Tips For Planning a Successful Family Reunion
Family reunions can be a fun and satisfying way to reconnect with family members who live out of town or have a busy work schedule, or relatives that you just don’t see often enough in the course of day-to-day life.
Because most families are spread out over different geographical areas and age groups, organizing a family reunion can often pose a logistical challenge. The success of any gathering lies in the planning and preparation, and this is doubly so when it comes to a family reunion. Use the following tried-and-true tips are to plan a successful family reunion:
1. Pick a Theme & Nail Down Details
The first thing you’ll need to decide is what the theme and tone of the reunion will be. Do you want a casual affair with a picnic-style buffet, or a thoroughly organized event with a seating plan and planned activities from start to finish? The type of reunion sets the stage for all of the ensuing details.
Once you know what kind of reunion you’re going to hold, you can explore locations that might be suitable and start to consider food, activities, and other details. Keep in mind that party halls and hotel meeting rooms typically book for events months in advance, so plan ahead.
When it comes to food, there are two main options: asking guests to bring a dish potluck-style, or having the meal catered. There are pros and cons to both, especially with larger extended families, but a nice solution is to combine the two by catering most of the food but inviting guests to contribute beloved dishes or desserts.
2. Double-Check The Guest List
It’s a family reunion, and everyone is invited… right? Make sure to go over the guest list very carefully to avoid missing anyone. Most organizers could benefit from the assistance of an elderly relative who knows everyone, or the uncle who keeps a complete family tree as a hobby.
3. Send Invitations Well in Advance
Invitations to a family reunion should be sent at least a month and a half in advance, or even earlier if there are relatives who will have to make travel plans in order to attend.
Your invitations can set the tone for the reunion with a poem about the importance of family or a catchy party name. Make sure to mention the dress code-even if it’s just “casual dress” or “picnic wear”-and let everyone know if they’re expected to bring anything.
One option is to prepare a “save the date” note for anyone living at a considerable distance from the location of your reunion, and send that about to out-of-towners about a month before the official invitation.