Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Plan a Successful Family Reunion

Family ReunionFamily reunions are a popular summertime tradition for families across the globe. Though studies focusing on family reunions are rarely conducted, in a survey conducted by market research company Bruskin roughly a decade ago, 62 percent of respondents said they would be attending a family reunion that year.

It's likely safe to assume those figures have remained steady, especially with the advent of social networking Web sites that make contacting lost friends and family easier than ever before. Families hoping to host a reunion of their own this summer should consider the following tips.

* Plan lots of activities. Families spread out far and wide may devote an entire weekend to their reunion, allowing weary travelers at least two days to catch up with family members before heading back home. To ensure everyone has plenty to do, reunion organizers should plan plenty of activities. A day in the park can be more than just a picnic if fun competitions like softball, badminton and other lighthearted activities the whole family can enjoy are included. A family outing to a ball game might prove the ideal nighttime activity. Whatever plans are made, organizers must make sure the activities can be enjoyed by family members of all ages.

* Provide an extensive menu. Food preferences can be as unique as the typical family. Planners should ask around to see if any family members are on specific diets, such as vegetarian diets or gluten-free diets. When everyone has responded, planners can then begin preparing a menu the whole family can enjoy.

* Use the gift of technology. The Internet has made contacting family members easier than ever. Reunion planners can use this to their advantage by establishing a Facebook page for the reunion. Guests can RSVP with the click of a mouse, and hosts can save money by sending out free e-vites instead of costly invitations.

The reunion site can also be used to determine any family members' special needs, such as dietary needs, baby needs or travel arrangements.

* Consult local officials. Before sending any invitations, those responsible for planning the reunion should consult local officials and authorities to determine which areas and activities are OK or off limits for family reunions. Parks might require permits to host gatherings of a certain size. In addition, some public areas prohibit the use of grills or other cooking devices. Before sending out any invitations, determine a location that legally allows for the most fun.

* Make alternative plans just in case. Most family reunions are held in the summer when the weather is most likely to cooperate. However, reunion planners should have a contingency plan in place should Mother Nature decide to be difficult. Research local restaurants that can seat large parties that might be forced indoors if the weather outside is frightful.

CAPTION: Reunion planners can take steps to ensure family members of all ages have a great time at the next family reunion.

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