Family reunions are a very special time for your immediate family to reach out and bond with the extended family. Meeting and interacting with others that share your genetics can give further insight into what “runs in the family” and give a great opportunity for your children to bond with those that they’ve descended from
However, when you include the extended family into your festivities, that means preparing to host for a lot of people, often more than even a single home can accommodate. If you’re going to host a reunion for your family, then here are four essentials that you’ll want to plan for ahead of time.
Save the Date
The most important part of any family reunion is, of course, the family. Because of this, it is essential that you give everyone sufficient warning and planning time to ensure that you get the most people in attendance. Before you start printing out the pretty invitations, it’s a good idea to reach out to the family by phone, email, and however else you can to coordinate what time works for everyone and what venue they’ll agree to. There’s nothing worse than planning the perfect reunion, only to find out that most of the guests can’t come because of scheduling conflicts or the drive is too far. Make sure to do this coordination, months or even a year in advance so everyone has lots of time to dedicate a calendar space and to respond to your suggestions. Once everyone has agreed on the date and place, go ahead and print out those decorative invitations so people can have that visual reminder hanging on their fridge.
Making the Food
When it comes to a large gathering, like your family reunion, not everything has to fall on your shoulders. Instead of guessing what everyone likes to eat, tell your guests that it would be helpful if they could all bring a dish or two that they enjoy eating for the big meal. Turning the reunion into a potluck event allows you to spend less time in the kitchen, while also allowing your relatives the chance to show off their favorite recipes. This also eliminates the issues that come with having to plan around individual dietary restrictions, ensuring that everyone has something they are able to eat and enjoy.
It is important to have some idea of types of entertainment for your guests to engage in during their visit. You can plan to play games to keep kids entertained so that they are not bored. Board games, puzzles, and even child sports equipment can be brought out to keep the kids interacting with one another and having fun. You can have music or even bring a television outside to display family movies, or even to set up dancing videogames or karaoke for everyone to participate in.
Seating Is a Must
Since you are expecting a large group of people to show up at your family reunion, you are going to have to provide seating for them. Buying 100+ chairs is both extreme and unnecessary, and it is far better to rent chairs for your event. This way, you will not have to store all these chairs when your family reunion is over. If you’re renting an indoor venue, ask if they provide seating for you, though most outdoor venues will require you to provide your own seating. Thankfully, rented chair services will often help with the setting up and taking down of the chairs, saving you time and manpower.
Most reunions last longer than just a few hours, and more often than not, people will have taken long drives to get there. If you have your own kids, then you know that this combination means that a lot of kids are going to need a bathroom available, often as soon as they arrive. Porta potty rentals are a great alternative to using your indoor bathroom to service all your family and any additional guests, and are essential if the venue takes place outside. It is important to think about the porta potty size and the number of porta potties that will be adequate for your reunion’s needs beforehand to avoid forcing guests to spend reunion time standing in long bathroom lines.
Planning ahead is essential for every major event, whether it includes family or not. While not everyone is a professional party planner, anyone can make a successful family reunion happen so long as the necessities are taken care of in advance. Take the time to thoroughly consider all of the needs of your guests, and you’ll be able to enjoy a valuable bonding experience with family without the stress of unexpected problems during the event.
By Meghan Belnap