10 Steps to a Successful Family Reunion

By: Marie Christianson

You have been assigned to plan the next big family reunion. This is a daunting task because you know how long ago the last time you and your family had everybody together. You want to come up with a wonderful reunion everyone can look back and smile about.

Here's what you can do.

1.) Finalize the guest list
So that it wouldn't be too conglomerated or populated, you have to finalize a guest list. Which side of the family are you inviting? How far will the reunion branch out, meaning will it include your second cousins, your third cousins? Will it only be the direct filial lines then? If you have finalized the guest list, you can send out the invitations. Make it formal by having one made, if you can afford to do so. If not, you can reach in for the phone and call them, or you can send them an email. If there are relatives you do not have the contact information of, you can ask your other relatives to relay the word to them.

2.) Be the RSVP
Since you are the one who planning the party and finalizing the guest list, it only makes sense that you be the RSVP. Ask your relatives to get back to you as soon as they can whether they can make it to the reunion or not. In doing so, you get a pretty much concrete idea on how many people are coming.

3.) Select a location
The location must be accessible to those who can come. Make sure that they are fin with the location and that getting there wouldn't be any trouble. Be open to the suggestions of the other family members. Conduct a survey on things such as these. The location is very important to any family reunion and this is one area that you cannot completely decide on yourself even if you have been designated to plan it. What's the point of getting a location that is convenient for you if those who will be attending cannot get there?

4.) Select the dates
Now that you have the who and the where, you also have to finalize the when. Again, be open to the suggestions of the family members who are coming. This is one area you really have to have a list on. There is a possibility that the schedules of those who can come are not in accordance with one another. It is your task as planner to choose a date which is convenient if not for everyone, at least for a majority. It is also your task to inform them about changes and the updates.

5.) Have a budget
You may be the planner but you also have the right to ask for your family members to contribute. If they cannot provide cash, you can ask them to bring food or the party accommodations such as give-aways and decorations. With whatever budget you have, work around it and make sure that you are not constrained in providing your family a great reunion.

6.) Have a theme
Most family gatherings usually have a theme. Be it Retros or Return to the 80s, having a theme brings out the quirky side of serious Uncle Jim or stern Aunt Betty. Did you ever wonder what Cousin Jackie looks like wearing 80s fashion? This is your chance to see it first-hand. Again, you have to ask your family members for their suggestions and their opinions.

7.) Have a menu
Reflect on the guest list. Consider the health issues of those who are coming. Do you have family members who have diabetes? If you do, have some healthy food for them; those containing saturated fat and saturated salt. Do you have vegan relatives coming over? If yes, then have a special vegan diet for them like tofu burgers. Then have the usual spaghetti or macaroni for the kids to enjoy.

8.) Finalize the activities
Based on the theme, you can have a list of activities that will be entertaining when conducted in your family reunion. You can have games for the kids and for the teenagers. You can have charades. If you have performers in the family, you can allot special intermissions for them to sing or dance or any activity that can showcase their talents. It will be like those programs in school, only instead of your classmates, you have your family headlining the show.

9.) Camera and Videocams
Reunions are definitely a Kodak moment so bring out the cameras and the videocams. The more photographers and cameramen the better because you can swap pictures and tapes after the party.

10.) Keep the fun going
Personally, I have never heard of a boring family reunion. Don't make yours the first ever. As host, you should keep the fun going by letting everybody participate. Just by doing that, everyone's definitely heading home thinking that the reunion you hosted was definitely memorable!

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Marie Christianson is a senior business analyst at www.FamilyDetails.com. Visit the FamilyDetails.com Family Reunion Info Center for more articles and resources!

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