Family Reunion planning
12 month planner
Planning a family reunion is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of decisions to be made and work to do. My 12 month family reunion planner is the first step to making your job a lot easier.
If you are working with a small group (such as yourself and your young children) then planning just became a lot easier. But if your children are married with children of their own or if you wish to have a multi generational family reunion it’s time to get volunteers.
Volunteers are wonderful for a couple of reasons. First because it takes all the load off of you and second because it gets others excited about the reunion and you’ll get more participation.
One really great rule of thumb, because you will have lots of opinions, is that the planner (yourself) and the volunteers are going to make decisions for the group, decisions that need to be respected and you will give the next planner the same respect and support.
There are many ways of keeping your family informed about the family reunion. If it’s a small reunion it can be a simple as a text or phone call, but for multi family reunion keeping everyone informed becomes much more complicated – – but doable.
Besides texts and phone calls you can send out an official invitation with general information as well as include how they can expect to receive updates. This can include a website (blogger.com), a Facebook group or a video app such as Marco Polo
There are all sorts of great destinations for a family reunion. Finding out where people want to hold the the family reunion depends on the family. You can have a stay-cation and keep the event local. There are also options for outdoors, theme parks, destination etc.
Settling on a theme can be super fun. It’s fun and easy making all your activities “theme centric” From the invitation to the T-shirts, food, decor and games. Choosing a theme just brings in a lot more fun and makes the entire thing more memorable.
I love family reunion T-shirts. We have done reunions with T-shirts and without. The thing I love about the official T-shirt is that first you can create it around the theme and second when you see the T-shirt in your drawer, even if it became a paint shirt after, it brings back a flood of memories in the same way a photo will.
You gotta plan for the food. In this day and age it has become super complicated with all the food allergies and preference by each individual family member. Food bars simplify how you food at your family reunion. Creating a breakfast bar, lunch and dinner bar make it so people have a choice between different foods they like and can tolerate.
Getting to know each other, if it’s an extended family reunion, or just getting to know each other better is what a family reunion is all about. Make sure your activities facilitate this. Be mindful of who will be there both with ages and with temperament.
Make sure to have activities that will involve the entire group as well as smaller groups. I would suggest 2-3 bit activities a day that involve everyone and smaller activities sprinkled in between for certain age groups. Don’t over plan – of if you do don’t be inflexible. Don’t forget the reason for the reunion in the first place – make sure there is plenty of free time just to hang out together.
Another thing we have found is the importance adult time after the children are in bed for the night to play or meet about important family subjects.
This can be a tough one that can be greatly limited if you take the time to choose your volunteers wisely. The last thing you want is to cause feelings or have bad feelings yourself because someone doesn’t keep their commitment.
Have monthly accountability calls with your volunteers to see where they are with their assignments. Help them get excited and help them to see the whole picture.
Setting up location
It’s finally here! And it’s time to set up your location. If you are doing a destination family reunion it could be as simple as assigning rooms and laying out T-shirts and agendas. If instead it’s a location destination such as camping or a cabin or even a stay-cation there may be more involved as you set up the decor as well as assigning rooms (spaces for camping) handing out T-shirts and agendas.
One thing we hope and wish to avoid is family tensions, but in many cases that is not possible. When lots of cousins and family come together it becomes more apparent the difference in parenting styles and personalities.
Be mindful of everyone but also I think it’s good to set the expectation before of why you are having the reunion and reminding all to be patient and kind with each other – we are all trying our best.
And finally – enjoy yourself. You’ve just accomplished an incredible feat! You’ve gotten a lot of people to share some of their precious time with you and others! It may have been years or just one year since this happened.
One thing I have learned is if you can create an environment of fun and love you may not have everyone there the first year but eventually everyone will want to be there – so be consistent. And just ENJOY!