Plan your Family Reunion,
Class Reunion or next family get-away!
How long has it been since you've seen your grandmother, favorite uncle,
nieces and nephews, cousins? Months...years? Then it's time to plan for a
Reuniting the entire clan is a great way to celebrate and rekindle family
ties. It's an opportunity to catch up on everyone's lives, meet the newest family
members and simply enjoy one another's company.
If the thought of bringing all of your relatives - whether they number 20
or 200 - together in one place leaves you in a state of panic, relax. Our guide will
help you and your family plan a festive memorable family get-together - whether it's a
weekend extravaganza or a simple family picnic.
Coordinating a Reunion:
Get help! Form a committee of dedicated family members and assign
specific tasks to each to help get things accomplished in a timely manner. The
number of helpers is determined by the size of the reunion and the activities you
planned. Develop a timeline and stick to it. Encourage communication
throughout the process.
Plan ahead - allow 9 - 12 months at least. Reunions can be
as simple as a backyard barbecue or as lavish as a Caribbean cruise. They can last a day,
a weekend, or even a week.
Begin by concentrating on these four questions.
1. What type of reunion do you want? Planning around a theme will ease some of the
2. When will you have the reunion? Most family reunions are held in
July. Consider holding a family reunion to mark a family milestone or special day, such
as: an anniversary,
a wedding or graduation, a milestone birthday, Christening, Bar Mitvah, retirement party, ethnic or religious holiday.
3. Where will you have it?
The most popular locations are city or state parks. Contact the following
organizations as a starting point.
Local Chamber of Commerce
Department of Parks and Recreation
State Department of Tourism
Locations For Reunions
Grandma's backyard or a childhood home makes the perfect setting for a
casual and cozy family function. Resorts and large hotels, while they are more
expensive options, offer a wide variety of activities and amenities, including special
kids' programs and babysitting services. Other popular reunion sites are parks, community
centers, churches, restaurants, houseboats, and campgrounds.
Have a back-up plan in place. Consider the following options:
Reserve a tent or shelter
Take it indoors!
Hotel convention facility
For reunions lasting several days choose a location that offers a variety
of recreational options.
Miniature golf park
If your family has camping in their blood, a gathering at a scenic
campsite or state park is likely to generate enthusiasm and attendance. Likewise, a
ski vacation will score big if family members are winter sports enthusiasts.
4. Who will you invite?
Start by browsing through your address book and making a master list of potential
attendees. Enlist the help of other relatives to do the same, compare names,
addresses and phone numbers. Older relatives can be a good resource for contacting
Preparing a budget for a reunion:
A reunion costs money. Make a list of anticipated expenses. Divide
costs equitably among members and request payment upon acceptance of the invitation.
Cut costs by investigating discount group rates for airlines, lodging, and
Instead of hiring a caterer, plan a potluck meal.
Use your invitation to generate excitement, interest and most of all
attendance. Create a theme invitation including family trivia or old family
photographs. Preprinted invitations or post cards will do the job nicely also. Be
sure to include all the pertinent information:
Date, time, location
Lodging & travel information, with map
Activities planned for the day(s)
Name, address, phone number of family member to contact for RSVP
Deadline to respond
Special requests, photos, videos, etc.
List of those invited
Potluck dish request
Send invitations at least nine months in advance of the event to allow for
planning and scheduling. This is important for out of state relatives who need to
make travel arrangements.
A potluck family reunion is a great way to share many tastes and
traditions and pass along family recipes to younger generations. Whether you are Irish,
German, Italian, Mexican or Hungarian, ask relatives to bring dishes that reflect your
heritage. The idea is to share the food that reflects your customs and culture - an
education for kids.
Keep menu choices simple and fun. Include appetizers, side dishes, main
dishes, desserts and snacks in the lineup. Make sure dishes are appropriate for the
location you've selected. If your reunion is outdoors cold dishes are the best.
Know what your preparation and cooking space will accommodate if you plan to cook
on site or bring heated dishes. You can find recipe ideas at www.culinary.net
Create a cookbook of favorite family recipes. Include the origin of
the dish or some family history. Collect and assemble the recipes in a notebook or simple
recipe box. This is a perfect way to keep family traditions alive.
Take a group photo and have copies made for each family.
Create (or update) a family directory. Have a book setting out so
everyone can sign it and ask them to include their current address, phone number, email
address, and names of family members.
Mugs with family logo or motto.
Sports - volleyball, softball, tug-of-war, horseshoes
Checkers, chess, dominoes, cards, or board games
Special teen activities - campfire, dances
Family awards ceremony
Break out the family photos or home movies.
Display adults' baby pictures and let children try to match names to
Ask everyone to share a favorite family memory.
Play a game! Family trivia or croquet are good choices.
Play "Guess Which is a Lie" Each person tells four things about
himself, one of which is an outrageous lie. All other participants try to guess
which "fact" is untrue.
Allow plenty of time for everyone to visit and socialize.