Whether you are thinking of having a big or small family reunion, a little planning will prevent a lot of family feuds. Here are some key steps to making a plan for your clan:
· Select a leader or leaders to put it all together. I know one family that rotates this job from sibling to sibling each year, so no one carries the burden alone.
· Use email and the phone to survey everyone you want to attend. Find out what works in their schedule so that the most people can get together. Offer a few dates and see which is best. Some web sites offer free anonymous surveys (like zoomerang.com) or just make up your own.
· Use the survey to find out what kind of reunion to have. Indoor vs. outdoors? Summer or winter? Beach vs. Mountains or in the host’s hometown.
· Survey how much money people want to spend for food, lodging and activities so you can make a budget that fits everyone’s pocketbook.
· Plan to give yourself a few months to pull it all together.
· Keep all the information you gather in one binder.
· Reserve a location to sleep, places to eat (or cook yourself), and to hold activities.
· Mail invitations if needed for a large group.
· Assign duties to family members: planning activities, getting decorations, menu planning, hiring a photographer, etc.
· Make a schedule of planned activities and free time.
· Organize family collections before the reunion and give as a favor for attendees such as a family recipe book, history book, picture album, favorite song list, birthday/anniversary list, complete address list, etc.
· Plan activities for all ages:
home movie night
embarrassing story telling
karaoke or sing-along party
shoot a wacky home movie that has nothing to do with the reunion
record interviews with older family members and very young family members
have a talent show
have a tacky gift exchange
· Make nametags and have icebreakers for large groups where everyone may not know one another yet.
· After the event, make a family reunion scrapbook to bring year to year or post photos on a web site for everyone to see!
Allison Carter is a Professional Organizer in Marietta, Georgia. Allison worked for more than a dozen years at CNN as a producer and assignment editor where she refined her skills in time management and efficiency.