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Planning a family reunion requires one to plan, organize, and coordinate well ahead of the actual event. In successfully doing so, your family will have the opportunity to catch up, rekindle old relationships, and create new memories.
If you have ever planned a backyard barbecue with family, a weekend full of activities, or even a camping trip for your extended family, then you are familiar with the basics of planning a family reunion. They can be as simple as a gathering of 25 people in someones backyard to as complex as a week long group cruise to the Caribbean.
After all, it does take a lot of patience, time, and commitment to get people (who have not seen each other in years) to come together as a family.
Regardless of how many steps are involved in planning your first family reunion, there are certain things to keep in mind that will help you get through it. But before you read the steps, you should know why you are planning a family reunion.
In today’s day and age, it’s become extremely tough to keep in touch with our families. With e-mail, Facebook, our work lives, and our personal lives, it seems almost impossible to maintain close ties with distant relatives. A family reunion gives us the opportunity to rekindle those relationships with relatives who we may have not spoken to in years.
Time spent with family members will provide a sense of belonging, and perspective on our own history and lineage. It’s a great way to reconnect with our past not just for ourselves but also for our children.
In addition to catching up, family reunions tend to be a lot of fun. Planning and participating in activities, special events, talent shows, or even genealogy is a great way to spend a vacation. One that you won’t forget for years to come.
Plan At Least A Year Out-
If this is the first time that you are planning a family reunion, then give yourself at least a year to get things organized. Many new family reunion planners give themselves 18-24 months just to be on the safe side. You will need this much time to get the word out, take surveys, and organize committees to do things the right way. Anything less will require too many shortcuts (And shortcuts lead to long delays!!!).
Giving your family members this much lead time will also let your family members plan their vacations around the family reunion, thereby increasing the number of people attending the actual event.
Don’t plan alone
Getting together a team to help you sort through, plan, and organize the event will not only take some of the stress off your shoulders, it will also create a great buy-in factor for those helping you.The more people you involve, the easier it will be for you to organize everything.
One of the easiest ways to get a team together is to create committees that are responsible for different parts of the reunion. If you are the one that is leading the charge, then remember to delegate the work instead of trying to do everything else yourself.
Start Small When Planning A Family Reunion For The First Time
Simply invite close family members to a park that is central to everyone. Instruct people to bring one food item as their contribution to the family reunion . By keeping it small, you will learn the simple steps that require successful execution of a family reunion at a larger scale. Once your first family reunion is complete, then start widening the circle to invite additional family members that may live further out.
As the number of reunions grow, so will your attendees. Eventually, you’ll need to create committee’s to handle tasks like selecting a plave for the family reunion. You’ll need to enlist a few family members to get rates, negotiate amenities and reservea spot and report back to you for final approval. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Just get the first one out of the way. And don’t try to grow too fast. Slowly growing the number of attendees every year will keep your planning smoother and your event successful.
They are supposed to be memorable and a chance to reconnect with your loved ones, but family reunions need careful planning to pull off successfully, according to Jeanne Pena, the family reunions manager at Mohonk Mountain House, a resort in New Paltz, N.Y., that hosts more than 150 family reunions a year.
“There are a lot of little pieces involved in making sure that this important occasion goes smoothly,” she said.
Here, Ms. Pena’s advice for having a family reunion you’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Set the Date Far in Advance Getting a large group of family together takes a lot of coordination, and it is best to start planning the trip at least a year in advance so everyone can save the dates and book flights and accommodations. As you get closer to the date, availability will become slim, and prices will go up. Ms. Pena said to be firm about sticking to a date once it has been chosen. “You want to accommodate as many people as possible, but you’re unlikely to find a time that works for everyone,” she said.
Consider a House Rental Homes offer many benefits for family reunions, including multiple private bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and communal living and outdoor spaces where everyone can gather. Look for rentals on Airbnb.com, HomeAway.com or Vrbo.com, or seek out resorts that have on-site private residences; these options give you the space and privacy of a home along with the services of a resort such as daily housekeeping and access to a pool, spa and other amenities.
Pick a Destination With Activities It’s important to find a destination where all generations of your family can have a good time with a variety of activity options. “You want a hotel or home that offers or is near a golf course, a pool, a spa, a lake where you can go swimming or fishing, hiking trails, bike rentals and more,” she said.
Plan a Themed Event The purpose of a reunion is to spend time with your family, but Ms. Pena said that in many instances, people tend to go their separate ways to participate in their favorite activities and get little time together as a group. She suggested designating one afternoon or evening of your reunion for a fun collective event such as a Mexican fiesta with a mariachi band, a Texas-style barbecue with rodeo music, or a dance party of oldies tunes. “In my experience, parties where everyone in the family gathers together are the highlight of the reunion,” she said.
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