Many modern families are spread out all over the country or even all over the world. A family reunion provides a sense of belonging, and gives you a chance to catch up with relatives you may not have seen or spoken to in years.

Family reunions can be a lot of fun, but it takes large doses of patience and commitment to plan and get people to come together. It would be a miracle to have everyone agree on everything, so just go with the choices of the majority.

Start planning about a year in advance so you can drum up interest and enlist some help to pull off the reunion successfully.

Here’s a guide to help you get started with planning:

1.Whom to invite:
Decide first who should attend the family reunion before you begin planning. Start with your immediate family, and then you can expand the guest list to include extended family members. Once you’ve made a list, make a survey of what people are willing to spend, and when and where they would like to go.

2. Set the date:
Set the reunion date as early as possible. Families with school-age children would want to plan around the school calendar.

3. Where to hold the reunion:
Be aware of your family’s budget and interests when choosing the reunion venue. Pick a place where you can have different activities, and one that is affordable and easily accessible.

4. Food and drinks:
Potluck or catered? This will largely depend on your location and budget. Consider any special needs or preferences your family might have.

5. Check that list:
A checklist will help you get organised and give a sense of direction as you make plans. Keep it with you at all times so you can easily write down ideas as they come. You can also use online tools. Draw up a reunion schedule, guest list, ideas for venue, theme, food and drinks, activities, and approximate costs.

6. Ask for help in organising the reunion:
Create a team to help you plan the event. Choose a contact person for each nuclear family. Delegate work. Create committees responsible for different parts of the reunion.

7. Activities:
It’s important to put some structure in place. Decide the main things that will happen at the reunion. You may want to honour your elders and the distinguished members of the family, and also to remember the recently departed. Putting together some sort of a family tree is a good idea to include your heritage into the event. Consider activities that help break the ice and encourage bonding, like team games. In choosing teams, pick names out of a box so that players get to be acquainted with new faces.

Remember also to leave lots of free time for your family to relax, chat, and enjoy each other’s company.

8. Photos and videos:
Don’t forget to take lots of photos of everyone during the reunion! Hire a professional photographer and videographer so that every family member will be fully focused on bonding with relatives and participating in the activities. Digital photos and videos can be posted online or emailed to everyone.

Spending time with relatives at least once a year fosters stronger family ties. Organising a family reunion is a lot of work, but the result is well worth the effort.

(Image via openhouse-project.com)