Anyone who has ever attended a wedding is used to receiving two notices in the mail. There’s the save-the-date and later the invitation. Weddings are a big deal and bring people in from all over the world. Your family might be local but your partner’s family could be 1000 miles away. Half of your wedding party are college friends that are scattered around. The point of the matter is, people need time to schedule and mark the date in their calendars. When it comes to other events, perhaps one of the most similar is a family reunion. You could have family scattered across numerous states and trying to bring everyone together for a weekend or a few days is often much easier said than done.
Planning a family reunion, to most, simply looks like a mound of problems for many. Dealing with family politics and logistics appears to be too much to bear. It doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these tips to help you plan a family reunion (almost) effortlessly.
Save the Date
No, you don’t have to send out notices in the mail early but you should be setting a date. Make it a consistent date as well. You can make it the third weekend of June or the last weekend of October, whatever works for everyone. If you don’t like your family, you can tell them it’s March 32nd or June 31st every year. Having a date set early and making it known will tell people the most important part of the entire ordeal.
Don’t Go Alone
While the position of Family Reunion Planning President may have fallen on your shoulders, it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Recruit some members of your family to divide tasks. Have one person in charge of food, one person in charge of lodging and someone in charge of communication, for example. It will also be nice to have someone help you answer the inevitable 9000 questions you’re going to be receiving over the next few months. You can be sure to triple that number if you have an even bigger family.
Make a List
Not only will you have to make a guest list, but hopefully you have everyone’s emails and phone numbers. While sending out a group text is nice, it’s best to send out a big email. If you want to make sure you don’t start an email chain thread, BCC everyone. This will email everyone on the list at the same time but recipients can’t see or reply to others. It’s the perfect way to avoid a 10-way argument of what kind of barbeque you may be ordering.
Keep a spreadsheet of people who are coming and color-code it. Green for those confirmed, yellow for those in the middle and red for those not coming. This will help you when it comes to buying food as well.
Have a Central Location
While the actual location of your family reunion is entirely up to you, it is a good idea to have a central location for your family reunion. This can be where you all meet for dinner or other activities. Hotels often don’t have the best facilities to be a central location and you’re better off getting a rental house.
That way, you can find a place with an outside area in addition to a kitchen and your own bathroom. It makes it easier if everyone has a place where they know they’ll be able to gather.
Leave Some Room for Activities
During a family reunion, you’re not just going to sit around and talk about how great your family is. There will need to be plenty of time for activities with your family.
Have a set schedule ahead of time for dinner or get-togethers but let people have their own time to plan a golf outing, time on the lake or game of frisbee in the park. You should make some own activities yourself if people aren’t sure what they want to do. Remember to have specific activities set up for little kids. It can be a toy area, arts and crafts area or a place with games.