You can’t choose your family members, but you can choose your family reunion games and giveaways. If you’ve got an upcoming reunion, don’t risk being left without souvenirs, games, party ideas or other event essentials. Keep yourself organized with this useful family reunion checklist.
Send out the invitations
This is the very first step in your reunion process. Either create your own invitations or invest in a bunch of blank cards. When you send out your invitations, why not include a fun surprise in the envelope? A “Save The Date!” custom magnet designed with your family in mind could be a clever choice.
Choose a location, find lodging
Is the event going to be held at your home? Will you need to rent or reserve a local space? Where will out-of-town guests stay? All these logistics can seem overwhelming, but getting them out of the way early can help. Consider sending along the names of local hotels or motels in an email, or enclosing this kind of practical information in your invitations.
Design games and activities
There are plenty of regular old party games you can enjoy at the family reunion, from BINGO to tug of war, but there are also a variety of family-centered activities you can take part in. HowStuffWorks assembled 10 great family reunion activities, including a family history photo swap, a “guess the family member” game using baby photos, family jeopardy or the “Hot Potato Camera Game,” which creates new memories for you to share.
Have a rainy day back up plan
Lots of activities depend on good weather, so make sure you’ve got a plan B should storm clouds roll in. Consider getting personalized playing cards made specially for the reunion. These will help adults while away the time with poker and gin rummy until it’s nice again outside.
Get personalized tees and caps
As with any reunion event, you can’t let your guests leave empty handed. But investing in sets of custom family reunion T-shirts or hats doesn’t just offer guests personalized souvenirs, it’s also a great way to split everyone into teams for activities and games. Why not encourage distant family members to get to know one another by dividing everyone up into teams that take them out of their immediate family circles. Let them come up with a team name and hand out family reunion T-shirts in a particular color to each group. You can keep track of each team’s scores over the course of the reunion’s games and events, and the winners can take home special prizes.
Organize a slideshow
This can be a time consuming process, so start early. Have attending family members email you their favorite photos ahead of time. Go through your own photo albums and scan your favorites onto the computer. Then assemble all the photos in whatever order you prefer and pick out some great music.
Work on the menu
No family reunion is complete without food, and usually just any food won’t do. While you’ll want a wide variety of choices to choose from – including options that work with any individuals’ food preferences or allergies – make sure those classic family staples are there. Is your clan well known for a particular great aunt’s chocolate cake? Have a recipe card for lasagna that’s traveled far and seen a lot of love? Make this reunion menu a memorable one.
You don’t need to go overboard here, but some custom signs could be a ton of fun. Know any artists in the family? Perhaps he or she could whip up a quick official reunion design to put on banners or even the custom T-shirts. You can even get the design printed on other special reunion items, like Frisbees, beach balls or tote bags.
Think up some ice breakers
Chances are, you’ll be meeting and greeting people who are near strangers or whom you haven’t spoken to in ages. While you’re sure to be getting along before you know it, a few icebreakers can help the process. Reunions Magazine features some great suggestions, many of which dovetail nicely into other games and activities.
Have custom photo frames on hand
Hopefully, your guests will leave with several souvenirs that will remind them of the great time they had at the reunion. However, if you’re looking for the very best option, it’s definitely specially designed reunion photo frames. Pick any phrase, design or style you want, then let your departing family members choose the picture to put inside. It’s a great gift that will remind them of you often.
Keep this checklist handy and you’ll cover all the bases in time for your upcoming reunion. And remember, once you’ve got the family reunion planning stages out of the way, it’s time to have fun. Create some new memories so you’ll have plenty to reminisce over at the next gathering!