How to Plan a Family Reunion

How to Plan a Family Reunion
(Or Get Out of Planning One)
by Dorothy Rosby

My family has me plan our annual sibling reunion because I’m the most organized one in the bunch. Or maybe it’s because I live in such a beautiful place. Or maybe it’s because I can’t say no.

Whatever the reason, it’s up to me. I have eight living siblings, and when you throw in spouses and some kids and grandkids, our family gatherings can be a little like a zoo with the lions loose—a lot of running around and screaming going on.

But after five years of planning the event, I consider myself an expert. I don’t know how your reunion will turn out if you use the tips below, but I can guarantee you’ll be asked to organize it again next year. At least it works for me.

Schedule carefully for maximum attendance and convenience. Don’t have your reunion during the school year. If you live in the Black Hills, avoid having it during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And never, ever have a family reunion during an election year.

Keep in mind the reunion planner’s mantra, which incidentally, is the same as the real estate agent’s mantra: Location, location, location. If some of your relatives won’t come for the family, they may come for the local attractions.

Remember, one of the most crucial parts of any family gathering is the food. That’s why I don’t cook it. For the past three years, we’ve gone to locations where someone else does that for us. Fortunately, they also do the clean-up, which is helpful because my siblings and I have a long history of fighting over whose turn it is to do the dishes.

Remember, this is a perfect time for a family photo. But be prepared for everyone to complain while you try to line them up to take one. That includes all those family members who’ve been taking selfies all day. Be firm though, because the minute the photo is taken, they’ll all want you to send it to them.

And finally, pick the right family. I’m joking; it’s probably too late for that. But if you can’t pick your family, you can at least pick the reunion that suits your family. Mine prefers a simple gathering without a lot of planned activities. If I forced them to wear matching t-shirts and play lawn games all weekend, they might pick a new organizer. Hey, wait. . .


Dorothy Rosby must be an expert at planning family gatherings, otherwise why would she be asked to plan it every year?

Lasting Memories

Black Hills Imaging Center


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