Is it Okay To Exclude People in a Family Reunion?

As you begin learning how to organize a family reunion, keep in mind that things can get stressful and overwhelming if you can’t delegate tasks to others and keep it simple. Don’t be afraid to get help organizing your family reunion. It’s this planning together that adds to the bonding experience of the event, after all. Naturally, the first step in planning a reunion is to find out who is invited, who is willing to help and whose addresses you’ll need to track down. Once you have the guest list squared away, you’ll be well on your way to arranging a memorable gathering.

The next step in planning a reunion is to delegate tasks. One person can be in charge of communications and letting everyone know what is going on; this person should collect address, send out surveys, accept responses, create and make family reunion invitations, prepare agendas and make any necessary phone calls. Two other people can volunteer for set-up/decorations at the party site and tear-down/clean-up; after all, it’s taxing and unfair for the host to do absolutely everything. Another person can be in charge of food, whether it’s organizing a potluck style dinner, ordering from a caterer, cooking all the dishes or finding a restaurant who will do a brunch. If your family reunion will be complex, it could help to delegate a finance point person, who can identify a budget, collect money from other relatives or figure out how to pay for everything. Additional jobs might include a family reunion activities/games director, and a historian who can collect information for a family tree, finds photographs to bring or purchase special keepsakes for the group.

Once you get other family members involved and send out a survey letter, your next step of planning a reunion will be to select the date. What good is a family reunion if no one can attend? Look over the survey poll results and try to find the date that is conducive to the most people. Many families select a holiday like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or a special family milestone. If you plan on turning this into an annual gathering, your best bet is to pick a date and keep it the same each year. You’ll also need to consider how long your gathering will last — just a few hours, a weekend or even an entire week. If you have a lot of family members coming in from afar, then you may want to make their family reunion vacation last more than just an afternoon. It’s important that you understand you can’t possibly please everyone, so try to choose a date that will accommodate the largest number of kin.

Other steps of planning a reunion include nailing down a reunion location and deciding upon a theme. The location can be an all-inclusive family reunion resort, cruise or camping experience. It can be at someone’s house, a local park/picnic area or a restaurant/banquet hall. Hopefully, you did your homework and sent out those surveys to get an idea of people’s budgets and availabilities, and to get some reunion ideas. The theme, of course, is optional, but it can be a great way to interest family members and make them more likely to attend. Hawaiian luaus, murder mysteries or Mardi Gras themes can tie decorations, activities and food together nicely. Now that you know the planning steps for a family reunion, you should be well on your way to creating new memories and forging new bonds with your loved ones!

Beth Kaminski is the co-author of Curing Your Anxiety And Panic Attacks which detailed panic attacks help as well as tips on the various medications for panic disorder available at