Are you in charge of your next family reunion? If so, what you might need other than some great ideas, is to remember to delegate, plan ahead, and enjoy the party.
Host a Family Reunion
If you’re wondering where to begin to organize a family get-together, here it is: Pick a date and then stick to it. After that momentous decision, reserve the space or spaces, depending on how long your family shindig will last. You must remain strong; there will be many voices trying to sway you on the date, the location, the food, and every other detail in the party-planning stage.
When you mail out invitations, be sure to include the following:
- hotel phone numbers
- price lists
- contact numbers
- the reunion itinerary
Be Prepared for Changes
You won’t be upset when they occur. For example, always have extra drivers ready to help with the inevitable late or early guests who are stranded at the train station, airport, or lost somewhere in transit.
The Date and Place are Set in Stone
It’s on to the embarrassing games and folly that enrich every family reunion, no matter the age or dignity of the partygoers. Oh, the choices! Let’s preview a few of the most popular game ideas for a reunion.
One of the most beloved games of all time is the white elephant exchange. Everyone brings a gift, already wrapped, of a pre-agreed-upon price, say $10-$20, to exchange. A good way to make the exchange is to ring a bell several times during the party, at which time all gifts change hands. After three bells, you take home what’s in your hand. Good gift ideas include picture frames (handmade with shells, beads, or beach glass), disposable cameras, gift baskets filled with items that can be used while staying in a hotel such as snacks, drinks, candles. The funniest white elephant gifts are the least expected, like a mismatched pair of boots that contain a surprise gift certificate taped to the sole of one boot. The wilder the gifts, the better the game.
Have a raffle for all attendees.
Try the Best-Told Story. Kids love this one because they get to hear the stories of days gone by, preferably embarrassing ones about their parents or grandparents. Appoint judges before this gets underway. It can be videotaped and used relentlessly at future reunions if you know what I mean!
Bring photographs of elder family members from their childhood and play a guessing game. Winners of the games get to have a photo taken with their elders to be posted in an email thanking all the attendees for coming.
Last, but hardly least, is the amazing family talent show that can include family members from the youngest toddler to the eldest octogenarian! This can go on for hours, depending on the size and talent of your family. Prizes should be donated by family members, the more unique, the better. Someone should be in charge of filming the shenanigans in order to show the film clips at the next reunion.
Have each family member provide at least one item for the raffle or to be used as a prize. Good choices include homemade gifts, baked food items, gift baskets, and the odd family antique or item from Great Grandma that everyone covets.
Each Reunion is as Unique as the Family that Hosts it
Be prepared for laughter and tears, but be certain to appoint a person in charge of each area of importance:
- transportation for out-of-towners
- appointing the following year’s chairperson
If you are the chairperson this year, remember to sit down at some point in the festivities and make time to enjoy the party and the people. This often gets lost in the hustle of organizing and worrying over details. This is supposed to be a party, so kick back and enjoy all your hard work!