Each year, we look forward to summertime. It gives us a nice break from school or work, and to get the family together in a way that’s almost impossible during the year. Today, when family members are geographically spread out and people are busier than ever, a family reunion has become the necessary way to get the whole family together in one place. Even with social media allowing us to stay connected to extended family more than ever (more on that later). Hanging out with family face-to-face has become increasingly difficult for most people, so make it count.
Most families can only pull off a few family reunions each decade, so there’s a lot riding on doing each one right. Here are some tips to make sure you plan a great gathering for everyone at your next family reunion.
Family Reunion Locations
Family reunions are like real estate in that they are all about three things: location, location, and location! Sure, in theory a reunion in Hawaii is a great idea. But unless you’re the Kardashians, there’s a good chance not every family member can make it to paradise. Pick a location that has traditionally good weather, but is within driving distance for the majority of people invited. Keep in mind that you are dealing with all age groups (families with babies, students, elderly, etc.), so pick a place that allows for as many people to attend as possible.
Once a city is selected, there are still some choices to make. Beach? Camping? Theme park? Bar crawl? The options are virtually endless, but make sure to pick a venue that will allow the most people to have a good time. Also, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and pick activities that might be unfamiliar to your family. Kayaking, hiking, or even visiting a horse ranch are a few cool activities that will get people out of their comfort zone, but also don’t require a high level of athleticism.
Providing food and beverages for a large, disparate group of people is not an easy task. When planning for a large group, it’s best to go with either a buffet or a prix-fixe menu with a options at one fixed price. These are both good ways to balance variety and cost. Make the meals memorable by including some family favorites, or dishes native to the location of the event. Also be sure to always make sure people with dietary restrictions (gluten allergies, vegan, etc.) can be accommodated.
Music and Entertainment
In the era of seemingly endless options to stream music, a professional DJ might not be necessary. However, a DJ definitely adds something to the event. Whether you’re outsourcing the music to a professional, or making playlists yourself, here are some tips:
- Make Everyone Happy Pick a variety of songs that appeal to all age groups and demographics. The kids like Fetty Wap, the parents like Jimmy Buffet, and the grandparents like Tony Bennett–there’s no reason there can’t be a little of each to make everybody happy. You might just expose people to new music they’ll actually listen to when the reunion is over.
- Pacing and Flow are Important Nobody wants three hours of high energy dance music in a row (even the Jackson 5 had a few slow jams). These events are marathons, not sprints. Build some breaks in intensity in your playlists to give everybody a chance to catch their breath, enjoy the meal, or maybe even slow dance with their spouses.
- Classics are Classics for a Reason There are some songs that never get old. They’ve become staples at weddings, graduations, and family reunions for a reason. “We Are Family,” “Family Affair,” “YMCA,” “The Electric Slide,” and “September” are just a few of the songs that often get labeled as “corny,” yet still pack the dance floor at most events. There are plenty of places to break out new music and show people how cool you are, but a family reunion is not one of them.
Technology often gets blamed for breaking down the family unit, but it’s a helpful organizer. Group emails, Facebook groups, and Google docs are ways the Internet can make planning a family reunion easier and more collaborative process. Communicating online allows everyone planning the event to keep track of accomplished jobs and unfinished tasks. Use social tools to organize venders, costs, RSVPs, and everything in between. Also, making all of the reunion details available online (directions, accommodations, etc.) makes getting to the party less stressful.
Something for Memories
At a family reunion, just like at any big event, it’s always nice to give guests a souvenir to remember. Picking items that your family will like and actually use after the reunion is the key to making these giveaways more than just an expensive piece of nostalgia that will eventually end up in the garbage.
Group t-shirts are great option that memorialize the event with photos and anytime one wears it in the future. When designing a commemorative shirt, try to design a cool logo that incorporates the family name and date of the reunion. Then, include any other information, inside jokes, or graphics that will immediately remind people of the reunion.
Another option would be multiple shirts based on ‘teams’ for family competitions. Doing the same custom design on a multiple colors is an effective way to differentiate between teams for flag football, volleyball, or any other games your family might be playing at the party. There are tons of other options available, from sweatshirts and outerwear, to hats and umbrellas–pick the best options for your group’s budget. As long as you put some consideration into the design, you’ll send your family reunion attendees home with useful items. These personalized products will bring back memories of a great event for years to come.
Do you need custom family reunion t-shirts? We can help you design the best gear for your get together. Visit us at RushOrderTees.com or call (800) 620-1233.