July 9, 2011

Ten Tips for a Successful Family Reunion

Your Family Reunion day has arrived. You're hosting it. Are you ready? Or are you starting to panic? I host Family Reunions (we call them Family Fun Days) every year and I've learned a lot from my earlier mistakes.

Here are ten tips and guidelines that might help you survive.  Just remember that the key is organization! And everyone attending wants to have fun. So relax but stay organized.

1. Create a guest list, send out invites well ahead of the actual date of your reunion and keep track of who is coming and who isn't. Contact guests a week ahead to remind them.

2. Plan your food and decide who is bringing what - is it a potluck? Are you providing everything? Be specific in your invitations so that guests know what is expected of them.

3. Plan your activities and games. Keep  children in mind. Perhaps you want to provide games and goody bags specifically for  youngsters. 

4.  Create a Timeline for your Family Reunion.  Set a start and end time, then assign blocks of time to certain activities such as eating, organized games, free time, cleanup etc. These are flexible but as the host or hostess you need to keep things moving so you need a timeline.

Let's  say your Family Reunion is going to run from 1 to 6 pm.  Your timeline might look like this:

11 am set up games and activities outside
12 noon Pop and water in coolers, chips and nibbles out on patio
1 pm Guests arrive. Potluck food goes in fridges
1-2 pm Guests mingle, look at family charts and play games if they want
2 pm - 3 pm Scavenger Hunt (an organized activity)
3 pm - start the fire for the corn roast, get family members to help shuck corn
3:30 pm start barbeque
4 pm Supper (corn, hot dogs, hamburgers)
4:30 Coffee and tea
5 pm Cleanup
6 pm Guests leave

Your timeline can be as detailed or as basic as you want but having one will help keep you on track.

5. Create a master plan for your reunion. This is the list of all games, activities and food you are providing. I also like to have sketches of where things go.

For example for our Family Fun Day this year I'm organizing an Ancestor Race and there are several events that have to be set up that morning. So I made a rough sketch of our house and property with the location of each event shown.  I also have pails labelled with the name of the event and filled with whatever items are needed for that event. That will make it easy for whoever might be helping me set the events up to grab a pail, check my sketch, and get things ready without asking me questions.

6. Make a TO DO list for the week before your reunion. This is where you will note what foods you need to buy, what food prep you have to do (if any) and when, when you are going to tidy and clean your bathrooms and have extra toilet paper and hand towels ready, and all other miscellaneous tasks that might get forgotten or left to the last minute.

Example: My TO DO list for the week prior to my family reunion might look like this:

Monday: Grocery Shopping
Tuesday: Find coffee urn, plastic plates and all other reunion items. Set out buckets with Scavenger Hunt or Race items ready to be hidden outside
Wednesday: Clean and tidy house. Clean all patio furniture. Put Ancestor Charts up for family to see
Thursday: Make hamburger patties. Get bathrooms ready (extra soap, towels and toilet paper out)
Friday: Buy 60 cobs of corn from local farmer. Set out game items (frisbees, football, croquet, etc).
Saturday morning: Hide Scavenger Hunt or Race items outside. Put up posters

7. Keep the little details in mind. For example are you having name tags? If yes, you need pens for your guests to fill those name tags out. Hosting a reunion is hectic and the last thing you need is to be running around hunting for pens or some other item you suddenly realize is needed.

8.  Make a detailed shopping list. What food items do you need? What about plates and cutlery? Write it all down. For example I will need hot dogs,  buns, pop, bottled water, chips, pretzels, relish, mustard, ketchup, serviettes (napkins), plastic cutlery, butter for corn,  coffee and coffee cream. I usually write out everything I need for the reunion then tick it off if I have it on hand.

9.  Organize your games. Let's say you are having a Scavenger Hunt. What items do you need for it? Write them down! You'll need bags for family to put their items in as they find them. You'll need clues so bettter get those written and printed off. Do you need to hide items? Make a note of what you are going to hide and how many and where.

10. Last but not least, have a backup plan in case of rain. Our Family Reunions seem to always get rained out. I learned the hard way that I need a plan for what to do with 35 or more people trying to fit into my house and how to set up the buffet meal that I planned to have outside until it started raining. Perhaps you will want to rent a tent in case of rain. Or maybe you have a big family room and can easily accommodate all your family if rain forces everyone inside.

I'm pretty organized for this year's Family Fun Day (one week from today!) but I'm sure something will go wrong. It always does but that's part of the fun!

1 comment:

Tessa said...

I have enjoyed following this series and it sounds like you will have a great Family Fun Day (that is what we call ours as well). Can't wait to hear all about how your scavenger hunt turned out! Cheers