Are you in charge of planning the family reunion this year? Do you dread the task because you don’t want it to be boring? It can be challenging to plan an event for a wide range of people. Everyone has diverse interests and comes from different age groups. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it fun, though. Here are five steps to spruce up your reunion so that your family will be talking about it afterward.
1. Set the Date
You should consider setting a date about six months to a year in advance, especially if people will be traveling from out of town. Giving everyone advance notice allows them to schedule vacation time, make flight arrangements and accomplish other travel-related tasks.
While it may be impossible to choose a date that works for everyone, you can send out a poll to determine when most family members are available. This step can also give you a rough idea of how many people to expect.
2. Choose a Location
If most of your family lives in a particular geographical area, it may be the most convenient location for your reunion. However, you can also consider a place with historical significance for your family — your country of origin, for example, or where your great-great-grandparents met and started it all.
You can also consider a vacation destination, making it a family holiday for everyone. It’s fun to shop around for cruises from Florida, a ski lodge in the mountains or a campsite where everyone can gather. A destination reunion can be memorable and exciting.
3. Enlist Helpers
Who wants to do all the reunion work alone? It’s easier and more fun to call on some family members to help with the planning details. You can split up responsibilities such as gathering contact information, booking a venue, following up on those who haven’t responded, planning the menu and coming up with entertainment ideas.
4. Plan a Food Theme
If you think people may be tired of the potluck dinner, here’s your chance to change things up a bit. Plan a food theme and ask guests to bring main dishes, sides or condiments to fit it. Your theme can be something most people would enjoy, such as a sundae bar or hot-dog buffet, or it can relate to your family’s country of origin and cultural heritage.
If you’re planning something pretty exotic, it may be wise to have a few universal favorites on hand for those who aren’t feeling up to a culinary adventure. Also, consider the special dietary needs of attending family members and make sure there’s safe and appropriate food for everyone.
5. Plan Fabulous Entertainment
Your family’s idea of entertainment will vary according to your personality. Adventure-loving people may enjoy taking part in a family talent show or karaoke contest. Young children can learn about their history from older members through storytelling. Active people can put together a family Olympics with tug-of-war contests, relay races or badminton tournaments. Once everyone’s worn out, a movie night under the stars can cap off the day. Consider making a collection of home movies for an extra personal touch.
If you have members who can’t attend, consider a videoconferencing event. You can include faraway families in your reunion and give them the chance to join the party virtually.
All personality types can appreciate a family photo. Plan to gather into one picture and hire a photographer or enlist a friend to take the image so that all family members can be in the frame. To add to the fun, you can bring props such as funny hats, sunglasses or feather boas to make some of your photos silly. Be sure to collect everyone’s email addresses and phone numbers so that you can share copies.
It may be hard to please diverse family members, but it isn’t impossible. You can make your next reunion a unique and memorable occasion for everyone. You may even do so well at planning that you’re elected to be in charge of the next one.