Planning a fun and stress-free get together with your extended family can seem like an impossible feat.
50 years ago, families tended to stick together, perhaps moving to the next town for a change of scenery, but nowadays, families are more likely to be spread out across the world. Add in the stress of how far to extend the invitations to extended family, and how to take care of the elderly relatives, and it can often feel like planning a Skype catch up might be easier. However, when it finally comes together, you’ll be grateful to have all of your family in one place, even if it only happens once every ten years.
Plan in advance
The first step to planning your perfect family reunion is to pick a date well in advance so that you can almost guarantee that no one will already have plans. Remember that choosing a time around a public holiday might make it easier for everyone to travel, but it can also make it more expensive, and increase the chances that people will double book. Once you’ve set the date, make it clear to everyone that you will be sticking to it.
Choose a versatile venue
Planning a family picnic might sound idyllic for December, but without being sure of the weather, this can end in disaster. Choose a versatile venue that has adequate space for everyone. Planning to be outdoors is fine, but it’s always good to make sure you have a backup indoor venue. The location is also key, as hosting it somewhere that is very convenient for one family and very inconvenient for everyone else will likely cause problems.
Home cooking or catering?
If you’re expecting a huge crowd, booking a caterer will probably be your best option. If your family enjoy the tradition of cooking together then everyone pitching in will be more favourable. If you don’t want to place the responsibility of feeding everyone on one person’s shoulders, then hiring a caterer or hosting a potluck will be much easier and cause less stress for everyone.
Give everyone equal attention
The best part about getting everyone together is finding out what everyone has been up to. It’s important to make sure everyone’s achievements are celebrated equally. One relative might be recently engaged, while another might have taken the decision to foster a child. Find out well in advance if people will be making any announcements so that no one person overshadows the celebration or causes any family disputes. Planning a cake for one person to celebrate a recent engagement while failing to acknowledge another family member’s wedding is likely to sour the experience.
On the day: Don’t overplan
Once you’ve settled on the location and you’re sure there will be food and drink ready on the day, stop planning. Let the family reunion flow naturally and avoid planning every step of the day. Planning a single activity can be a fun way to bring everyone together, but this isn’t essential for many families.
Whether you’re planning a regular gathering, or a once-in-a-decade family reunion, leave room for everyone to spend plenty of time catching up. They’ll have a much more enjoyable time and will definitely be keen to come back.
Have you planned a family reunion before? Share with us in the comments.