Lord help! I love this site!
For the past reunions, we had all these same problems.
1. It was ill planned by the coordinator. She sent one (1) letter to each HEAD of the family (such as my 75 year old mother) and expected her to notify her nine children and inform us about information. She never specified limits and expectations. When Mama remembered to tell us things(usually at the last minute) and we called this cousin, she was never abled to be reached.
2. The reunion was always held at the same place which was small and didn't offer much for entertainment. Since it was our hometown that most of our family still lives in, the hometown folks didn't show up for most of the activities.
3. There were so many people there that WE KNEW were not relatives but that our family had lived near, been acquainted with, once dated, went to school with or had grown up with. We even had people who had once been married into the family bring their new spouses and other children.
4. The out of town families were the only ones who actually paid the fees but we had to end up going to restaurants for our meals because the non family people were on the front lines eating.
5. We plan to keep this from happening by keeping an up to date list (and posting it) on our family website about who had paid, etc. Each PAID attendee will be given a check in registeration packet and a name tag. Folks who show up without name tags won't get in, period.
6. There are families that we can't dare exclude from our reunions because of their longstanding ties to our ancestors that have only gotten tighter over the years. Everyone in the family agrees that these are HONORARY family members and THEY agree that they need to pay for their attendance. Its not them that we have problems with, its our own family bringing extra folks.