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.
Planning a family reunion can seem very intimidating at first
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.
Why plan 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.
So What Are The Three Guiding Principles
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. To learn more, read What Are The Most Common Family Reunion Committees. If you are the one that is leading the charge, then remember to delegate the work instead of trying to do everything else yourself.
If you need help in planning a family reunion, we would suggest that you read our guide How To Plan A Family Reunion.
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 (Free Download : Family reunion picnic flyer). 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 hotel for the family reunion. You’ll need to enlist a few family members to get group hotel rates, negotiate amenities and block hotel rooms 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.
What should you do next?
Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at our family reunion planning guide.