Tips for Planning a Family Reunion

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Organizing a reunion? Fisher Family Reunion organizer Lisa Crockett offers the following tips:

Start planning early -- a year and a half or even two years before the event. Establish a committee and shop around among convention and visitors bureaus to see who offers the most suitable attractions, hotels and deals. "There will be a lot of last-minute fires to put out," says Crockett, "but advance planning will keep them to a minimum."

Get attendees to commit as early as possible. A year in advance is not too early. Ask participants to submit a deposit of $15 to $20 on the reunion fee.

Don't accept payments at the door. It encourages would-be participants to procrastinate and makes planning tough.

Share the organizing jobs with other relatives. One can be in charge of food, another can handle special events for youngsters, and so on.

Stay flexible. At the Fishers' Atlanta reunion, for example, so many people arrived at the last minute who had not signed up that the caterers had to prepare extra food and tables on short notice. The hotel was amenable, but the changes called for fast footwork.

Pay attention to attendees' dietary restrictions when planning the menu. Atkins dieters, diabetics, vegetarians and others will be happier if there are options for them.

Make sure venues are accessible to all. Choose hotels and attractions that are easy for elderly and disabled participants to navigate.

-- Gary Lee

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