If you are planning on serving food (of course you are), set a list in your family Facebook group of what you want every one to bring. A good idea is one side dish for many, and some meat. Be sure to have a grill or bar-b-q all fired up and ready to go. The men will love to take turns at the helm! If you bring sausages bring some extra. Or you might want to bring hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken breasts, or even steak. Just bring enough for your family and a little more, and mix and match.
Side dishes should be things that won’t go bad outside in a few hours. You should have some long lasting cheese, fresh fruit, crackers, salsa and chips, and maybe cheeses and meat slices. A very good tip for having these foods outside is to buy some cheesecloth. This will keep the flies away and keep the food looking fresh.
Have a couple of long tables ready to display the goods, and have a fridge at the venue so you can refrigerate the food that absolutely need it.
The Condiments, Paper Plates, Serviettes and Cutlery
While you are discussing who’s bringing what to the family reunion, you may want to have the people who live out of town bring something easier because chances are they will not be able to cook at whichever hotel they are at. Assign people to bring ketchup, mustard, relish, paper plates, plastic forks, knives, spoons and napkins. Also, ask them to bring rubbish bags for easy clean-up. This is a great idea because the family members who are traveling will want to participate in giving something to the party, and the ‘logistics’ or ‘boring’ stuff is some of the most important that must be available!
The date is not going to be perfect for everyone that is invited. Instead of changing the date several times pick one date and stick to it. Make sure people know plenty of time in advanced when the reunion is taking place so they can schedule around it. If someone really wants to be there they will find a way. Changing the date can lead to confusion and make matters complicated.
Make it Affordable
Instead of hiring expensive caterers and fancy locations make the reunion affordable for even those that are living on fixed incomes. Choose a location that is not going to cost a lot of money or if someone has a large home have it there. Also look for discounts from reception halls and other venues. Ask the people attending if they are willing to bring a dish or supply such as napkins. This way everyone can contribute something.
These are just some tips to hosting a reunion. The reunion planning should not be stressful and everyone should feel welcome. These tips will help the planner keep their peace of mind and enjoy the day.
Put the worry and fear aside, your next reunion is gonna be great!
Re-unions and get-together’s are always funny things – you never quite know how they are going to pan out. Will that old friend or family member embarrass you? Will you embarrass yourself!? – Just going to a re-union can be a bother, let alone planning one! But, don’t stress! – We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the top 5 do’s and don’ts for your next little congregation.
Re-Union \ Get-Together DO’s:
DO invite everyone you think “should” come – not just those you “want” to be there.
DO make a list of everyone BEFORE sending out invites, you don’t want someone finding out they missed out on an invite the hard way.
DO plan activities for people to do, if there is enough people for smaller groups think about who will be in each group beforehand.
DO contact everyone in advance to confirm numbers for meals etc.. – making a booking for 30 and only having 3 show up could be problematic in both the financial and the self-shame sense!
DO expect people to say/do annoying and/or stupid things – come on, that’s what re-unions are for in the first place! Just don’t take it to heart and enjoy their company.
Re-Union \ Get-Together DONT’s:
DON’T rely on another family member to do the planning – especially if they are not reliable in general, doing so will only cause even more hassle than you need.
DON’T expect everyone to get along – often reunions involve people that either haven’t seen each other for a long time, or, don’t have much in common – sometimes both! It doesn’t matter that every single person doesn’t “gel” with every other, as long as each person has at least 1 other they can talk to things will be fine.
DON’T leave your accommodation arrangements to the last minute (if travelling) – booking in advance not only saves you the headache later on but you can often take advantage of early-bird discounts and such.
DON’T get caught up in the details, it’s fine to get a little ‘carried away’ when doing the planning but when the time for the re-union / get-together arrives, chill out and….
DON’T forget to have fun!
Even though they can be a pain in the behind we often look back on re-unions with fond memories, especially in our older years so in the end it’s all worth it – at least it must be – we keep having them!
Family reunions are so much fun, but they do require a lot of work and preparation. What usually happens is a few people plan the reunion and then everyone brings a dish and shows up. The people planning have to find a venue, send out invitations, direct relatives on what to bring, make hotel arrangements or suggestions for out-of-town relatives, and so much more. Often times games are planned, decorations or older family photos are displayed, and many times the reunion lasts for more than just a day. Here are a couple of tips to make planning for a reunion a bit easier.
Create A Family Reunions Facebook Group
If you create a family Facebook group, you can use it to plan, get ideas, and make sure that your family members are in the loop. Even if they don’t have Facebook, chances are that the ones who do will spread the word. This is so much simpler than having to send invitations, get RSVP cards back and keep track of everything by paper. On Facebook you can not only plan for your reunion, but of course, you can keep in contact with family members whether you are planning a reunion or not.
Talk to a Local Hotel And Get A ‘Block’ or Group Rate
Chances that you’ll have some out-of-town relatives are fairly high. One of the things you can do is talk to a local hotel and see if they have a group rate where they can block a certain number of rooms for a discounted cost. This is advantageous in three different ways. First, your family gets to stay near each other. Second, your family doesn’t have to worry about what hotel they are staying at, or what the cost will be. Third, if the hotel has a pool, the family might want to swim together and people who live in town can join the fun!
Here’s a quick video slidehow, with lots of good advice for rookie reunion planners. It’s American, but the advice is suitable for both sides of the pond!
These events do not have to be stressful! As the planner it is your job to make sure that people know where and when the event is taking place. You may also be responsible for arranging the venue, catering or entertainment. You are NOT responsible for the rest of the family – it’s likely that they’re looking forward to the event as much as you – take time to relax and enjoy the whole process.