Getting the generations of your family together will be worth the work. This week we’ll give you some tips for planning your Houston family extravaganza.
If you want all those busy folks on your guest list to show up, you have to plan as far ahead as possible. Setting the date a whole year in advance is optimal. When choosing a date, consider how many school-age children are invited, and work around their schedule.
Try to be as inclusive as possible. Ideally, there’s room for everybody. If not, avoid hurt feelings by sticking with a clear parameter, such as immediate family up to first cousins.
How long should your family reunion last?
Leave them wanting more. If most people live in town, one long day together may feel right. Many guests coming from out of town? A three-day weekend could be ideal. Make the reunion long enough so that everybody gets a chance to visit, but not so long that people get too tired. And remember, the longer the reunion, the more complicated and costly the itinerary.
This is your biggest decision. Does your family like to hang out in jeans or cocktail attire? What do they like to do? Since you’re probably dealing with a wide age range and diverse interests, avoid venues with niche appeal. Cost is also a huge factor. On the easy end of the affordability scale, consider renting a shelter or pavilion in Alexander Deussen Park. This 309-acre site on Lake Houston has a duck pond, jogging trails, boat ramp, fishing pond and three playgrounds to keep guests entertained. The 56-acre Oil Ranch in nearby Hockley is another affordable option with plenty of family entertainment. If your group has many small children, they’ll enjoy the Oil Ranch’s pony rides, petting zoo, and human-powered hamster wheels. Looking for something more upscale, with chandeliers, fountains and formal gardens? Consider an estate like Chateau Cocomar.
Many hotels also have space for family reunions, if you’d like to party where you’re staying. Whatever you do, be sure to reserve the venue and a block of rooms at an appropriate hotel as far in advance as possible.
If you’re planning a multi-day reunion, you’ll need to come up with some additional activities to keep folks occupied. Consider the talents or interests of your family. Maybe a round of golf or a group entry into a local 5K would be fun. Karaoke, a trip to a make your own pottery store, watching a ball game or going to a spa could also be enjoyable bonding activities.
Trying to coordinate a bunch of private vehicles – especially if out-of-towners aren’t familiar with Houston roads – can be a real downer in the midst of family reunion fun. Instead, let AFC help you out. We can pick your relatives up from the airport, and ferry them between activities. Let us focus on the driving, while you rekindle family connections and enjoy this special time together.