Families these days come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They are no longer the neat unit of Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver. We have half brothers and sisters. We have in-laws that no longer are… so I call them out-laws! As far as I am concerned we are still connected. We have family relatives through new marriages. Parents remarry bringing with them lots of new relatives! And young families keep growing.
So having a family reunion can be complicated. Decide the goal of the reunion before you begin organizing. For me it was to have my child and grandchildren together. Adding other relatives would have changed the dynamic and conversation. There are reunions of the entire clan. These are lots of fun because they introduce us to people we hardly know. Or maybe never did!
Since it is very expensive to move families, it is first good to have a compelling reason to gather. Birthdays and anniversaries are the most common. Weddings are nice but often not planned around family first. There are also lots of non-relatives at weddings. Picking a reason and date well in advance helps the family who is planning to attend. They can save their money. For a family of four, it is over $2,000 to travel across the country, plus lodging and food. For most families, that trip is a big deal. In the travel industry well in advance is 11 months or more. I gave everyone 18 months to begin planning. With 9 months prior, “the where” plans changed but not the dates. (I had a grandson arrive in late February and in a no fly zone!) As a result we helped each other make the reunion happen.
“The where” for your family reunion is very specific to your family. What do they like to do? Where have they been? What are the dollars? Who is paying? Having a conversation with everyone helps in the planning. In addition to the weekend activities, I wanted an evening formal fine dining experience. I wanted to see everyone dressed up looking smart. All the men, even the 3 year old had on a tie and the women in dresses, even me! For others, it may be around a campfire roasting marshmallow or at a lodge in the mountains. Family reunions can be in your backyard, in a villa in Tuscany or France, on a cruise ship, or at a resort. It is getting the family together and doing things together they enjoy that are most important. It is having that picture in your mind of everyone smiling that counts.
Let me know your thoughts and I will be most pleased to assist you in planning your family reunion.