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A Short How-To Guide to Family Reunions

Some people live very close to their family (and some don't live far enough away!) so they are used to seeing them regularly and don't need to make special plans to get together.  But it seems that while many families do live relatively close to each other, many are spread out among different states, and sometimes even different countries.  There's nothing like a good family reunion to (re)connect yourself with generations of people who share common ancestors.  But it takes a solid plan and good planners.

Give a Date ASAP

As anyone with a family knows, the more advance notice you have, the easier it is for you to make plans.  You don't have to decide exactly what you are doing yet; "Save the Date" will be plenty.

Create a Planning Team

The last thing you want is dozens of people on an email chain.  That's bad enough at work, much less for something that will hopefully be a lot of fun.  Have one lead person from each of the nuclear families (or equivalents), the sorts that are known to be the "planners," as part of your committee.  You can use skype or facebook messenger or zoom to have group video chats.  Key roles include:

  • lodging - where will everyone be staying?
  • food - how will the food be cooked and served?
  • entertainment - what will people be able to do during downtimes?
  • mementos - will there be a t-shirt or some special takeaway from the event?
  • finance - how will things be paid for and collected?

Decide on the Style

With different families, styles, and budgets, it's most important to decide, almost right away, what style of reunion you'll have:

  • Home-based.  This is usually the least expensive option, but requires that one of the family have a large enough home to accommodate many guests and/or a backyard for tents for the more outdoorsy-minded.  It also means that family will have to take the brunt of the "impact" of having a lot of family over, so it will need to be the home of perhaps the most patient of the family members.
  • Destination.  This hits the "bucket list" nerve for many people.  By picking a desirable place to go, be it someplace natural like the Grand Canyon or someplace historic like Charleston, family will be excited about where they are going as much as by getting to see some people they may have never met before.
  • All-inclusive.  This is the easiest option, as it shortcuts food and finance issues by presenting people with a fixed cost for everything, and food, entertainment, and accommodations are all sorted without too much argument.

Invite Everyone

Reunions don't happen very often, or sometimes ever, for many families, so make sure to invite everyone you can.  You never know - perhaps that second cousin ends up being the life of the party, or you learn something touching and special about your family from someone during a chance conversation that could have never happened over facebook or email.  Be welcoming.

This is like planning any kind of reunion, except it can be more stressful (or fun!) because of the family element.  However many people come, it's almost always a special memory that will be cherished by all, and especially appreciated by those who simply got to show up because you shouldered the burden of planning and leading.

Have you planned or attended a family reunion before?  What was the experience like?  Share in the comments below to get 25% off Rascal Ponce's Eye Cream, one of our newest Rascal products, at your next visit to one of our clubs.

Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

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