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Family Reunion Forum

Re: How to revive a family reunion.

Hi Mel
You raise a lot of good points so let me go back to the beginning. I left out a lot of details in my original email but now I realize that this series of posts can be used as a guideline for those trying to figure out how to actually do all of this.

I participate in two family reunions; one on my mom's side and one on my dad's. The "big" one is the one on my mother's side. We have been doing it now for 33 years so yes, we do pretty much have it down to a well oiled machine.

The original brothers and some additional family members supplied the initial seed money that was used for deposits and mailings and all of that. In addition, the family sends out raffle tickets during the year to help raise money for our scholarship fund (separate bank account). The "profit" that we make on the fees that we charge for the reunion goes into the pot and helps pay the deposits for the next year. In January, every family remember receives a packet of information regarding the reunion, which is always held the last weekend in June. In the packet is hotel registration information. Because we have been having the reunion at the same place and because it is a state run facility, they cut us a good deal. We reserve a block of rooms and set a deadline by which you have to send the hotel your deposit for your room. Money for hotel reservations does not come to the committee. This transaction takes place between the individual and the hotel. We know, based on info gathered from the hotel, how many people plan to attend. Once a certain day passes, usually around Easter, the hotel will release whatever rooms were not booked by family members. If you decide to attend after that date, it is up to you to book another hotel in the area. Most people usually book their rooms in the main hotel before the cut-off dates. Some years, we actually have to increase the block of rooms. When family members show up at the hotel to check in, the hotel allows us to set up a table in the outer lobby. At this table, you pay your fees and pick up your itinerary and your meal tickets. The fee last year was $60.00 for adults and $45.00 for children under 10. In the registration packet is one ticket for the banquet, one ticket for the picnic, and one ticket for Sunday morning breakfast. All three of these events are all you can eat buffets. Whatever is left over after the meals is paid for goes back to the fund. We do not send in forms or money to the reunion ahead of time. The head count comes from hotel registrations. There are some local family members who do not need to stay at the hotel and who only show up at perhaps the banquet or the picnic. They are charged separately for whatever event they decide to attend and they usually commuinicate with the chairperson of the committee if they decide to attend.

On my father's side, the reunion is relatively new. We had one two years ago and are in the process of putting together one for July 2009. On this side of the family, seed money has been put up but we are also asking for dontations if anyone wants to give. The reunion will be held at a hotel but things will be a little different than with my mother's family. We will collect deposits on the registration fee from those family members who want to attend the reunion. I am not sure of the cut-off date of when we will stop accepting deposits but it will probably be in the spring. Our goal is to have as many people attend as possible.

I think that at the heart of these events is trust. If the family members don't trust the person heading it up or the members of the committee, then it will be difficult, if not impossible to make the reunion work.

The only other thing that I can think of is perhaps if you want to have a reunion and don't want the headache of doing it yourself or if family members don't trust each other, hire an event planner, build his or her fee into the price of registrtation, and let them do all of the work.

Peace and Blessins.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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