Nothing can replace the feeling of having a loving family and relatives whom you know will stand beside you no matter what. But in this day of emails and Internet chatting, the younger generation of the family often fails to be connected with their relatives. More often than not, they may not even know all of their cousins or who their great grandparents were.
You might be asking, "Why would I go through the headaches of planning a reunion in San Francisco?". Well let's see….
- It's your family after all.
- If done well, it can be a lot of fun for everyone.
- You really like Cousin Mike, but haven't seen him in 9 years, isn't it time?
- Grandma will think you're a saint for all your time and effort putting this all together.
Where to Start and How to Get Organized
Start by creating a reunion committee, run things as thought you are a club. If it's a small group, maybe it's just you. If you are having a couple of hundred people in attendance, you'll want a much bigger group to help out. You will need to have to have a reunion chairman. This person has to be in charge to make sure everything is getting done and no one is slacking. You'll need someone who is a great politician and is good at delegating. If this is too big a job for one person, then find that special someone willing to share the work.
Next you will want to create subcommittees. The size of your family reunion will determine how many committees you need and how many people should be on them but this is a great way to get a lot of family members involved and to make sure you have enough help for each task. Even if you're a committee of one you should divide your planning into these categories:
This group has to make sure everyone knows what's going on. They will collect addresses, send out surveys, mail invitations, prepare agendas, and make any necessary phone calls.
Set-Up and Decorations
From decorating the location to setting up the welcoming table, someone has to get the site ready to go.
If your family is like mine, the food is everything. Whether it's ordering from a caterer, organizing a potluck dinner, or setting up a menu for the restaurant, someone has to manage this essential role.
Getting to know you games (icebreakers), kid's games, adult games, and friendly competitions of all sorts are a big part of the fun at these types of get togethers.
Ambitious families may put together a family tree for the event. This can be a lot of work but it's fun and everyone is interested. Photo albums from previous reunions are another popular option. This committee will also take photos at the reunion to preserve future memories.
Renting a park, or reserving a campsite, or filling a restaurant costs money. And then there is the food and decorations. And a ton of small items that can run into big money, or cause bad feelings, if not watched closely. Watching your pennies closely can be the key to a great event.
After a long, fun-filled day, who wants to clean up? Not you! Put together a committee to make sure the work gets done. You'd be surprised how many people will volunteer for this task; all you need to do is ask.
Now the big question of what location in San Francisco comes into play. But first, the biggest consideration is budget. Figure out how much you want to spend, how many people you'll have and where they are coming from and the decision gets a little easier. Don't forget the family demographics. If you have 20 kids under the age of 5 your plan will be different than if the kids are a little older. There are four basic types of Reunions with lots of different options.
This is fairly simple to host and relatively inexpensive. This is a great way to go if much of the family lives in the area and you want to get together once a year. All the families can take care of their own food or you can do pot luck. Consider where you will have the picnic in regards to where everyone is staying. You could rent our luxury Inner Sunset vacation home and be a few blocks away from your picnic site in Golden Gate Park. This will be one less thing to coordinate transportation for since everyone will be able to walk to and from the event.
You can have this at a nice restaurant or a hotel/resort. The staffs there will take care of most of the planning and these are pretty hassle free. Many families combine these first two options for a weekend event. You could have a picnic on Saturday with a brunch/dinner on Sunday. In this case why not rent our Potrero Hill home with its spacious living area and gorgeous kitchen it will be easy do all your picnic prep here.
The Special Occasion
Families that have spread out over a wide geographic area have a difficult time getting together every year. Usually, a special occasion will be the reason to gather (Aunt Mary's 90th birthday, Grandma and Grandpa's 50th anniversary, etc.) These are usually big events that require hotel reservations, planning for several meals, and activities covering a couple of days. Let your guests know well in advance when you are getting together, and start your planning early. Also consider getting away from expensive small hotel rooms. It will be more fun and more cost effective if you rent vacation homes for the family to stay in.