia software intended for the nonprofessional. Then screen the results at the reunion.
With a photo-editing program, you can manipulate images for printing on T-shirts, water bottles, coasters, CD jackets, and other items with the use of transfer paper (see examples of photo crafting). Or upload your photos onto websites such as Snapfish.com and Shutterfly.com, and order from their selection of customizable photo-craft products, including mugs and calendars.