Closely knitted families should make it a point to have a reunion every year. Aside from the usual Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, there should be a separate day for families to get together to have fun, eat good food and strengthen the bond that holds them together. Organizing a family reunion can be a challenging undertaking, but proper planning and execution can make it a successful one.
Create a committee consisting of several members with assigned duties and obligations. There should be a head organizer in charge of assigning tasks and overseeing their completion. There should be an assistant who will assist in implementing tasks. Then, there should be members that would help in fulfilling certain tasks. Assign tasks to the committee members. Each task may have more than one member in charge of accomplishing it to make it easier to fulfill. For example, there should be members tasked with finding the venue, preparing and mailing invitations, buying materials, cooking food and doing other tasks.
Decide on a date. The date may not be the exact same date each year; it may be around or closer to that date, especially if most family members can only be available during weekends. An example would be the date of the establishment of the family based on the family’s history. Some may choose the birthday of one of the ancestors, or the date the first member of the family migrated to the United States. Some people choose July 4 because it is a holiday and it happens during summertime, making outdoor activities possible. Choose a date that would give more time to prepare. It is typical to prepare a family reunion three to six months in advance to ensure that every member can plan to be able to attend.
Decide on the venue after choosing the date. It can be a family member’s house or a place where most family members live nearby. Choosing a convenient place for everyone or a majority of the family members would be very ideal to make it easier to prepare. Choose a venue where there is enough room for everyone to be able to participate in both indoor and outdoor activities. Some families choose parks where they can have a picnic and play sports. Some families choose a bay-side location for swimming, while others choose amusement parks for the rides. Others rent halls with outdoor recreation facilities so that everyone can have some outdoor fun and games. When choosing a public location, make reservations in advance. Also, think of disable-friendly locations so that family members with disabilities will be able to access places without difficulty.
A family reunion should be exclusive for family members only, with the exception of a few people who are close enough to becoming family members. For example, inviting the future spouse of an engaged family member is acceptable. Remember to mail the invitations way in advance, at least three to four months ahead, and after confirming the venue.
You can buy simple invitations or make them by using a computer and printer. You can also use party invitations online for members who have access to the Internet. Phone calls to some family members are also acceptable, but provide several reminders prior to the event to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.
Prepare accommodations for out-of-town family members. Family members living nearby may open their doors to visiting family members. If there are no more rooms to spare, look for affordable places. If there are many members of the family who would be staying at nearby hotels, the member of the committee tasked with finding accommodations can try to negotiate a price for the group. The hotel operators may oblige, especially if this is going to be an annual gathering to ensure repeat business.
The person assigned with the task to transport family members to the venue should ensure that there are enough rides for everyone. In addition, this person may also be in charge of picking up and dropping off family members who are using public transportation to visit, such as airplanes, trains or buses.
Tables and Chairs
Make sure that there are enough chairs and tables for everyone, especially in places that have limited supplies. Picnic areas or a family member’s house may have limited tables and chairs; bring folding tables and chairs to accommodate everyone. Bring extra blankets and mats for the picnic grounds or beachfront.
Decorations are optional for outdoors, such as picnic grounds, amusement parks and beachfronts. However, if you are having the reunion indoors, having decorations that go with the theme can make the venue look more inviting and appealing. Banners, posters, balloons, flower arrangements and streamers are some of the decorations you can use.
Food and Drinks
Any reunion is not complete without good food and drinks. For an outdoor barbecue, grilling beef, pork, chicken, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs and vegetables are great choices. Pizza, spaghetti, macaroni with cheese, lasagna and mashed potatoes are also great choices. Peeled baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery sticks, cheese, crackers and chips are great appetizers. Cakes, baked muffins with icing on top, ice cream, sorbets, pop sickles, fruit trays with assorted fruits and assorted pies are ideal desserts. Serve alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, making sure those that partake in alcohol are of legal age. There should be food and drinks for all ages. In addition, make sure there are plates, cups, glasses, utensils, napkins and serving ware available for use.
Someone has to be in charge of taking pictures and videos to commemorate the occasion. Another person should be in charge of entertainment, such as programs, games and contests. Someone should be in charge of prizes to distribute to the winners. In addition, always have a first-aid kit ready to treat burns, cuts and bruises.