How to organize a family reunion

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Are reunions still important in a world filled with Skype, Facebook and Instagram?

In a world overrun with interconnectedness and websites like facebook, we sometimes forget how important being in the physical presence of someone is.

  1. Distance may affect turnout but shouldn’t prevent you from sending invitations. Planning should start months in advance to accommodate guests’ schedules.
  2. Delegate: enlist the assistance or a committee to share the to-do list, make decisions and reach out to guests. Set deadlines.
  3. The venue: reunions can be accommodated by parks, churches, recreation centers and other types of public spaces. The venue must suit the family’s personality, adventure to a water park, ski resort or all-inclusive resort.
  4. Invitations and reservations: Send a save-the-date card, the invitation should include all pertinent information about accommodations, directions and phone numbers. A digital invitation can be used to poll guests about dates or locations. Reservations can be made online and shared with the guest list through reliable apps such as Tripit or Google Docs.
  5. Decorations: Display a family tree, special heirlooms or photo albums to encourage conversation. Take lots of group shots or even hire a professional photographer or a photo booth for the event.
  6. Stick to the budget: If that means hamburgers, hot dogs and salad, then keep it at that. Don’t forget the purpose of the event is to spend time with family, not impress them.
  7. Safety: Consider mobility of older members and the safety of younger children.
  8. Theme: Themes add a fun factor and can give you some activity ideas. Who wouldn’t like to see a bunch of grown men strutting their stuff in a pirate beauty pageant? Other families may think a theme is silly.
  9. Favors: Go for cherished keepsakes, rather than cheap plastic favors. T-shirts are more durable and useful. Another idea is a photo or memory book. Put one person in charge of assembling and producing it, then send it after the event.

From an article by Melissa Erickson in the Galesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, Illinois.

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