The last family reunion that we attended in 2019 was a really special one. There were good times and good food with good people! And no pandemic! The photo below was taken at that family reunion. It also got me thinking about how to organize a family reunion.
Family is at the heart of life, and very often family members are some of the closest and most important people to you. Spending quality time with family can strengthen those bonds, and remind you of where you come from.
However, getting the entire family together, that is, including all of the uncles and aunties and cousins and grandparents and beyond…can be quite the challenge.
It is not rare for family members to be spread around different parts of the world, which means that you might only get to see them during special occasions like big holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter), weddings, and unfortunate funerals.
But why wait for a specific holiday for a big family get together?
We know that organizing a family reunion can be hard (especially during a pandemic), as there are many factors to take into consideration in order to ensure everyone can attend and that it all goes well. So let’s take a look at how to organize a family reunion!
Table of Contents
Essentials When Organizing a Family Reunion
There are a few essential things that you 100% have to take into account when organizing a family reunion. These are the things that determine when and where and how to organize the reunion, to ensure that it is viable and that it goes well.
We recommend you make a list of them so that you can tick them off as you sort them out, to ensure you’ve got everything covered and ready for the day of the reunion!
Here are the essentials:
Who to invite:
The first thing you need to think of is the guest list. How big or small is this family reunion going to be? Are you bringing together one side of the family, or both at once? Are you inviting everybody or are you leaving certain people out?
If you’re doing an extensive family reunion, you might be wanting to invite less known family members such as far-away relatives or third cousins.
The best way to go is to invite whoever people are comfortable with. After all, a family reunion is all about connecting and spending time with loved ones!
If you’re the one organizing the reunion, it’s a good idea to have someone else in the family that you trust check the list of guests, for some outside input!
When to host the reunion:
Deciding on a date for the family reunion can be one of the hardest steps to complete. That’s because finding a date that works for everyone can be extremely hard, especially if some family members live far away!
A good idea for sorting this bit out is to organize a spreadsheet or make a list of possible dates, and then have family members tick off the ones that work for them.
Ideally, you will be able to find a date that works for everyone. But if not, you will have to go with the date that works for most people.
You should take things into account such as the flexibility of certain family members. For those that will have to travel the furthest to get to the reunion, you should provide some form of priority, as it is harder for them to rearrange dates.
Typically, summertime is ideal for family reunions because children are on break from school.
Where to host the reunion:
The location you choose for the family reunion is also extremely important. Ideally, it should be somewhere that everyone can get to.
If most of your family lives in the same place, it’s a good idea to host it there. But if you’re all scattered in different places, you might want to host the reunion somewhere in between, so that everyone has equal access to the location.
You should also take into account what it is you’re going to do during the reunion. Usually, the best idea is to host a big family meal, in which case you can choose a restaurant with a big enough table, in which you can spend some time afterward too.
What to do during the reunion:
This determines where and when the reunion takes place. One of the safest options is to host a big family meal, maybe at a nice restaurant with enough space to spend some extra time at.
Maybe you’re hosting a reunion in a rented out hall, or at someone’s garden. It depends on what you’re going to do, as having a schedule or specific activity is a lot easier than simply throwing all the family members in one place and hoping for the best.
Things to Consider When Organizing a Family Reunion
Once you have all of the essentials covered, in theory, the family reunion should go smoothly and without any issues. But let’s face it, plans can easily go South despite how much you prepare for them.
The solution? Prepare some more! There’s nothing like a plan B, a plan C, or if need be, an escape route!
- Table seating
- Good topics to talk about and fun activities
- Duration of the reunion
Tips to Avoid Problems and Conflicts During a Family Reunion
Family reunions can be amazing and wonderful, and a great opportunity to reconnect with family members that you don’t get to see too often. It’s a great way to catch up and come together, celebrating as a family.
However, families are complicated. Family members can easily be very different from one another, sharing completely opposite points of view or beliefs. It’s not that rare for family reunions to end badly because of an argument that blows up the whole situation.
A conflict or argument can really ruin the entire mood for the family reunion, and it can make everything turn into an uncomfortable nightmare. It can also be extremely upsetting in some cases, and even lead to irreparable damage!
So, how do you avoid things going wrong? Here are some tips:
- Avoid touchy/sensitive topics related to politics, religion, and economics (but if you feel led to lovingly introduce a family member to Jesus through the gospel, make it happen!)
- Have some conversation topics prepared in case you need to quickly change the conversation around.
- Group family members that like each other together, and avoid leaving those that dislike each other too close by together without a peacemaker nearby.
- Be prepared to act as a mediator between family members if a conflict arises. You’ll need to remind them of the cause of the reunion and of the importance of respecting one another!
I hope this article has been helpful in helping you learn how to organize a family reunion. Keep love and safety at the top of your mind during your planning. In the meantime, get your family together and have fun with a family art project!