How to Plan a Family Reunion

How to Plan a Family Reunion

Even though social media makes it simple to stay in touch with family members, nothing beats seeing them in person. A family reunion is an excellent opportunity to reconnect, reflect, and create new memories. To begin planning your family reunion, choose a date, location, and venue. Then you can plan the event and coordinate the last-minute details.

Part 1 Setting a Date

1. Begin planning a year ahead of time. This will give people more time to plan their travel expenses. It will also be useful for families with school-age children who need to plan school vacations.

You should also give yourself plenty of time to plan the event.

2. Set boundaries for who you will invite. For a smaller reunion, you might decide to limit the guest list to first cousins, while a larger event might include second and third cousins. Plan to invite everyone who falls into that category once you’ve decided which degree of relations to include.

It’s best to invite everyone, even if you don’t think they’ll come, so no one feels excluded.

To stay organised, make a list of potential attendees and their contact information.

3. To gauge interest in potential attendees, conduct a survey. This will give you an idea of the size of the event. It will also come in handy when choosing a location that is centrally located for attendees.

An online poll is the most convenient way to survey people because responses are automatically recorded.

4. Determine your budget by consulting with those who plan to attend. The type of event you can afford will be determined by your budget. You might want to offer a variety of price points so that people have a variety of options to choose from.

Because some people may be uncomfortable discussing money, you can conduct this through an anonymous online poll.

5. Determine the length of the reunion. A daylong or weekend event works best for an annual event or when family members see each other frequently. If family members don’t see each other very often or if people must travel long distances, a longer event may make sense.

Remember that longer reunions will necessitate more space so that people don’t get on each other’s nerves.

6. To choose a date, poll potential attendees. Give people the option of selecting one of three possible dates. Remember that you can’t meet everyone’s needs, so a survey is a neutral tool for determining what works best for the majority of people.

An online poll is the most convenient way to poll people about their preferences for dates.

Part 2 Picking a Location

1. For a more affordable option, consider a home-hosted gathering. You will be able to save money on venue rental fees as a result of this. A home-hosted reunion also allows you to arrange a potluck meal for a low-cost meal option.

Because most houses have limited space, a home-hosted reunion works best for smaller groups. Consider an open house-style event where people can drop in at different times for a larger group.

2. For less planning, consider all-inclusive resorts and cruises. Not only are meals provided, but there are also scheduled activities for both children and adults. Keep in mind your attendees’ budgets, as an all-inclusive is the most expensive option.

If an all-inclusive is too expensive, consider holding your reunion at a national park or campground. This allows people to select lodging based on their budget and provides a variety of activities.

3. Choose a central location that appeals to people of all ages. Consider how attendees will travel and whether you will need to be close to a major airport. Make certain that the destination offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for families, couples, and people with limited mobility.

If you hold your reunion at a popular vacation spot, families can extend their stay before or after the reunion for a more affordable vacation.

4. Choose a venue that is both accessible and interesting. If you are planning a home-hosted reunion, consider having it at the home of a family member who has played an important role in family history. Keep in mind that some attendees may struggle to walk long distances or climb stairs.

Consider renting a house through a home-sharing website for a house-based reunion that no one has to host. House rentals provide a number of private bedrooms, kitchens, and indoor and outdoor communal areas.

Parks near a lake or the ocean provide both land and water activities that appeal to both children and adults.

5. Make a contingency plan for an outdoor venue. In case of inclement weather, you should be prepared. If you’re holding the reunion in a park, you might be able to reserve a pavilion.

You should also have indoor activities for kids on hand, such as board games or craft supplies.

Part 3 Making Arrangements for the Event

1. Send invitations via email or postal mail. The date, time, and location of the event, as well as an RSVP date and contact information, should be included in the invitations. If applicable, include maps, driving directions, and lodging options for out-of-town guests.

Include information about any organised activities that people must sign up for in advance with the invitation.

You might also want to ask for family photos to be displayed.

2. Tasks should be delegated to volunteers. While it may be tempting to try to handle everything on your own, it is best to seek assistance. Consider delegating responsibility for food, entertainment, RSVP tracking, and creating a family tree or photo display.

A few volunteers should be enough for a smaller reunion of 20-30 people. Increase the number of volunteers in proportion to the size of the event.

3. Decide whether you want a potluck or a catered meal. A potluck is less expensive, but it may be difficult for out-of-town guests. A caterer, on the other hand, can handle all of the arrangements but will be more expensive.

Buffet-style meals are ideal for both home-hosted and casual outdoor gatherings.

If you’re planning a potluck, make sure to divide up the dishes and food items among the families. Consider whether you want to include people’s specialties or favourite family recipes.

Making a reservation at a restaurant that can accommodate large groups is another option.

4. Choose your activities and entertainment. Croquet, volleyball, and badminton are examples of outdoor games. Craft projects and board games are examples of indoor activities.

In case people need some downtime, it’s a good idea to have a quiet room with a TV and DVD player with kid-appropriate entertainment.

5. Plan your decorations based on the location of your event. If you are having a casual, outdoor reunion, simple decorations such as balloons and streamers are best. Items such as centrepieces and fresh floral arrangements may be appropriate for a more formal indoor reunion.

Make a display with a family tree or photos.

Photos can be easily displayed by adhering them to a poster board with photo-safe removable tape, which is available at craft supply stores.

Part 4 Coordinating Final Details

1. Make reservations for facilities and equipment at least two months in advance. You may need to reserve softball fields, volleyball courts, or grilling facilities if you are holding an outdoor event in a park. You might also want to reserve rental equipment like a podium, microphone, tables, and chairs.

Check with community centres and churches in your area to see if you can borrow or rent tables, chairs, and other equipment at a low cost.

2. Purchase activity and decoration supplies. It’s best to do this at least a month ahead of time so that items ordered online have enough time to arrive. Don’t forget disposable dinnerware and utensils if you’re having a potluck meal. 

To save money on supplies for a large gathering, shop at warehouse clubs, restaurant supply stores, and wholesalers.

When multiple people are purchasing supplies, it can be beneficial to keep track of purchases in a shared spreadsheet or similar document.

3. Create welcome bags filled with useful items for attendees. Canvas tote bags can be purchased cheaply online and personalised with iron-on transfers. A schedule, maps and brochures for out-of-town guests, a guest list with phone numbers, and name tags should all be included.

If your budget allows, fun extras like personalised t-shirts, refillable water bottles, and a themed or regional gift based on the reunion location can be included.

Include dollar store trinkets like bubbles, glow sticks, yo-yos, and stickers for kids.

Purchase items wholesale or ask for a volume discount to save money.

4. Make arrangements with vendors two weeks in advance. You will need to provide a final guest count if you are using a caterer. Check in with your venue and rental companies as well.

You should also check with a local food shelf or soup kitchen to see if they will accept any leftover food.

5. On the day of the reunion, set up and decorate the venue. Pick up any rental equipment and double-check that it works. To welcome people to the event, you might want to set up a welcome table.

Prepare final payments and tips for vendors, such as caterers and waitstaff, if applicable.

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