You’ve probably heard the term ‘herding cats’ used to describe a complicated situation. Planning a family reunion can be a bit like that. These days, social media and internet connectivity make it easier than ever to locate far-flung family members. The trick is to get everybody together in the same place at the same time without inconveniencing anyone.
The further in advance you plan your reunion, the likelier it is that family members will be able to attend. Families with school-age kids are especially appreciative of being given six months to a year to schedule their participation in your event. Also, you can encourage them to get involved in decoration works and in making family tree charts. Kids would get to know their ancestors and family members better this way. You can help them out with your own family knowledge as well as with genealogy resources. It would be a great reunion when you know who’s related to whom and how.
Simple steps to a successful family reunion
Start with a survey. Consult family elders, and obtain as many email addresses as you can. In the 21st century, electronic mail is the easiest way to reach virtually everyone at once. Ask grandparents, cousins, and another family member where they’d like to meet up. Ask everybody which season of the year is most convenient for them to travel. Compile your research to determine a place and time to hold your family get together, then you can begin planning in earnest, say reunion gurus at Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Delegate, delegate, delegate. It would be madness to expect one person to pull together a reunion for numerous family members. In lieu of laying the burden on a single person, spread responsibilities around. When you survey family members, invite attendees to pitch in with something they are good at. Once your venue is selected, have one family member research local restaurants. Have another find out what there is to see and do in proximity to your reunion venue. Teen family members can create a Facebook page for the reunion, and keep cousins apprised via tweets. Ask a techy family member to build a Flickr page where reunion pics can be posted.
Choose a location that works for everyone
Choose your venue wisely. If your family is relatively small and most family members are located near one another, you may get away with doing the reunion at home. For larger, more spread out families, it might be a better idea to reserve several suites at an equidistant hotel. Many properties such as the Towson University Marriott Conference Hotel offer spacious meeting rooms where families can come together to eat, drink, and merrily mingle.
Some families rent a private house for the duration of their reunion, notes Family Tree magazine. This can be a fine option for families that like to cook and are willing to clean up after themselves. When you choose to inhabit a hotel instead, housekeeping staff handles mundane domestic tasks and you never have to do dishes in restaurants.
Will your reunion be limited to parents, grandparents, and first cousins, or do you wish to meet distant relatives, as well? It may turn out that your third cousin twice removed is the life of the party. As the old adage goes, the more the merrier.