Saturday, November 22, 2008

Family Reunion Ideas on a Budget

Have you ever been responsible for organizing the family reunion. If you have, I am sure that you found out pretty quickly that these can be expensive endeavors. Here are some tips to help keep costs down. 

We just had my wife's family reunion last month. This is a rotating event where one family has the responsibility each year to coordinate it and then it moves to another family for the next year. Right before the family reunions my wife and I usually cram a years worth of genealogy research into a few weeks. Two years ago I printed family books to pass out (I paid $10 for three 100 page books - had store discounts for printing). Last year we scanned all of the family photo albums and passed out cd's with the pictures to everyone (cost of cd's 5¢ each). This year my wife compiled a family tree that, when printed, stretched over 30 feet long (cost for printing $0 - we know a local blue printing company). Each year we bring along our laptop computer and set it up for the family to see their genealogy in PAF and so they can edit it with new information. This helps us keep up on the many changes that have occurred over the year. 

Next year it is our turn to host the reunion so what do we have planned? We plan on taking a sampling of our famous and not so famous ancestors, print their pictures on our home printers, place them in frames and display them on the tables at the reunion. To save money, search for frames during sales at home craft stores such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Garden Ridge. Sometimes you can find the frames for under $2 each during these sales. Printing 8x10 photos at home could cost less than $1 per page depending on the printer you have. At the end of the reunion the family can take some of these with them to use in their own home.

Where will you have your reunion? There are many places that can be selected to have reunions. We usually try to keep the events affordable and have a limit of about $2,000 each year. Our reunions are attended by 50-75 people so that is about $30 per person. That includes the facility rental and food. Past reunions have been at Fraternal Order of Police facilities, subdivision club houses and a local zoo. Generally the use of your local club house is fairly cheap and may already be included in your home owners dues. The rental of the zoo facilities may be more expensive. I like to have events at local parks. We have a nice city park in our area. This park has a community center with kitchen, swimming pool, play ground, 9-hole golf course, soccer fields, tennis courts, fishing pier, boat dock and several miles of trails. How much do you think this would cost? Well, it is $50 for clean-up and $25 per hour. There is a minimum of 3 hours rental so that is $125. We will probably go for 6 hours for a total of $200 with all of the activities included (except greens fees for the golfers). Now all we have to do is work on the southern fried catering or maybe it will be pot-luck.

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