Besides the end-of-year holidays, a family meeting is often the best time to get together with the family for a weekend or a whole day. It is an opportunity to see or meet cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews… Although this moment means celebration and sharing, it also requires rigorous and well-planned organisation.
Do you want to organise a family meeting but don’t know where to start? These are the key elements you need consider.
1. What is an extended family meeting?
A family meeting can be just the immediate family, but it can also go beyond that, including extended family. You can bring together all people with the same surname (and their immediate families) or descendants of the same family, thus overcoming the close family circle. This moment can sometimes bring together more than a hundred people. Events for this type of extended family gathering are usually held in the summer in outdoor areas to enjoy a wide range of activities.
2. Set a date and place
Choosing a date that suits most people is important, considering their schedules and obligations, the distance they have to travel to get there, etc. You can easily organise a survey to determine which date suits most guests.
For the venue, you can choose an outdoor space such as a park or a beach, a private house or rent an entire venue, depending on the number of guests. Make sure you have where to shelter in case of bad weather, which is common even in summer!
3. Prepare your family’s guest list
List the people you want to invite to your family party.
You can invite only close family members or extend the invitation to all family members, from cousins to more distant family.
Ensure you have updated contact details for each person, so you can send them invitations when the time comes.
4. Draw up a budget
Even if it is enjoyable, a family meeting can be costly, depending on the number of guests.
Remember to draw up the budget for your event, considering the costs of food, drinks, activities, decoration, etc. Be sure to plan your budget carefully to avoid overspending. This will also allow you to know how much each person will cost and to agree on a maximum budget for your family meeting.
5. Plan the menu
Decide what food and drink you want to serve during your family gathering. You can opt for a full meal or simply an extensive buffet, which can provide more scope for interaction.
Be sure to include options for guests with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or gluten-free options. You can also use a caterer, local butcher or supermarket to help you prepare the food. For example, if you are having an outdoor family gathering, you could organise a giant barbecue.
6. Organise activities
Decide what activities you will organise during your family meeting. The aim is to prepare activities that everyone can enjoy, such as games, outdoor activities, a scavenger hunt, a treasure hunt, singing competitions, etc. Inform your family members in advance if they need to bring special equipment or clothing for the activities (swimming costume, towel, sports shoes, etc. ….).
7. Notify your family in good time
A family meeting requires careful organisation and needs to be prepared several months in advance.
Therefore, send the invitations well ahead so your family members can plan the event in their agendas. For example, you can send them an invitation by email so everyone can easily respond. Include all relevant information such as date, place, starting time, and cost per person…
8. Make your shopping list
In addition to organising meals, list the shopping you must do for your family meeting.
In particular, don’t forget the snacks and other meals (breakfast, afternoon snack, cocktail…). Ensure you order everything you need in time to avoid delays or oversights.
9. Don’t forget the children
Family gatherings involve children, so organise activities suitable for children, such as games for toddlers, arts and crafts, water fights, etc.
Ensure you also have food and drinks suitable for them, such as treats, sweet and savoury snacks, and refreshments (water, soft drinks, chocolate, etc.).
10. Liven up the party with music
Play music during your family gathering to liven it up, either for the main party or throughout the day during organised activities.
If your budget allows, you can hire a DJ or a band. In addition to the music, you can create a pleasant atmosphere and entertainment for all ages and all tastes.
11. Take souvenir photos!
Finally, as a family meeting is often an annual event, don’t forget to save memories and take photos! You can hire a professional photographer to take quality photos, so you don’t have to worry about this aspect of your family meeting.