These days, family members often live far away and one of the only times they get to see each other is at the reunion. Gathering your relatives together to reconnect and share stories can be lots of fun, but planning the reunion can be highly demanding.
Whether it’s an afternoon barbecue or a multi-day family reunion extravaganza, there are lots of ways to make your family reunion one to remember.
Here are some tips for planning.
- Before you start planning, find out whether family members have interest in attending a reunion. One way to do this is to create a survey that they can fill it out and send back to you. That way you can gauge their level of interest.
- Make a list of the family members you want to invite. Be sure to include their spouses, partners, and children.
- Once you have the list, gather everyone’s contact information.
- Begin planning at least one year in advance of the reunion date. Planning ahead will allow everyone to check their schedule and make sure they are able to attend.
- You don’t have to do all the planning alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Ask other family members to volunteer to help you out with certain aspects of the planning.
When is the best time of year for a reunion?
Guests are most likely to attend a reunion during the summer months because kids are on summer vacation. Talk to family members to find out which dates they will be able to attend, and then choose the dates that will work best for everyone. If you want, you could schedule the reunion around a special event like a family member’s birthday or a holiday like the 4th of July.
How long should the reunion be?
Your reunion can be as long or as short as you like. A weekend or long weekend is a good length of time for a reunion. However, if you have family members travelling from far away, a longer reunion will allow them more time to travel.
Where should the reunion be located?
Select a location that is close to as many family members as possible. If your family is scattered across the country, choose the most central location that you can find. You don’t want some family members to have more of a travel burden than others if you can avoid it.
Make sure the location fits your budget and that of your relatives. There are so many possibilities, from your own hometown, to a ski resort, beach house, major city, scenic park, or even a cruise ship. If you have relatives who are disabled, make sure the location you choose is handicap-accessible.
When searching for accommodations for your family reunion, remember that people will be happier if they can have some privacy. While it’s wonderful to see family members you haven’t seen in a long time, lots of tension can build when people are sharing space, even if it’s just for a weekend.
People will need to be able to get away from each other and have some alone time. Make meals and activities the shared times, and allow room for down time in between.
Setting the budget
The budget for your reunion will depend on how much money people are able to contribute. Everyone should pay their fair share. You can calculate an initial budget, divide it up, and ask people if they can pay the amount you come up with. If they can’t afford it, you might have to adjust your budget.
Keep a careful record of who has paid for what. Money can be a sure-fire way to start a family feud! Don’t plan activities that will cost more than anyone can afford to pay, and allow extra room in your budget to cover unforeseen expenses. Keep very detailed records of receipts, deposits and expenses in case arguments over money arise.
What does your family like to do? There are all kinds of activities that will make for a fun and memorable family reunion. Don’t be afraid to unleash your creative side!
Ask family members what they would enjoy. You should plan fun activities like games, crafts, contests, and meals, and have a backup plan in case it rains. Outdoor games like softball, volleyball, a scavenger hunt and family Olympics are fun for everyone. Set up a slideshow of old family photographs or home movies, or make a family tree.
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