Planning a Family Reunion
You’ve been put on the spot, with no way to back out, and now the responsibility of planning this year’s annual family reunion lays heavily on your shoulders. What do you do? Where do you begin? More importantly, how on earth are you going to find the time and money to plan such a large event?!
First, take a deep breath. You have been paid a high compliment by your family who has acknowledged your abilities as a leader, capable of making considerate decisions and the ability to follow through with concrete plans and strong organization. Now take another deep breath and realize that your family has not asked you to do this alone, but to spearhead the event with the autonomy to delegate responsibilities as you see fit. This is your time to shine and with our simple steps you are sure to be a success!
- The First Step: Make an invitation list to ensure that no family member is left out of the festivities.
- The Second Step: Gather communication preferences for families. Some members prefer phone calls or texts, others email, with the more traditional members preferring mail.
- The Third Step: Determine a date. Family reunions typically are held during the warm summer months when school is out of session and companies are more accepting of employees taking time off for vacations. More importantly, outdoor weather allows the younger generations the space to burn off the extra energy they have in abundance.
- The Forth Step: Determine a budget. By determining a budget FIRST you are then able to determine location and activities.
A growing trend among families is having the annual reunion at an all-inclusive property. From meals and lodging to activities, all-inclusive properties typically takes the stress of the planning off the family’s checklist and divides the cost equally among all the participants.
- The Fifth Step: Determine a location. Another benefit of all-inclusive property is the ability to cater to a wide range of group sizes. “We have organized reunions for groups of 20 all the way up to 450,” said Jennifer Buwalda, Manager of Meetings & Events at Cedar Creek. “The biggest request from families is the ability to spread out and give each other the chance for a little privacy every now and then. Family time doesn’t mean ‘together all the time.’ It is important to have personal time as well.”
- The Sixth Step: Determine meals. With food allergies, preferences, and beliefs, planning and cooking meals can be exhausting. At Cedar Creek, all meals and snacks are homemade and made according to your specifications. If 3 of 400 cannot have nuts, then a meal will be prepared for them. If 20 out of 50 are vegetarians, then a meal will be prepared for them. In addition, all meals can be served buffet, boxed, or plated based on your itinerary.
- The Seventh Step: Determine activities. This is the final, and probably one of the most important steps in planning a family reunion because of the age and ability difference. All inclusive properties are an excellent choice because of the breadth of activities found onsite for families. At Cedar Creek, families can enjoy golf, fishing, hiking, biking, swimming, an outdoor movie theater (we will play your requests!), bonfires, lawn games like badminton or croquet, brewery tours, and more. Cedar Creek can also coordinate several offsite activities including winery tours (we are 10 minutes away from some of the best wineries in Missouri’s robust wine country!), shopping excursions, and sightseeing.
Family reunions are an invaluable way to reconnect with distanced loved ones, rekindle relationships, and share a common heritage. They are meant to be enjoyed and to create new memories. We hope these simple steps help during your planning process, and should you need more advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.