Even if you’re a family-oriented person and you love spending time with your relatives, the fast-paced modern lifestyle often gets in the way and makes it harder to keep in touch with family members. Thanks to technology, we are more connected than ever, but at the same time, we’re growing further apart. Facebook friendships and e-mails can’t replace in-person interactions with the people you care about, so it’s not easy to maintain close ties with everyone, especially if they live far away from you.
A family gathering is a great opportunity to meet with the members of your clan that you don’t see too often, get to know them a little better and create stronger family bonds with all your relatives. Being surrounded by the people you love and who love you back can give you a unique sense of belonging and make you realize the importance of having a caring family to support you.
Besides, family reunions can be a lot of fun. Just think about all the amazing stories you’ll hear and the entertaining activities you’re going to enjoy. All these will make for precious memories that will last a lifetime. However, family reunions don’t just happen spontaneously. Somebody has to take the reins and organize them. If you want to be that somebody, but you are a little intimidated by the idea of hosting such a big and meaningful event, here are a few tips to make the planning process run smoother and help you organize a memorable family reunion.
Decide whom to invite
When you set out to plan a family reunion, the first thing you have to think about is what exactly family means to you, and not in a metaphorical way. You must decide which members of your family you want to invite. Ideally, you will invite everyone, but if your extended family members could populate a small village, then you should set some limits. If you see no point in inviting people that you have no connection with, then don’t feel pressured to do it. You can invite-only close relatives or you could draw the line at second or third cousins. It all depends on how big you want the event to be. Create a list with all the guests and make sure to contact them well in advance to let them know that you’re planning a reunion.
How long will the reunion last?
If you’re only planning a one-day get-together, things will be less complicated, but you’ll have less time to enjoy with your family and it’s going to be difficult to relax and catch up with everyone. However, if the reunion will last a whole weekend or longer, you’ll have more planning to do, but you’ll also have the opportunity to interact more with your relatives and create deeper connections. Maybe some family members can stay a few extra days, so make sure you’re prepared for every situation.
Set the date
It’s going to be tricky to find a date when everyone you want to invite is available. That’s why it’s important to start planning as early as possible and notify people in due time, so they can make their own plans and organize their schedules accordingly. The earlier you get in touch with the guests, the easier it will be to find a date that will work for everyone. Besides, if something unexpected comes up and you’ll have to change your plans, you’ll have enough time to do it, without creating too much inconvenience for your family.
Create an organizing committee
One big advantage of planning a family reunion is that you don’t have to take care of everything all by yourself. What are families for if not for supporting and helping each other? So, if you’ve got more on your plate than you can handle, it’s a good idea to create an organizing committee made up of a few close family members that are happy to help and delegate responsibilities. You can have someone in charge with the guest lists, another person can take care of the food and others can oversee details such as décor, flower centrepieces for the tables, goodie bags, reunion t-shirts and all the small things that make a family gathering so much more enjoyable.
Choose the location
If you’re going to have a small group reunion, you can easily plan it at your house or at some other relative’s house, depending on how much space you need and who’s willing to use their home as an event venue. But if there are many family members involved and you can’t host them all, it’s better to chose a location that is accessible and affordable for everyone. Try to choose a central location if your relatives come from many different places, to make sure that transport won’t cost them a fortune.
Choose the menu
Choosing a menu is not easy when you have to take care of a large group of people who definitely have different food preferences. It will be hard to please all your guests, not to mention that you can’t possibly know everyone’s food allergies, intolerances or dietary requirements. You might want to consider asking a few family members to take care of the food for the reunion, or if your budget allows you, opt for a catering service that will cover everyone’s nutritional needs.
Plan fun activities
Don’t forget that you should also keep your guests entertained. Even if there will be plenty of things to talk about at the reunion, it’s good to have something else to do other than eating and chatting. You don’t have to come up with a strict schedule, but you can plan a few fun and interesting activities. It’s a great way to keep things a bit more dynamic and make sure there are no awkward moments when nobody knows what to do. Try to include activities for all ages and interests, so everyone can participate and enjoy themselves.