You may not like to write. And you may keep your distance from that “crazy uncle” that most families count among their own. But when you have to write a “save the date” letter for a family reunion, you'll be able to put trepidation aside and rise to the occasion, especially if you follow a few helpful pointers.
That you wish to write a letter strongly suggests that you have more information to share than would fit on a postcard. So gather all that information before you sit down to pen your letter. On the other hand, you may have little information to share right now. After all, the point of a save the date letter is to give people a heads-up so they set aside an important date and not make other plans that would conflict with the timing of your event. Either way, think of yourself as your family's de facto communications director and share all the information you have at your disposal at this juncture.
Open With Gusto
Write an opening paragraph that captures the spirit of past family reunions or, if this is the first reunion, the tone of your family gatherings. Strive for an informal, conversational style – as if you were picking up the phone and inviting a family member to your home for dinner.
If you're creative (and ambitious), cut and paste a picture or two of previous family gatherings – images that depict the fun-filled and happy times you've shared. (Writers call this tactic an “emotional appeal,” but your family members don't have to know this. Your goal is to spur feelings of nostalgia so they will be inclined to attend.) Most important: Include the date of your family reunion in the opening paragraph and boldface the date for emphasis, if you wish.
Provide the Details
Segue into providing as many details as you can. If your reunion will stretch over the course of several days or will take place at a hotel, include information about the venue, the accommodations, rates, reservation deadlines and a tentative itinerary of activities. You may wish to point out that “more information will be forthcoming” as it becomes available. “For now, I want to ensure that you save this important date for our family reunion.”
Supply RSVP and Contact Information
If you haven't already designated one family member as the “go-to” contact person, now is a good time to do so. Your family members will need to know how you wish them to confirm the fact that they've saved the date of your family reunion. Many people prefer to use an email address to streamline this information, but you still should provide a phone number, too. Expect that some family members will have questions (or suggestions) after reading your family reunion letter. Finally, be sure to provide your contact information – maybe with some pointers about the best (and worst) times to get in touch with you.
Add Some Final Touches
Since you're sending this save the date letter to family members, add a personal touch by signing each letter. Depending on the size of your family, you might be faced with a stack of letters to sign. But your signature should be seen as a thoughtful gesture that will be appreciated. In addition, consider writing “Save the date” on the back of the envelope after you seal it. It will help your letter stand out – just as you probably hope to do at your family reunion.
- Keep track of the invitations that were sent out with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (or similar program), so that when a family member responds, you can have a record of the responses and the dates you received them all in one place. In this way, you will know who has responded by which time and who has not.
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