Who will you invite? Do you want to include your fourth cousins five times removed or keep it to first cousins?
Pick a date, then a place. Figure out a date where as many people as possible can make it.
Next, location. Take travel time into consideration for everyone invited; the more time to travel, the less time to be with family. Family resort, theme park, private home, campground? Does the group want to meet in the middle, near a well-known attraction or is there one family member that can accommodate the entire group?
How much can everyone afford? How long will you be able to stay?
What will you do with your time? Plan activities everyone can participate in (board games, movie night), and some only not everyone will find appealing. Ideas include a costume contest, talent show, theme dinner, an "everyone's" birthday celebration, relive family history, hire an expert (take a group painting class or learn line dancing together).
Choose menus that cater to all by serving up a variety of foods. Decide how you will handle meals. Will one group shop, another cook, and still another serve and clean up? How will money be handled? Everyone chipping in at the end requires one person to serve as bookkeeper or treasurer throughout. Breakfast can be simple: lay out cereals and everyone serves themselves. Lunch on the go with dinner the main meal everyone participates in.
Put old family tensions on the shelf during the reunion. Revisit family problems at another time. Hopefully, you will not need to.
Tip from the trenches
Appoint family members to "cover" your reunion like the media would. Choose a photographer, videographer, social network specialist (to post family updates for those who can't be there or for after-reunion details) and a journalist to record the highlights.
From an article by Doreen Nagle in the Pacific Daily News, Haganta, Guam.
How to organize a family reunion
Are reunions still important in a world filled with Skype, Facebook and Instagram?
In a world overrun with interconnectedness and websites like facebook, we sometimes forget how important being in the physical presence of someone is.
1. Distance may affect turnout but shouldn’t prevent you from sending invitations. Planning should start months in advance to accommodate guests’ schedules. 2. Delegate: enlist the assistance or a committee to share the to-do list, make decisions and reach out to guests. Set deadlines.
3. The venue: reunions can be accommodated by parks, churches, recreation centers and other types of public spaces. The venue must suit the family’s personality, adventure to a water park, ski resort or all-inclusive resort.
4. Invitations and reservations: Send a save-the-date card, the invitation should include all pertinent information about accommodations, directions and phone numbers. A digital invitation can be used to poll guests about dates or locations. Reservations can be made online and shared with the guest list through reliable apps such as Tripit or Google Docs.
5. Decorations: Display a family tree, special heirlooms or photo albums to encourage conversation. Take lots of group shots or even hire a professional photographer or a photo booth for the event.
6. Stick to the budget: If that means hamburgers, hot dogs and salad, then keep it at that. Don’t forget the purpose of the event is to spend time with family, not impress them.
7. Safety: Consider mobility of older members and the safety of younger children.
8. Theme: Themes add a fun factor and can give you some activity ideas. Who wouldn’t like to see a bunch of grown men strutting their stuff in a pirate beauty pageant? Other families may think a theme is silly.
9. Favors: Go for cherished keepsakes, rather than cheap plastic favors. T-shirts are more durable and useful. Another idea is a photo or memory book. Put one person in charge of assembling and producing it, then send it after the event.
From an article by Melissa Erickson in the Galesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, Illinois.
Family Reunion: 10 ways to keep it real We Are Family!
A reunion, however, is a special time for families to come together and reminisce, catch up on old times, introduce additions to the family, learn something new about our culture, and it is a time to celebrate life, love, relationships and heritage.
I attended my husband’s family reunion recently in Dallas, Texas, and had the time of my life. I learned many exciting things about his family and about the man I’m married to as well. There were activities planned that filled our days but what I enjoyed most were intimate moments we shared in the hotel’s lobby playing cards, listening to jazz and just getting to know each other better. It was absolutely priceless.
I also realized the family is a unique structure and we should learn to do the following:
Appreciate our distinct family features.
Understand we may not share the same blood, but we’re still family.
Cherish precious memories.
Know that our history is deep, so we must always honor and respect our elders.
Teach our youth about their heritage.
Embrace each other.
Celebrate the good times.
Work through the bad times.
Take lots of pictures and videos.
Leave a positive legacy of love.
The foundation of humankind is the family. We grow and build upon the values or principles instilled in us as children. Whether we are raised by birth parents, grandparents, adopted parents, step-parents or someone who took us under their wings and loved us unconditionally, we are family.
From a blog called Six Brown Chicks by Toni J. Spearman on ChicagoNow.
5 rules for a happy family reunion
by Valorie Burton | July 27, 2013 at 10:09 AM Stick to the purpose.
Smile. Play. Help out. Don’t take the spotlight off of the reunion to deal with matters that can be discussed after the reunion. Stop texting, start talking.
The purpose of a family reunion is to see everybody in person. So put away the gadgets and enjoy each other. Stop letting folks push your buttons.
The main reason people push your buttons is because they get a response that allows them to control you, your emotions and your behavior. Deactivate those buttons. Let people be who they are.
One of the biggest sources of conflict is that we want a family member to change, but they won’t. News flash: They will probably never change. So if you keep expecting them to, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’re here to have a good time. Play!
Take your mind off the serious stuff, and focus on the positives at the family reunion — such as the 99 percent of the relatives you get along with. Whether it’s bid whist or hopscotch, a family softball game or your niece wanting you to push her on the park swing, play at your family reunion.
Life coach Valorie Burton is the bestselling author of nine books, including ‘Successful Women Think Differently‘ and ‘Happy Women Live Better: 13 Ways to Trigger Your Happiness’ every day, available for pre-order at www.bn.com/.