Contrary to expectations, hosting family events is sometimes much trickier than planning for clients. I’ve outlined a few tried and tested tips below which should helpfully help you out next time you’re tasked with organising a family get together.
Think carefully about what kind of event you want to host: will it be a dinner, a single visit, a weekend trip? Consider your family’s schedules, availabilities and where they live before setting it in stone. If you’re hosting an evening event or dinner, don’t forget to determine an end-time: it’s essential to have a clear boundary with family as it’s easy to be taken for granted sometimes. When deciding what kind of event you want to host, also consider the weather and what seasonal activities could work well for your family: maybe sledging and a pub lunch in winter or a picnic in the park in summer. You can also host smaller groups at home, for a film and cheese night for example, or meet in a larger venue such as a restaurant (privatising a room there is always a good plan).
Once you’ve established the main pointers of your family event, communicate date options to the participants and give them an RSVP deadline. Be tough: you don’t want the planning of your gathering to be affected by a few stragglers. Once you have a date set, book the venue (if needed) and think about the way you want your event to go: will there be a central activity? If so, is it appropriate for all ages attending? It might seem impossible to keep everyone happy, all the time, and truth be told: it is a difficult feat. But if you incorporate enough elements to keep people entertained, you’ll be fine, so have an activity for the younger children, but make sure to have plenty of seating for the adults. At the end of the day, you’re there to spend time with one another and talk!
One element that is critical is food and drink. People bond over food, so make sure to have plenty available. With a larger gathering, it’s easier to offer finger food, charcuterie and cheeses, but for a smaller party (under 8-10 people), turn cooking into a fun activity where everyone can contribute.
Finally, the last thing I would advise for the organisation is not to let yourself get steamrollered by any members of your family. Fix rules on who can do what, if you would like them to be included, but for a smooth-running event, particularly a large one, I recommend no more than three people heading up the planning.
If you need any assistance planning a family event, from a reunion lunch to a surprise birthday party, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, we’d love to help!