A generation ago, family reunions were held at a family members house. Each family would bring an assigned food item to share in the potluck, and everyone would chip in to help cover the additional costs. One person was able to handle the planning of the reunion.
Nowadays, families are scattered miles and miles and miles apart from one another. It is more difficult to hold it at a family members house like they used to. Single family residences are not big enough to hold extended families comfortably.
Family reunions have been moved away from a family members home to an area that is either more centralized, or to an area that is agreed upon, with plenty of room for activities and meals. Listed below are tips on how to plan a family reunion:
Ideally, the planner should begin planning one year in advance. Planning early ensures that hiccups are taken care of, and things run smoothly. It also ensures that the date and location are locked in, and allows time for any negotiations. Choose a central location, or a location that was previously agreed upon. Make sure that you ask for group rates.
Open communication is always best. Everyone involved should be included in the major decisions, unless you have all agreed otherwise. However, regarding budget, the planner should be aware of each family’s budget, and keep within the smallest budget. You wouldn’t want any family excluded because they couldn’t afford to attend.
After the date and location is selected, and the rough draft is laid out, ask each family for a non-refundable deposit to cover their share of the costs. The financial burden should not be put solely on the planner. Asking for a non-refundable deposit determines who will be attending and will more than likely ensure that those who agreed to attend will not back out at the last minute; if a family does, then their share is still covered.
For obvious reasons, off-season is cheaper, but not always doable. Most people schedule family reunions during the summer because school is not in session, and the weather is warmer, which allows for outside activities. If off-season doesn’t work for your family reunion, consider the beginning or end of the summer, because the middle of the summer is typically when most people travel. Avoid near the holidays.
Family reunions are a big deal, meal times and activities will either make or break the reunion.
Because of food allergies and different diet plans, having a variety of food is essential. Make sure you as the planner communicate with each family about their diet to ensure that everyone has something they are able to eat.
Have a variety of activities for everyone to participate in, including games, and crafts. People do not like to sit around and do nothing, unless it is their choice. They like to keep busy and actually have too much to do. It is important for people to have choices. However, do not over plan major activities; it is too stressful for everyone involved to make sure that these activities are completed.
Planning a family reunion should be a family affair. It should never be one person’s responsibility. If you are the planner, make certain to include each individual family, and assign each family something to be in charge of during the reunion; this will ensure family closeness.
Above all, be flexible with your plans, and have a plan B ready, just in case. Flexibility with big groups are a necessity; there are too many people to keep to a strict schedule, unless you desire stress in your life.
Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Above all, enjoy each other’s company. A family reunion occurs because people desire to spend time with your family members. Do what you can to make it as stress free as possible, and to run as smoothly as possible. A family works best when they work together.