Hints for happy family reunions

Family reunions can be a little bit stressful, or a lot, depending on the family. But sometimes they may be a bit more stressful than they need to be. If you follow our handy hints for a happy family reunion, you’ll have time to focus on the important things, and the whole process should become not only more manageable, but also a lot more fun.

Give them plenty of notice

It’s best to allow a lot of time, say, six months minimum, so everyone in your family knows when they need to be wherever they need to be, as well as what there role is in the whole affair. The more time you give people, the more likely they are to be able to make the necessary plans and commit to a date. They’ll also have a better shot at getting good rates on flights and accommodation.

Work to a budget

Whether you’re booking a fancy family restaurant or organising a soiree at home, you’ll need to set a budget and stick to it. And don’t feel that you need to pay the whole tab yourself. It’s reasonable to ask each family member for a contribution to help cover costs. But do it well in advance and definitely don’t spring it on them last minute (or after the fact), as this is when you’ll face problems, especially if some find it challenging on the hip pocket. Giving them time to save up to contribute takes the pressure of everyone.

Who’s the boss?

The old ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ saying may be bounced around at a family reunion especially if there are a few headstrong family members who always get in the way, so ensure that there is someone in charge. The event manager should be good with people and with giving direction, as well as facilitating any potential conflicts, and should be able to delegate responsibility too. Share the responsibilities for making the arrangements as well as for cleaning up afterwards. Set clear objectives for everyone involved, and make sure each family member has a job to do, because ‘many hands make light work’…(Yes, there is a reason for the clichés!)

Setting a date

Choose three dates and put them to a vote. Make it clear at the outset that majority rules. If no one finds any of the initial dates acceptable, ask for their preferences, then choose the most common three and start the voting again. Aren’t you glad you started early?

Location, location

Try to pick a location that is convenient for most of the invitees. Alternatively, you can pick a spot that is far from everyone, making it a true day trip or holiday for all parties. Whichever location you decide on, it’s important to ensure that there is a range of activities to keep everybody happy. Think parks, beaches, and barbecue or picnic spots. Or aim for a theme park or a family restaurant with activities for kids and adults. European clubs, and RSLs or sporting clubs usually provide these options along with affordable, good quality food and beverages. It’s also important that you choose a place that’s in everyone’s price range.

Ask for a group discount

Once you chosen a venue don’t be afraid to contact the businesses and ask for group discount. More often than not they will oblige by either giving you discount on the day or offering a custom menu that keeps their costs down, as well as yours.

Now that you’ve got everyone in the same location, these tips will help you get through the day with minimal fuss:

  • There’s no denying that there’s potential for tension at family gatherings. It can be easy to get bogged down on the negative aspects, but it should be at the forefront of your mind that this is a happy day. So think positively and take pleasure in your family’s quirks. You are spending time with the people you love, so immerse yourself in your family ties and, most importantly, smile.
  • If you make family time fun for everyone, your relatives will look forward to your reunions. And you may even find that your numbers swell with each passing year.
  • No matter how well you make your plans, things may notalways work out the way you want them to. But unless someone gets hurt, try to roll with the punches because it’ll all be over at the end of the day – and you may be able to laugh about it years down the track.

There is joy in remembering that you have a tribe who wants to spend time together and, despite any difficulties, not everyone is so lucky. So, have fun!