As soon as the idea for a family reunion pops into your head, you’ll feel by turns excited and overwhelmed by what you’re planning to do. What if no one shows up? What if no one recognizes one another? What if, what if, what if… So, to stop you from worrying and to help you arrange the perfect family reunion that people will talk about for years to come (for the right reasons!), here are some useful tips.
The very first thing that you need to do to organize a successful family reunion is to have a plan. Begin at the beginning and find a date that suits everyone (or as many people as possible). Choose a date that’s a good few months – or more – in the future, and you’re more likely to find that people will be able to come. Once you’ve got a date set, it’s time to look for a venue. Look at banquet halls for rent as these will give you enough space for everyone, plus you can often get the catering organized at the same time, which saves you a job later on.
As with any major event when lots of people are coming from all over the country – or even further afield – to meet up, arranging a family reunion is a big task. Therefore, it’s important to delegate as many of the jobs that need doing to make it happen as possible. Surround yourself with capable people who are able to take your instructions and understand what it is you want, and you’ll find that the reunion happens a lot less painfully than it would if you were doing it all by yourself. You can be the overseer, but don’t take on too much or you run the risk of not having everything done in time. Jobs that can be delegated include tracking who can attend (and sending the invitations out in the first place), liaising with the entertainment that’s booked, organizing activities, or even gathering together mementoes and family souvenirs to display at the event.
Having a budget in mind is essential when you are planning any big event, and that’s true whether you’re paying for everything yourself, or you’re expecting your guests to contribute something to the total cost. If you’re arranging something that requires overnight stays, factor that into your costings too, as not everyone will be able to afford the price of a hotel room, and that could make the difference between them attending or not. Speak to local hoteliers and see if you can arrange a discount for multiple rooms, for example. If not, try to find alternative accommodation (does anyone else who’s attending and who lives locally have a spare room?).
For some, a family reunion will be about the event itself, meeting up in a central space and enjoying one another’s company for the first time in a long time. For others, it’s about arranging a lot of different activities for everyone to have fun enjoying, and create new memories as they talk about old ones. If you are opting for the latter, make sure there is something that everyone can enjoy. You’re likely to have a variety of ages present, from babies to older people, so think carefully about your activities so that no one misses out.