Family reunions give extended family time to reconnect, cousins to meet cousins and grandparents to appreciate the whole group at one time. But reunion planning offers special challenges. If you’re planning a family reunion or even a reunion with long lost friends, keep these five tips in mind.
- Discuss the budget. First! You might want the rustic getaway for $50 or the big city excitement costing hundreds. For reunions to work, there has to be some consensus on the budget. Ask each family to offer a range of price for lodging, then choose the place that fits everyone’s budget.
- Consider drive time. How spread out is your family? Who has the youngest children? The least flexible job? When planning your reunion, consider what others must go through to make the event and plan accordingly. Does most of the family live in the south? Perhaps the few northern members would be willing to make the drive. Did someone just get a new job? Consider planning your event closer to them so they don’t have to miss work.
- Share the load. Grandma may be an excellent cook, but there’s a huge difference between cooking for Thanksgiving and feeding the whole clan for a weekend. Involve each family unit in meal planning, perhaps assigning shopping, cooking and cleanup to one family per meal.
- Choose a location that meets the most needs. Mountain resorts and cabins offer rustic options. The beach includes a “playground” at your front door. Big cities offer museums and theater. Small towns offer laid back relaxation. Amusement parks offer thrills and adventure. What works best for your crew?
- Plan activities. Icebreakers help distant family members reconnect without being awkward. Kids’ games provide focus. Friendly family competition keeps everyone involved. Even if you plan an amusement park reunion, a little planning (we’ll meet at the picnic shelter at 5:00 for dinner) helps everyone connect.
If you have a reunion, large or small, on the horizon, check out Family-Reunion.com. Mister Spiffy says he “is a family reunion doctor trained in healing sick reunions…” The site provides information for just about every reunion topic imaginable and includes other resources as well. In my research, I didn’t find another site as complete!
What tips can you offer for memorable reunions?