How to Plan Your Next Family Reunion

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JLP Staff

Aging Well /

It is all too easy for everyday life to take family members away from one another. That is why regular, well-organized family reunions are important. The task of organizing a family reunion might seem a little daunting, but applying the following tips can help ease the process.

Enlist Help

Especially if you have a large extended family, you don't want to shoulder the burden of planning the reunion all by yourself. You might take the lead, but you'll need others to whom you can delegate tasks. For your team, choose family members you can rely on and who can make the time in their schedules to play a big role in making the reunion a success.

You should start recruiting help as soon as you decide you're going to organize a reunion. This should ideally be at least a year before you want the event to happen. The more time you allow to plan, the less stress everyone will experience.

Think About Everyone's Schedule

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Make a list of everyone you want to invite to the reunion. Most people probably have vastly different schedules and concerns in life. Families with small children will have to think about school schedules. Others might already be planning trips that could interfere with your reunion.

While you don't want to chase yourself in circles trying to find the perfect date for everyone to attend, you should choose a date when you can reasonably expect that most of your extended family will be available. You can have some of your helpers make phone calls to determine a time that will accommodate the most invitees.

Choose a Convenient, Affordable Location

It might sound like a spectacular idea to have a family reunion on the shores of Maui, but not everyone in your family might be able to afford to travel to some place that is far from his or her home. Where do most of your family members live? Try to choose a location that is within a reasonable driving distance.

You'll also have to consider lodging. You might be able to rent a large house on the beach for a weekend without spending a lot , but you need to pay careful attention to how many people the house can accommodate. Are there nearby lodging options for people who RSVP a little late?

Consider the Budget

If you plan to have a family reunion each year, you want to make sure the event stays within reasonable monetary boundaries. To save money on your reunion:

  • Send email invitations instead of paper ones.

  • Recruit artsy family members to provide entertainment and documentation. You probably have some talented singers, actors, and comedians in your family who can add a little flavor to your event for free. Recruit those who are good with a camera to take professional-quality photographs.

  • Ask everyone to chip in a little money for food and other expenses. For one night of the reunion, you can have a potluck dinner where everyone can show off his or her favorite traditional family recipes.

Plan Activities

The family activities you plan will depend on your family members. Are there are any traditional cultural activities you could arrange, or would your family appreciate more modern, fresh activities? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Have an awards ceremony. Who is the best cook, the funniest, the most likely to make the news?

  • Ask everyone to bring copies of his or her favorite family photographs, and set up an attractive display.

  • Have a reenactment of a humorous or an important event from your family's history.

  • Set up game tables, where people can enjoy checkers, chess, cribbage, or any other games you know your family members love.

Stay Organized

From the day you start planning to the weeks and days leading up to the reunion, your plan is going to grow in its complexity. To make sure you don't miss any important details, be sure to keep everything organized. You can do this with a three-ring binder, or you can use a word processing document or an event-planning app. Evernote is particularly useful for keeping an online notebook.

However you choose to stay organized, make sure you always have a calendar that is easy to access. An online calendar that your helpers can access will make sure everyone stays on the same page.

People will talk about your next family reunion for months or even years to come. Make it a success by planning early, enlisting help, and staying organized.
About The Author
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Joan Lunden’s in-house research and writing team works with Joan to create content that complements her focuses and the interests of her fans. The team is dedicated to creating a thriving community through content and conversations, and hopes their work, like Joan’s, can make a difference in the lives of her readers everywhere.

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