A Beginner’s Guide To Family Reunions
There is a style of family reunion to fit every family. From casual and relaxed to more formal and packed with activities, you are sure to find something that your family will enjoy. Don’t forget, you can always mix and match ideas to create something perfectly tailored for your group.
One Day Get-Together
These less formal gatherings are ideal for families who live nearby and who see each other often. There are lots of affordable and fun location options to choose from. Neighborhood parks, pools and beaches are great choices.
Pros: Less expensive, less to plan, less formal
Cons: Very short time period, people from far away might not attend for just one day
Meals: Each family can bring their own lunch or be in charge of a dish for a potluck. Some restaurants also provide boxed lunches for a reasonable price.
Gathering at Grandmom’s house is one of the most traditional approaches to family reunions. This works especially well for smaller groups and families who are concentrated in one geographical area. Going this route can mean a lot of people in a relatively small space. Give people a chance to spread out by planning a few activities at a local park.
Pros: Affordable, more relaxed
Cons: The person who is hosting can become overburdened
Meals: Great for both picky eaters and the cost conscience, buffet bars can be a delicious option. Tacos, giant hoagies, salads, omelets and pizzas can all be made quickly and are easily customized with a variety of toppings.
This option is great for people who don’t have time to plan a big event. Popular location choices are cruises and resorts. Because an all-inclusive reunion is one of the more expensive options, it’s best to get your family onboard early so there is plenty of time for fundraising and saving.
Pros: One person won’t have to do all of the planning, a large variety of activities, cost is upfront
Cons: Some people don’t like being in just one place, you can’t tailor the length or the budget to cater to individual needs, can be expensive
Meals: You can personalize a catered meal with special family dishes. Supplement a catered lunch with the secret-family-recipe potato salad or make all of the desserts.
If you are a family of outdoor enthusiasts, then this is the option for you. Lots of different types of lodging, from tents to cozy cabins, are available and activities are abundant and affordable. It’s important to plan early; national parks are often fully booked up to six months in advanced.
Pros: Extremely affordable, less formal, great for smaller groups, lots of opportunity for fun and adventure
Cons: Requires advanced planning, transportation can be a problem since parks tend to be a bit of a distance from major airports, bad weather can cause problems
Meals: Big meals that everyone loves such as pasta and pancakes are a fun and easy option. Buy more ingredients than you think you will need. Cooking for 40 or more isn’t something you do everyday so it’s easy to run out of things.
For busy families who have a hard time squeezing in vacations, this is the perfect option. To increase attendance, try to choose a location that is centrally located. Don’t forget to plan plenty of activities so the group can get out and explore the area.
Pros: Reunion can double as a vacation, tons of flexibility, price will be lower than an inclusive resort
Cons: More planning is involved, unlike inclusive resorts, you have to plan your own meals and activities
Meals: Conduct research in advance to find local restaurants that can accommodate large groups. If you want to have a local restaurant cater, tell them how many you will be having and they will guide you on what and how much to order.
This option is best for smaller groups and for families who get together often. You can participate in a national charity such as Habitat for Humanity or make it more personal by spending a weekend repairing an elderly relative’s home.
Pro: Less expensive, a great way of giving back
Cons: Not your average family reunion, might not have a vacation feel
Meals: Pack a cooler full of sandwiches and salads or assign each family a different meal to prepare for the whole group.
added: March 29, 2010
updated: March 31, 2010
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