Most people welcome the idea of holding a family reunion. They view reunions as opportunities to be with the other members of the family and relate with them once more. However, planning and organizing a family reunion is not simple nor is it without problems. The success of a family reunion is largely dependent on the painstaking efforts made during the planning process. Careful and intelligent choices are required, and so is attention to details. And having a family reunion checklist is the best way to carry out all these.
When preparing your family reunion planning checklist, do include the following ten most critical items you need to take care of:
1. Family Reunion Committee
Before anything else, create a family reunion committee. Planning a family reunion is not an easy task, but a systematic approach ensures success in the end. By breaking down all major responsibility areas into smaller components, accomplishments become more attainable.
It is for this reason that you need the assistance of the committee members. For obvious reasons, the members are the most important part of the committee. Choose members among the relatives expected to attend the family reunion.
The size of the committee depends on the size of the family reunion. For instance, if the family reunion will be attended by no more than 30 people, a one-person committee could capably arrange for everything. On the other hand, larger reunions require the formation of several sub-committees to handle the different responsibilities like food, location, planning of activities, etc. A head must be appointed for each sub-committee that has several members. Then, for a more coordinated planning, there must be an over-all chairperson, you, to supervise and direct the different sub-committees.
A planning booklet is useful for ably monitoring all preparations being made as well as documenting the assignments and progress made by each of the committees. This will include the names of the committee members, their particular tasks, the “to do” list, contacts and other available resources. Your planning booklet is where you make a list of your guests and track them.
2. Deciding on the Family Reunion Date
When you have formed the steering committee as well as the required sub-committees, it is time to flesh out the details for the family reunion. The first item you have to finalize is the date of the event. The date for the reunion may coincide with another occasion such as the parents’ 50th wedding anniversary or a grandson’s birthday. It is critical to provide enough time allowance until the proposed date of the reunion. Start preparations several months in advance, especially if you are planning to hold a grand family reunion.
3. Inviting the Guests
When the date is set, you may start contacting the different members of the family. You may invite your guests through phone calls or send the family reunion invitations via e-mail or snail mail. It is also common to advertise general invitations in newspapers and local television programs as well as through family reunion websites. For those relatives with whom you have lost touch, begin tracking them by using your network of friends, relatives and common acquaintances.
4. Preparing the Budget
Before going any further with your family reunion plans, set your budget first. The amount you intend to spend for the occasion will have a bearing on most of the preparations for the event. It follows that you can ask the other family members to chip in for the reunion.
5. Choosing the Location and Mode of Transport
When you have determined the budget, you should next decide on the venue for the family reunion. The selection depends on the number of guests expected and their preferences. You can probably consider holding the reunion outdoors, like going on a camping trip or at a theme park if you have plenty of kids in the family. Most family reunion websites have a good list of locations you can consider holding your family reunion -- beaches, pavilions, private islands, etc. If the date of the family reunion falls within peak seasons, make your reservations for the location at the earliest possible time.
One factor in the choosing the location is accessibility. Include in your plans the means of transport that you and the other guests will use in going to the reunion. Again, book your reservations early if you are flying, riding the bus or going by boat.
6. Family Reunion Activities
When you have firmed up the plans for the venue, you may now work on the schedule of activities during the family reunion party. A carefully laid out plan will ensure a smooth flow from one activity to the next and keep your guests entertained.
The venue you chose will be the primary determinant of the various activities during the reunion. Plan your activities depending on the available facilities and resources of the place. For example, if you will be at the beach, you can schedule surfing or kayaking. Be sure, too, to include some of the classic family reunion games. If you are not familiar with what games to play, check out family reunion websites for games suitable for family reunions.
7. Choosing the Food
Next to the guests, the second most important aspect of the family reunion is the food. Of course, there should be a committee assigned to oversee the food, but make sure that due consideration is given to the dietary requirements or preferences of the guests. Everybody’s appetite will surely be worked up after all the hugs and greetings.
8. Family Reunion Particulars
The family reunion plan has other details that need to be ironed out. You may choose a theme for the reunion on which the decorations can be based. For decorating the venue, you can either assign a committee made up of family members or hire a specialist who may also be able to give helpful suggestions on how to enhance the event.
Consider capturing the family reunion in video. Again, you may assign a family member to film the event or you can hire video services. This and many more particulars require thorough planning. The success of your family reunion rests on a well thought plan and its effective execution.
9. Confirming the Arrangements
Confirm arrangements with all suppliers and service providers at least two or three weeks before the date of the family reunion. Follow-up and update with the location, food caterers, transportation bookings, florists, video coverage, photographers, etc. Don't forget the guests too. Go over your guest list and contact invitees who haven't confirmed their attendance yet. A brief phone call with your guests to confirm their attendance will go a long way.
10. Preparing for the Finale
You may have laid down a meticulous plan for the family reunion, but be sure to prepare on the finish. As you end the affair, consider giving out souvenirs or other mementos that the guests can treasure as they look back to their memories of the family reunion you hosted. If you wish, you could perhaps hold a brief ceremony while handing out these gift items.
Hopefully, you will find this step-by-step checklist helpful in planning your perfect family reunion. Please remember throughout the exercise that your primary objectives are to provide a fun experience for the members of the family and by doing so, to strengthen further the family bond. Families are here to stay and when your family is complete, your life becomes complete.