It can be difficult these days to get everyone together. Busy lives take over and we can go far too long without seeing our extended family, but it’s so important to keep these connections alive. So why not get together and throw the party of a lifetime. You don’t have to wait until there is a birthday or special occasion. Celebrate just being family, and if there are a few occasions thrown in, the more the merrier.
If you have been tasked with the mammoth job of organising this soiree, we are here to help with some top tips and things to remember along the way.
Assemble a Team
There are always some people in the family that seem to be natural organisers. Use this to your advantage and team up. You can then plan and delegate tasks to ensure nothing gets missed. Play to the strengths of each person. Is one great with numbers? Get them to do all the maths, from the budget to guest numbers. Is anyone brilliant at negotiating? Get them to sort out the venue! Planning a big event can be very stressful and if that is all on one person, it will soon become a chore instead of something exciting. Sharing the responsibility ensures everyone gets to have fun with the planning.
Lists are great to keep you on track and will help you remember everything. You will probably focus on the big things such as venue, food and entertainment. But sometimes there are lots of miscellaneous things to sort out and remember. Use the lists to remind you of the bits that often get missed but need to be organised, for example, book dog sitting, bring matches for the candles, etc. When arranging a big reunion or party like this, it can also be easy to forget the simple things that make it an occasion. Keep a list of the gifts you need to buy and remember the cards too. Card Gallery offers everything from a godson card to anniversary and birthday cards online, so you can find the right option quickly and tick that off your list before the party.
Pick a Theme
One fun thing about organising a party is picking a theme. Discuss what interests the family and pick a theme that will suit everyone. Make it one to remember. You can then revolve the decorations, dress code and even the music around your chosen theme. It could be a masquerade ball or a 70’s themed disco party. Whatever it is, people are most likely to remember it if the theme is fun and unique. A great theme will create excitement and anticipation for the event. People will love getting together at the party to compare costumes and have their photos taken.
Parties aren’t free and so it’s best to establish a budget from the beginning. Your budget will inform all your choices going forward from what food and drink you’ll serve to theme and venue. Work it out with your planning team and remember to circulate it with the family. You can make it as economical as you like or maybe you want to go all out, either way once you have figured out the budget be sure to stick to it. A great way to share the cost as a family is to sell tickets. Divide the budget between the number of guests and then each one can purchase a ticket for that price. It shares the cost amongst everyone in a fun and fair way.
Choose a Location and Venue
When planning a large family party or reunion you may run into a bit of a logistical nightmare. While some of you may not live far from each other, you may have extended family from all over the country. For this reason, it can be hard to decide on a location that works for everyone. Do a family poll with some suggestions to see what people are most happy with. Include budget-friendly hotel options or look for a venue that also offers accommodation for those who need a place to stay. Consider your theme when choosing a venue. A modern orangery wouldn’t be suitable for a 50s rock and roll dance but may suit an upscale cocktail party. Always keep your theme and budget in mind and always negotiate prices and packages where possible.
Food and Drinks
Most parties revolve around the food and drink you offer. Do you want to serve a buffet? If so, will it be a cold finger food buffet or hot food? Or are canapes more your thing? Your theme may influence your choice here. Canapes and cocktails for an upscale black-tie party would work well or a buffet for a low-key barn dance would be excellent. Will it be catered, or will you provide the food yourself? If you have some excellent cooks in the family, why not have a potluck buffet everyone can bring something that suits the theme. For drinks, check if your venue has a bar or whether you will need to provide the drinks yourselves. Remember to factor in dinnerware too.
Entertainment and Music
Hopefully, your party will be a wonderful time for everyone to catch up and chat with each other. However, there’s nothing better than having a little bit of music or entertainment to take the occasion to the next level. Hire a DJ or a band so everyone can have a dance. Do you have any great singers in the family? How about a karaoke contest to get everyone smiling? Tailor your music and entertainment to your theme. A swing band would be great at a 50s dance party. Entertainment doesn’t have to stop at music. Maybe your family would love a magician, or you could hire a comedian for lots of fun and laughter. You might even have some talent in your family. Get everyone involved.
The most important thing about this party is the chance to make memories with your family. This is especially true if people are travelling far and wide to attend. Make sure to record the event in a special way. Hire a photographer or enlist people in the family to take lots of pictures that can be shared after. A video of the event would be a great keepsake and doesn’t have to break the budget, ask people to film it on their phones and then get a tech-savvy member of the family to edit it all together into one great video to watch back again and again. A guest book is terrific for personal notes and anecdotes that can be shared with the family after.
The trick for any family party is to remember that when it gets to party night relax, enjoy, and spend quality time with those that you love. When you look around and see everyone having a great time, you’ll know all your hard work has paid off.
Image Credits: Nicole Michalou
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