The Best Reunion Ever Starts with a Great Plan Back to Event Details
Your event can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Here are some tips to get started:
Form a Committee
- Designate a reunion leader or host.
- Enlist a group of volunteers or recruit participants from different families. Not only does this make planning the event more manageable, it also involves the extended family with the plans while building camaraderie and excitement.
- Divide tasks into areas of interest or expertise, such as finances, activities, food, lodging, communication, decorations and family history.
- If you like, set a theme. You could celebrate your family's heritage with appropriate music, food and decorations or choose a sports or carnival theme.
- Come up with a rotation plan for hosting future reunions.
Choose a Date
- Before you finalize the date, float a few options by as many family members as possible to find what works bests for the majority. (But remember, you can't please everyone.)
- A date that coincides with a special occasion (such as a holiday, anniversary or birthday) tends to spark excitement and get the best turnout. Planning around an occasion also helps with entertainment during the actual reunion. For example, if the reunion is on Independence Day, taking in a parade or fireworks display can be part of the planned activities.
- Mail postcards or send emails to reserve the date as early as nine months out.
- Once the date is chosen and the word is out, stick with it.
Find a Location
- Get an idea of how much people are willing to spend and how far they'll travel.
- If this is your family's first reunion, start with a conservative and convenient location. This helps ensure best attendance and won't discourage members from staying away due to cost.
- Your site can be as simple as someone's home or a nearby park. (Once your crowd gets over about 20, it's probably too big to host in a home.) For larger groups, check out what attractions and accommodations are available in and around the host city. National or state parks, theme parks, zoos and historic sites are all viable ideas.
- A gathering space large enough for meals and informal mingling is a must. If the weather is hot, and especially if there are lots of kids, proximity to a pool is ideal.
- If you choose an outdoor location, have a backup plan in case of bad weather.
- Reserve accommodations or the gathering space early and ask about group discounts.
- Think about accessibility for older attendees and kid-friendly features for younger families.
- Use email throughout the planning process to keep everyone up to date.
- Enlist a tech-savvy relative to create a website for the reunion. You can update it with RSVPs and additional photos later.
- Publish a family newsletter with details and itineraries about events at the reunion. Include photos, kids' artwork and jokes to generate excitement about the gathering.
- Send out a flyer at least two months ahead. Include a form for each person to fill out with their interests and talents. Use the information to compile a directory that can be used as an icebreaker.
- Send an email reminder one month out.