It’s no surprise that getting a large family together for any type of gathering can be overwhelming. It takes A LOT of food to feed 30-50 (or more!) people 3 meals a day for up to 5 days! It takes A LOT of activities and planning to keep 30-50 people involved and entertained for 5 days!
For large family reunions, it may be helpful to form a reunion committee to assist you in planning. A good planning will lead to the success of the reunion. Take time to plan and avoid rush hour planning. The committees main aim is to ensure everyone enjoys themselves while also minimizing the costs. Making a budget plan ensures that all the guests are well served and that no one feels that their needs have been neglected. Is it really possible to have a successful reunion with a frugal budget? YES! It is very possible, with a plan, budget and a lot of creativity, you can pull of a reunion the everyone will remember (in a good way!). Here are some tips to help you out…
First is accommodation. Doesn’t matter how fun the activities are or how delicious the food will be if the out of town family members have no where to stay. Visit local hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts to compare their prices. Typically if you can guarantee a specific number of rooms the more flexible to price can be. Weigh in extra factors as complimentary shuttle service, breakfast, wi-fi, etc. Not every hotel includes these items for free. If lodging facilities are still too pricey from some members, family members living in the area can open up their homes to accommodate out of town guests. Make sure the member’s home is big and spacious enough to accommodate extra guests for several days.
Next is the FUN. All reunions should include activities, even something as simple as sitting under shade trees at the park catching up is an activity that needs some kind of planning. Try planning activities fun for all ages and interests. These become the heart of why family members look forward to coming to reunions again and again.
If the weather is nice, hit the park for frisbee golf, donut on a string, and the classic egg and spoon race! On the opening night of the reunion, a fun ice break could be a “Who’s Who?” picture game. During meal times, keep conversations flowing with a memory tablecloth and/or a thankful tree. These can be filled out everyday that your family dines together. The tablecloth can be saved and showcased at the next reunion.
Family reunions are also a great time to work on genealogy! Genealogy.about.com has a list of 10 ideas that would be easy and fun to incorporate into the reunion festivities! Group travel has several suggestions that could be fun any season the family gets together.
Lastly, (and maybe my favorite part) you have to keep everyone fed. This can easily end up being the most expensive part of the budget. If anyone has a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, buying in bulk typically helps reduce costs. If members are staying in each others homes, have plenty of items guests can serve themselves for breakfast and lunch. Consider cold cereals, milk, granola bars, pancake mix, eggs for breakfast and bread, lunch meat, cheese, and chips for lunch. For dinner, utilize a buffet style meal that feed a large group. Ideas I have used in the past are Hawaiian Haystacks, Hot Dog bar, Baked Potato Bar, build your own burger bar, and a taco bar.
Reunionsmag.com has a plethora of possibilities and may reap something you did not originally think of or put a twist on something you already do. Echoes of Laughter also has an amazing list of ideas that reunion attendees of any age will enjoy.