While most people think of summer as the time to hold family reunions, don't limit yourself to just that. Long weekends during other parts of the year can also be a good time for a family get-together. You can plan around:
Note: Reunion length is determined by how far the average attendee will travel. The farther he/she travels, the longer the reunion should be.
Now that you have some ideas for dates, choose several different reunion dates that will work for you and call the Honeysuckle Inn & Conference Center to check availability, which is especially important if you will be needing a conference room or catering. Once you have the availability dates, you may want to check with significant family members who absolutely must attend (such as grandparents). Now you are really rolling. It's time to nail down some exact dates. You may take the liberty of choosing the dates yourself, or you can send out postcards or letters asking people to mail or call you with their "vote." If you choose to allow people to vote, make sure everyone realizes that "majority rules."
Now you have the majority's first & second choice dates. As soon those votes are counted, call 1-800-942-3553 to reserve a block of rooms for your family. Use the 2nd choice date if the 1st choice date has sold out between now and the last time you called. You may consider a conference room or catering at the Honeysuckle Inn & Conference Center. The key aspect of choosing reunion dates is to stick to your final decision. Changing the date will only lead to confusion between family members and overall havoc.
One of your first tasks is to make a list of everyone to be invited. Do you want to invite all the descendants of great, great, great....or just your immediate family? How many can you track down in an amount of time?
The number of people on your guest list will be a factor in many ways, such as which conference room to use (Cardinal Room, seats 130; Sunshine Room, seats 110; Hummingbird Room, seats 25), how many rooms to block off.
Begin by making a list of people to invite. Contact the people you already have addresses and phone numbers for. The best idea is to put that information in a computer program specifically designed to manage names, addresses, and phone numbers. Microsoft Works is a good one. You can also print labels with this program, which will save many hours of handwriting addresses.
For those family members you do not have all contact information for, ask your close family if they have the information. For free, you can go online and go to Yahoo.com, then select "White Pages." You will need the name of your relative, and Yahoo! will then bring up every single person in the United States with that name. You will then sift through those people until you come to the one you are looking for. If you know what state or city they are from, that will help you narrow your search immensely. As a last resort, you may try a "family tree search," however those do have an expense.
Your first financial task is to create a budget for anything that is to be paid for or reimbursed by the reunion committee. Make sure you include everything you think of - stamps are an important part of every budget. Plus, it's always a good idea to allow a little bit of leeway in the budget to cover any unexpected expenses.
After you have decided how much this reunion is going to cost, you must determine where you are getting said money. Be sensitive to the financial situation of your attending family members. You don't want to plan a reunion that hardly anyone can afford.
Here are some ideas for collecting money:
Renting a conference room is a very good idea for a family reunion. Since the point of a reunion is to "re-unite," being able to have a common place to come together and socialize, play cards or other games, and enjoy other bonding activities is really important.
Here are some ideas to guide your time spent socializing in a conference room:
1. Welcome Address: (5 - 10 minutes, max.)
2. Certificates and Awards: Create certificates to give to people. Use your creativity to have fun with this. Possible recognition categories include these basics:
3. Organize Games: Games that involve more than one person at once are wonderful. Place some chairs in front and enjoy these classics.