Planning A Successful Family Reunion

A successful family reunion requires thorough planning and family participation. Use these suggestions as your blueprint.

A family reunion is a time of joy and celebration. Relatives from near and far come together for the purpose of celebrating the family unit. Each reunion is a new experience because peoples' lives change. Marriages, births, deaths, jobs, degrees and more make a gathering of the family unit time for reminiscing and a time for catching up. Successful family reunions are memories that are shared for years from generation to generation. Therefore an enjoyable one takes organized planning.

One of the most important parts of an effectively organized reunion is solid and timely financing. Getting the finances out of the way allows time for creativity, well thought out activity planning, and prevents headaches from last minute rushing. Finances are needed for paying for a site, accommodations, food, entertainment, and souvenirs(tee shirts, mugs, pictures, etc). First sit down and figure out the total cost. Make sure you have accurate figures for the room rates, deposits for a site, group rates for entertainment, etc. Once you have a total cost decide how much each family will be expected to contribute. You can decide if the family members' contributions will subsidize or cover the entire cost. All finances should be collected no later than 2 months before the date of the reunion. Having the money early will make it easier for making deposits on rooms, sites, DJ's, vendors, etc. Most importantly, request payment in the form of a money order. This ensures no delay for check clearance, returned checks, and easier liquidation.

Part of the financial planning includes the site for the reunion. If it is to be held at a family member's home then site acquisition is not an issue. However, many times reunions are held in nature parks, amusement parks, churches, or even on boats. When deciding on a site, make sure that it is appropriate for the size of the group, find out what is and is not permitted in terms of activity, and get a solid timeline for reservations and payment due dates. For an outside site extra preparation is necessary. If you will need electricity ask if there are outlets or if you need to bring a generator. Also look into how garbage disposal is handled. Also check into regulations concerning gas and charcoal grills. Some public parks have requirements concerning refuse that require you to bring your own bags and containers. In an effort to preserve nature they like for the area to look as if no one has been there. You will be charged extra if you do not comply with their rules. Most importantly look into rules concerning noise and noise ordinances. This is important since many functions last the entire day and part of the evening. Indoor sites or amusement parks are well equipped with modern conveniences thus the preparation is sometimes easier.

The demographics of the group will decide on the activities. Usually there is a group of adults and a sizeable group of children. Make sure that there is adequate stimulation for the children so that the adults can enjoy themselves without having to spend excessive energy keeping the children occupied. In parks there are playsets and some have lakes with paddleboats and swimming areas. Amusement parks always have children's areas and with any other venue you'll have to be creative. It is also important when planning activities that you ensure the intermingling of generations and clans. One unique activity that facilitates this is an address book game. Go to a stationery store and get enough mini composition books so that everyone including the children has one. The object of the game is to get the name, address, phone number, birth date, and email address of as many relatives as possible. Set a time limit for contact information acquisition and then collect the books. Whoever has the most contacts wins a prize. Moreover, everyone wins because they will leave with an address book with all of their relatives' contact information. For the evenings or late nights also make sure there are activities for the children and adults. If the adults go somewhere late night such as a club make sure there is adequate child supervision.

After everything is over, follow-up is key. This means getting an idea of how the reunion was enjoyed by all, and planning the next one. Have a meeting of the group to decide the month and city of the next reunion. It is not necessary to have the exact date and all the details planned out. However, it is a good idea to know what part of the country, what family would like to host, if it will be on a cruise, if it will be overseas, etc. Also have everyone contribute a small amount to be used as seed money for the next reunion. This will cover costs incurred for pre-planning such as postage, phone calls, early deposits, or taking care of costs of members who may desire to participate but are financially challenged. Happy planning.

© High Speed Ventures 2011