Celebrate National Family Reunion Month

Gather all the relatives!

Getting together with loved ones is especially fun when it’s a family reunion. July is designated as National Family Reunion Month and it’s a great time to plan for next year or organize a gathering for this summer.

While family technically means a relative by blood or law (such as marriage), people today may often include close friends or an unrelated but special family group as part of a reunion.

Reunions allow people who are separated by geography and don’t get to see each other often the opportunity to catch up, tell stories and meet new members of the extended family.

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Separated families come together

In past generations, family reunions weren’t really necessary because people tended to live in the same geographic location. As the country grew and became more industrialized, people moved for jobs and education or because of social strife and families became separated.

The Great Migration, 1910-1970, was one of the largest movements of people in U.S. history. Millions of people moved from the South to the Northern, Midwestern and Western states. This meant that someone in Chicago could have relatives in far flung places such as Alabama, Florida and Boston.

Transportation advances and improved socio-economic status also fueled travel and allowed people to quickly fly, train or drive to see loved ones more easily.

Today, it’s common for younger family members to move away for college or work and often they meet spouses or partners and set up a life miles away from other relatives.

With families spread across the country and around the world, a reunion is an occasion to meet new members such as babies or spouses, connect with cousins and siblings or just enjoy each other’s company.

How to plan your own family reunion

If you’re going for a medium- to large-sized family reunion with multiple generations and family tree branches, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips and ideas to make your next family reunion or gathering a success.

Start early. If you’re asking people to travel, it’s nice to get the word out so that people can plan their time off work or save for airfare. Depending on how large your gathering will be, you might look at beginning about 6-12 month before the big day.

Get some input. You want to make sure that you will have enough participants to attend. You can even send out a quick questionnaire to see where and when is best for most family members.

Ask for help. A family reunion is a big occasion. Don’t hesitate to ask family members to pitch in. You can assign cousins to arrange for food and a sibling to choose and book a venue.

Decide what your reunion will look like. Celebrations can be formal with a caterer and a hotel ballroom or casual with a cookout at a park. Some are just for a day and some last a long weekend.

Figure out the budget. If there is a fee for renting a picnic pavilion or hotel rooms, make sure everyone knows who is paying the bills. Decide who is handling the money and ask for financial contributions if needed.

Communicate often. People who are attending will appreciate knowing what’s happening with the plans. There are several sites like reunacy.com and gatheredagain.com that can help with organization, communications and ideas.

Plan your activities ahead of time. Part of the fun of a family reunion is getting to connect with each other through activities. This can mean a softball game or a dance party for some people, and a church service for others. Go for a balance of activities that will interest everyone.

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About the Author: WayForth

WayForth is the definitive provider of comprehensive and personalized moving solutions for life and business. Since 2016, WayForth has led the way in move management, providing solutions to over 15,000 individuals and families. How you move matters and no matter the destination, WayForth serves as a guide making life’s transitions easier to navigate. Call 1.844.WAYFORTH today to learn how we can help with your next move!
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