Getting Started on a Family Reunion

Rekindle old family ties and start some fresh ones as you plan for a great American tradition: a family reunion.
Gathering the Generations

When was the last time you saw Aunt Vanessa? Did Cousin Steven ever go back and finish law school? And how often have you wished the whole family could finally see the twins? It's been too long -- it's time for a family reunion.

There's nothing like getting the whole clan together to rekindle family ties. It's a special opportunity to catch up on everyone's life, marvel at the children, share fond memories -- and simply enjoy your family's company.

For people intrigued by their origins and the mystery of the past, there's also no better reason than a reunion to explore your family history. You can do so by creating a family tree; browsing through old photographs, letters, and other memorabilia; or just sitting down and asking lots of questions. Doing so is likely to stir warm feelings. And, in the end, the ties that bind you together may very well be strengthened.

Of course, no two families are the same. The way you reunite, then, will be a unique reflection of the needs and desires of your particular clan. Still, whether your family's reunion turns out to be a casual gathering of a few people, or a carefully orchestrated weekend for a large throng, you will need to plan and organize well beforehand.

This guide outlines all the steps required to create a joyful and memorable reunion. We have gathered the best advice of hundreds of experienced reunion planners, and here you'll find advice ranging from how to root out relatives you never even knew you had (both living and from generations past), to all the ways there are to house, feed, and entertain them. In short, here is how to create a celebration of, by, and for the family.

Naturally, there's effort involved. But it truly is a labor of love, and the rewards are enormous. Just think how delightful it is to receive an unexpected call from a relative you haven't heard from in ages. Now, multiply that by the pleasure of spending several hours, a day, or even a week with old -- and new -- relations; it's easy to see why the family reunion is a cherished American tradition, one that is experiencing a renaissance. On with the celebration!

Continued on page 2:  Notify the Family