One year to 10 months ahead:
• Collect email addresses, telephone numbers and mailing addresses, and;
• survey family as to how much to spend, and where to celebrate.
Ten to six months ahead:
• Create a website;
• create an organizing committee;
• decide upon a location;
• choose meals, and;
• update relatives.
Six to three months ahead:
• Collect money;
• arrange photography;
• plan games, and;
• organize decorations.
Three months before:
• Update website;
• send reminders to everyone, as there may be last-minute joiners;
• encourage procrastinators to pay up;
• have committee finalize outstanding details, and;
• appoint greeters.
Meet up for the big day!
Family reunion dos and don'ts
• Do consider holding the event near a common family home or homestead, if applicable to your family. People enjoy revisiting their past.
• Don't forget about photography, videography and decorations.
• Do make sure children are under the supervision of a group of adults at all times, especially if you are near water (in fact, assign specific kids to each adult).
• Do honour your heritage and history, be it through food or activities such as storytelling or arts and crafts.
• Don't take the decision to serve alcohol lightly.
• Do encourage mapping out the family tree during the event – what better setting could there be?
• Don't resent others who don't do as much as you do, or it will ruin your day. Let it slide, says Steen-Turkington.
• Do keep the reunion going after the event by posting photos on your website or sending out a newsletter.
Fond memories of great family reunions
"Our clan gathers every two years for a family reunion, and about 150 to 200 people attend. For some relatives who live far away, it's one of their few family connections. Just before dinner, we take a few moments to remember those we've lost in the preceding two years, along with an introduction of those we've gained – be it the babies, a new daughter-in-law or someone newly engaged. It allows us to reflect on the renewal of family, the beauty of a life cycle that replenishes that wonderful gift: the love of family."
- Alain Gingras, Hull, Que.
"Each August, when our family gathers for the annual picnic, we take a photograph of the youngest and oldest members of the family together. Sometimes it's a great-uncle and a little grandniece, or my grandmother pictured with my second cousin's daughter."
- Helen Altobello, Montreal
"We have the Clarence-Margaret platter. It's a basic ceramic platter with the names of our great-grandparents, the two folks who started this clan. The names of each of their seven children are painted on this plate. Each year, we draw a name out of a hat and one family member gets to take the platter home – but must use it on a regular basis. It's not meant to sit untouched in the china cabinet. It's practical. Just like my pioneering great-grandparents who came to this country with few extras. If it gets chipped, it's chipped. It's a platter well-lived. Like our great-grandparents, it has a life well-lived."
- Marg Johnson, Ottawa
Page 3 of 3 – Ready to get started on your family reunion? Find out what you'll need to do, and how to get started on page 1.
|This story was originally titled "Plan the Perfect Family Reunion" in the August 2010 issue. |
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