Sunday, July 14, 2019

Top Eight Tips for a Fabulous Family Reunion!

Our last Family Reunion was ten years ago in 2009.  Since then, kids have grown, some have gotten married, more kids have been born, and sadly, some relatives have passed on to the after life. As time ticks by, it becomes more and more important to reconnect! My family had a blast at our 2019 reunion! Here are my top eight tips for a fabulous Family Reunion!

The four remaining Saluta siblings!
1.  After you pick a date and a venue, reach out right away to those who have to travel so they can make their travel and lodging arrangements. After all, these are people who you probably don't see on a regular basis!

2. Choose a communication system to best deliver information.  For our family,it was Facebook (FB).  I would say 90% of our family is on it, so I just decided to create a Facebook group and post information and update documents there. I did print out about ten paper invitations for those families not on Facebook. I created a document in the FB group for people to sign up for the potluck and to head committees for the t-shirts, the games, the talent show, the set up and clean up, etc.!
I regret not adding a document for people to add their phone numbers and addresses so that everyone could keep in touch after the reunion, but like I said, most everyone is on FB! 
3. Incorporate pre and post reunion activities. I specifically chose the July 4th weekend date to help with minimizing time off needed from work and extend the week so that everyone could enjoy a holiday together. And it would be my summer vacation time!
Our reunion week activities included the following:
Wednesday: Welcome Dinner
Thursday (July 4th Holiday) Family Mass at Mater Dei Catholic Parish. It was also my paternal grandfather's birthday. This was a special way to celebrate the head of the family. We attended mass in the early evening and my cousins, Alex and Rhoda hosted dinner afterwards in their home.We watched fireworks from a spot in my cousin's neighborhood!
Family attending mass together!
Friday: Free Day! No formal activities planned!

Saturday: Day of the Reunion! Here was our program
Sunday:  Lunch hosted at cousins Ariel and Elma's house and a Farewell Dinner at our house.

Some pictures:
Celebratory Cake!
Lunch is served
Family tree history provided by cousin Alex and Rhoda
Third generation of Saluta's.
Talent show act!
One of the fun games!
4. Hire a photographer (and possibly a videographer) to capture all the moments.  We have a huge family so it was important for me to capture everyone in one shot.  Take a look!
2009 Reunion
2019 Reunion
Check out the cool video made by my niece, Jasmine, that captured the highlights. It was a whirlwind week but I think everyone enjoyed!

5. Get to know your out-of-towners and what they enjoy.  Our family from Texas stayed with us. Now that I know my cousin is into classic cars, I could've looked into a car show or something.  Our nephew is a gym rat, so luckily his cousins were able to accompany him to the local gym every day. Whatever it is, street food, musicals, museums, it would be nice to have them see what they love here in San Diego. After hearing my cousin tell some jokes about being Filipino (he is mestizo, so also half-Caucasian)  I introduced them to Jo Koy, via Netflix. By the sound of their laughter, it seems Jo Koy's Seattle show was a hit with them!  If I timed the reunion right, we could've planned attending one of his live concerts here in SD! 
PC: He's sooo funny! Josep!
6. Have a photo backdrop for this instagrammable world. I enjoyed making this paper flower one. After the reunion, ask everyone to drop their photos from their phones into one location online and make a photo book to preserve the great memories!
Paper flower backdrop
Cousin Junior perusing our 2009 Family Reunion Photo book!
7.  Tap into the talent literally! We had to have our singers in the family participate in the talent show (A snippet of James singing "Circle of Life")! Also, one of our nieces, Clarisse, has a graphics design background so she designed the logo, another two nieces took charge of the games (Jasmine and Jamie, both nurses), and another niece who is talented in dancing took charge of the talent show, Gelli.  Our cousin Mikey, who DJs professionally, provided his services for the reunion! For sure, an event like this takes a team!

8. My last tip, before the reunion ends, pass the torch on for the next one! I'm hoping my nieces take on the planning for the next one in 2024! We can't wait another ten years!

Have a tip to share, please comment below! I wish you a great family reunion!

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