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Planning a Family Reunion Checklist

12 Months prior

(Make these decisions before leaving your reunion) Planning in advance will increase the odds that more people will be able to attend the reunion, which translates into more fun for everyone. By booking early, you can most likely secure better rates and/or reserve your preferred hotel or retreat site, flights and other travel arrangements. Most campgrounds and parks can be booked a year in advance.

  • Set date
    • The best of all situations is to hold your family reunion at the same time every year. Choose a holiday such as Memorial Day or Labor Day or a weekend such as the third weekend in August etc. Finally, stick to your decision. Changing dates mid-stream can create a huge amount of additional work.

  • Choose location
    • Aim for a family reunion location that is most accessible and affordable to the majority of people you want to attend. If family members are located in one area, then select a reunion location that’s nearby. If everyone is scattered, then choose a central location to help cut down on travel expenses. Most locations will need to be reserved a year in advance, campgrounds, hotels and conference centers, cruises, condos, resorts and parks etc.
    • If possible arrange an on site inspection of your family reunion site. You will be able to check out your reunion site amenities and recognize challenges you may need to plan around. At a campground or park, check for fire pits, covered bowery or picnic tables and benches. If your site is a hotel or condo you will be able to assess for yourself banquet facilities, room amenities, meeting room sizes and cleanliness of the location.
    • Contact local hotels and reserve blocks of rooms for out of town visitors

  • Choose a reunion theme
    • Creating a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend. It also makes things more fun when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion. Family history themes are especially popular, as are family reunions which celebrate a very special family member’s birthday or anniversary, or the family’s cultural heritage.
  • Compile a list of family members and update mailing and email lists
    • A clipboard with a list of family names can be passed around during the family reunion. Family members can make corrections and add new emails and address to the list. Be sure and assign a family member to be in charge of this list.

9 months Prior

  • Make final reservations–remember that some family members will have to cancel, and others may decide to show up at the last minute.
  • Schedule events and activities that require advance registration or booking
  • Make contact with family members by email to keep them up to date on family reunion plans. Encourage email contacts to help spread the word.

6 Months Prior

  • Have planning meeting either on phone or in person with committee chairmen/ make assignments
    • Send “save the date” cards or emails- include cost per person or family and what is included in the ticket price, if you are charging admission fees. Inform of any fundraising activities you will be having- such as a family auctions so that family members can be preparing items for donation.
    • Confirm reservations
    • Make final decisions

3 Months Prior

  • Make special assignments such as activities and games , so volunteers have time to prepare and purchase supplies for their assignment
  • Order souvenirs, T-shirts etc.

2 Months Prior

  • Send detailed schedule and assignments
    • Directions on how to get to the family reunion site.
    • Date, time, and location of the reunion.
    • Remind family members to bring their fund raising donations
    • Remind family members of assignments
  • Gave a confirmation call to caters, photographers etc.
  • Start purchasing non-perishable items: dry goods, decorations, supplies, etc. Watch for sales to get the best prices.

1 Month Prior

  • Review final details with family reunion committee
  • Confirm with relatives who are bringing food or other supplies.
  • Contact restaurants or caterers with a final guest count if necessary.
  • Order any products or supplies that must be delivered to assure timely delivery.

Week Before

  • Get chairs, tables, grills and other items
  • Buy last-minute decorations and supplies and perishable items
  • Make final preparations such as signs and welcome banners.

Day Of Family Reunion

  • Set up and decorate family reunion site
  • Post flyers with family reunion schedule for family to reference
  • Welcome family members as they arrive at your family reunion

Click here to download a PDF version of the family reunion checklist

3 Keys to a Successful Family Reunion

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Planning a family reunion can be a nightmare. But the good news is that you are not alone, we can do this together. I don?t know your specific situation but I can tell you that if you will follow these 3 important keys you will be on your way to having a successful family reunion. So let?s get to work- first key is…

Choose a permanent reunion date

This is the most important aspect of reunion planning- it’s not much of a reunion if no one can attend.

When we began planning the “Stewart” family reunion we were only working around about 20 people and it was fairly easy to find a date that was good for everyone, but now that we are more than 100 family members strong we would never be able to find a date that met everyone?s needs. Lucky for us, about 20 years ago we set Labor Day weekend as the permanent date for our family reunion.

We have found that holding the reunion at the same time every year helps family members plan their busy lives around that weekend. They always know when the Stewart reunion will be and although the location may change the date never does. Unbelievable but true- we usually have all but about 3 family members attend our reunion each year.

If you can?t choose a permanent date, plan your next reunion date before you end the reunion you are currently attending. Planning in advance will increase the odds that more people will be able to attend the reunion, which translates into more fun for everyone. If you book early, you can most likely get better rates and/or reserve your preferred hotel or retreat site, flights and other travel arrangements. Most campgrounds and parks can be booked a year in advance.

Last of all, stick to your decision. Changing dates in the middle of planning can create a huge amount of anxiety and additional work.

Delegate!

People always wonder why we have such good attendance at our reunions and I tell them, “Because everyone has a job!” There is always someway that everyone can contribute to your reunion no matter what their age or their ability. You can assign a couple of pre-teen girls to do a story time or games for the younger children at your reunion, ask a 5 year old to bring a can of olives or assign someone that loves music to lead a sing- a- long.

It’s impossible to organize a reunion by yourself, I know, because I„ve tried it. Not only that, but it is good to have the input of different family members’ points of views. Family members that have a responsibility feel greater ownership in the reunion.

Delegate tasks according to those with special talents, skills and connections. Our Uncle Ben owns a restaurant whose specialty is turkey steaks and quite often we have turkey steaks at our reunions or family parties. We have great Dutch oven cooks in our family and of course, we give them the opportunity to practice their skills. Use the resources that you have.

There are certain jobs at our reunions that have become tradition- for instance cousin R.D. and Uncle Richard always make the homemade root beer, Aunt Lynn is always in charge of Bunko and Uncle Steven always makes his Dutch oven potatoes.

So how do you put all these people and their great ideas together? Let me tell you how we do it. There are six original children in the Stewart family; we call them the “Big 6”. We schedule a planning meeting and ask that there be a representative from each Big 6 family at the meeting. These people become your liaison from each branch of the family.

At the meeting we discuss our plans and make assignments, that way every family has a representative and if they have concerns they can be addressed at that meeting and each families? fun ideas can be implemented. We ask for volunteers to be in charge of each major aspect of the reunion – food, family history, invitations, photography, games and activities, finances and facilities. The chairman of the committee, that?s me, takes the ideas and suggestions home and makes a master plan or schedule which is emailed to the committee members for their approval.

A reunion committee is essential to planning a smooth, successful family reunion. Be sure your chairman (if you?re reading this than the chairman is probably YOU) is creative, energetic and willing to put in the time and effort required to organize a reunion.

Planning a family reunion is a too big a job for one person, so make a checklist, get some help, put your entire family to work and let everyone share in the satisfaction of a job well done!

Select a Theme!

A theme gives your family get-together an added twist that can build excitement. Choosing a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend your reunion. Who wouldn?t want to attend a “Caveman” reunion? A theme also makes it more fun to plan when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion.

If you have a wedding anniversary or a significant birthday coming up in your family you could choose to celebrate around those special events. If your grandparents were married in the 50?s, plan a fifties reunion complete with poodle skirts and sodas. If Aunt Addie will be turning 70, celebrate with her by having a seventies party- make tie-dyed shirts and decorate with peace and flower power signs.

Just because it is a family reunion doesn?t mean the theme has to be centered on the family itself. Plenty of other party themes are perfect for a reunion. Plan a western, caveman, boot camp or other similar theme.

A few years ago my sister-in-law suggested that we have a caveman reunion and I was pretty nervous about it- caveman? How do we do a caveman reunion? But we all shared ideas at our planning meeting and guess what- our caveman reunion turned out to be one of our best family reunions ever.

Whatever theme you choose, design your decorations, food, activities and games around that theme. Your caveman theme might feature Brontosaurus burgers and a dinosaur egg hunt or a pirate theme might include Barbecued Parrot and a treasure hunt.

Planning a family reunion requires serious effort and thoughtful strategic planning but if will follow these 3 important keys you will be well on your way to a memorable and successful family reunion. And who knows- maybe they?ll want you to be in charge next year too.

Aunt MO

Click here to download a PDF version of the 3 Keys to a Successful Family Reunion

How Much Do I Need to Feed 100?

Feeding 100 or more family or friends?  Here’s what you’ll need.

Basic guidelines-adjust as needed

Feeding 100:

Applesauce
2 gallons

Baked beans
5 gallons

Bread
10 loaves

Butter
3 pounds

Cakes
8-10

Chicken
40 pounds

Cold Meats
25 lbs. 4 oz per serving

Cheese Slices
20 lbs. 3 oz per serving

Casseroles or equivalent
10-12 – 9×13

Coffee (for 100 cups)
1 to 1½ pounds

Ham
40 pounds

Hamburger
30 pounds

Hot Dogs
25 pounds

Ice Cream
4 gallons

Jello (3 1/2 oz packets)
17 packages

Milk
6 Gallons

Pancake mix
13 lbs. to serve 100

Pies
18

Potatoes
35 pounds

Salad dressing
3 quarts

Soup
5 gallons

Potato Salad
12 quarts

Potato chips
6 lb.

String beans
3 gallons

Turkey
70 pounds

Tortilla chips
8 lb..

Vegetable salad
20 qt.

A wonderful website that will help you convert your recipes is

http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/Recipes/scale/recipeconversions.php

Just enter your ingredients and the amount of people you want to serve. It makes adapting old family favorites much easier.

Meatball Hoagies

400 small, frozen meatballs
100 sub sandwich rolls
3 C. olive oil
9 large onions, peeled and sliced thin
3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped, optional
3 lb. mushrooms, sliced, optional
7 jars (each about 32 oz.) chunky-style spaghetti sauce
3 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the meatballs according to pack age directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven. Sauté green peppers, onions, mushrooms until just tender. In a separate pan, heat spaghetti sauce.

Put 4 meatballs in each roll, then drizzle with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 100 sandwiches.

Ham Salad Sandwiches

4 lb. Fully cooked ham or ring bologna, coarsely ground
3 C. Chopped sweet pickles
2 C. Mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 jar (2 oz.) Diced pimentos, drained
100 slices Bread
Lettuce leaves, optional

Combine ham, pickles, mayonnaise and pimentos; mix well. Spoon 1/4 cup onto 50 slices of bread; top with lettuce if desired and remaining bread.

Yield: 50 servings. Double for 100.

Wagon Wheel Spaghetti

1 qt. onions, diced or 1/4 cup dried onions
9 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 gal plus 2 quarts canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried oregano leaf
2 tsp. dried thyme leaf
2 tbsp. dried basil leaf
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. granulated garlic
5 1/4 lbs. wagon wheel pasta
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Sauté onions and turkey until no signs of pink remain. Drain fat and return to heat.

Add diced tomatoes, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, pepper and garlic to turkey mixture and simmer, covered, for one hour over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook pasta in boiling water until tender-firm, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Add drained, cooked pasta and parmesan to turkey mixture and blend. Heat to 165°F. Portion using a No. 6 scoop, (2/3 cup).

Yield: 100 servings

Lemonade Salad or Dessert

20 pkg. (3 ounces each) lemon gelatin
24 c. boiling water
4 cans (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate
4 cartons (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed.

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in lemonade until dissolved. Chill until partially set. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into 4 13-in. x 9-in. pan (2) Chill until firm.

Serves 100

Macaroni Salad for 100

6 lb. fully cooked ham, cubed
6 lb. macaroni, cooked & drained and rinsed under cold water and drained
3 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
2 bags, frozen peas, thawed, 20 ounces each
2 bunches celery, chopped (12 cups)
2 lg. onions, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
2 cans pitted sliced ripe olives, drained

Dressing

2 qt. mayonnaise
1 bottle western or french salad dressing
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup light cream
1 1/2 tsp. onion salt
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Combine first 7 ingredients. Combine all dressing ingredients; pour over the ham mixture and toss well to coat. Refrigerate.

Potato Salad for 100

30 lbs. potatoes
4 c. chopped onions
7 1/2 c. chopped celery
30 hard boiled eggs

Dressing:

6 tbsp. salt or to taste
2 tbsp. pepper
2 qts. mayonnaise
2 qts. Miracle Whip

Cook potatoes until tender. Cool. Peel and cut up. Add onions, celery, and eggs. Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into potato mixture.

Refrigerate overnight to let flavors blend.

Coleslaw for 100

6 heads of cabbage
5 cups shredded carrots
1 head purple cabbage – chopped

Shred cabbage and carrots and store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Add purple cabbage when you add the dressing.

Dressing:

1 gallon mayonnaise
2 packages ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup vinegar
Sugar and salt to taste

Mix together, put on cabbage just before serving.

If dressing is too thick add just a little milk.

You can also add green peppers finely chopped if you like.

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

4-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature

9 packages devils food cake mix
6-3/4 cups creamy peanut butter, warm
2-1/4 lbs. large marshmallows, quartered

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and dry cake mixes in a bowl until crumbly. Reserve 7 lbs. of mixture. Pat remaining crumb mixture into 9 ungreased 9×13 inch pans or equivalent. Combine peanut butter and marshmallows in a bowl. Spread evenly over crumb mixture in the pans.

(If space and bowls are a problem, you can mix each cake mix separately)

Crumble reserved cake mixture over top and bake 20 minutes.

Let cool before cutting into bars.

A Night in Bethlehem Party from Hatchpatch

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If you’re planning your family Christmas party or perhaps a party for your church I found a great idea at hatchpatch.com.  I was so impressed with Hatchpatch that I just had to share. “Night in Bethlehem” is actually a party we did at our church about ten years ago but the folks at Hatchpatch have put together a party plan complete with invitation, menu and pictures.  Their plans will make your job  a lot of easier.

A Night in Bethlehem is a Christmas experience.  As a participant you come dressed in time period costumes and enter a re-creation of what the city of Bethlehem may have been like.  You pay taxes, interact with merchants and sample simple foods.  This party a wonderful way to feel the true reason for Christmas.

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If you’re looking for other ways to share the Christmas spirit consider familyreunionhelper’s  Twelve Days of Christmas Nativity.  Just purchase an 11 or 12 piece nativity and deliver one piece each night to your lucky secret friends.  Complete instructions as well as a printable for each day can be found at 12 Days Printable.

Four of Our Favorite Team Building Activities

There’s nothing like some good team building activities to get your family, friends or youth group working together and learning to depend on each other.  Here’s a few of our favorites.

Helium Stick

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Helium Stick is a team building game that will get your whole group laughing.

You play Helium Stick by lining up in two rows which face each other.  Give them the Helium Stick- a long, thin, lightweight rod such as PVC pipe.

Ask the players to point their index fingers and hold their arms out. Lay the Helium Stick down on their fingers. Get the group to adjust their finger heights until the Helium Stick is horizontal and everyone’s index fingers are touching the stick. The challenge is to lower the Helium Stick to the ground.

NOTE: Each person’s fingers must be in touching the Helium Stick at all times. Pinching or grabbing the pole in not allowed – it must rest on top of fingers. Everyone’s fingers MUST be touching the Helium Stick!

It sounds easy but the stick seems to float to the top until the group works diligently to lower it to the ground. The trick is that the collective upwards pressure created by everyone’s fingers tends to be greater than the weight of the stick. As a result, the more a group tries, the more the stick tends to ‘float’ upwards.

I like this team building activity because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or advance preparation. Hope it’s fun for your family.

Shark Island

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Object: The entire group of 12- 20 people must board a 2-foot-square
Platform without anyone touching the ground around it.

Rules:
Everyone must remain on the platform for at least 10 seconds.
Everyone must have both feet off the ground.
Don’t put people more than two high.

Outcome:
Talk with the participants about teamwork, leadership and problem
solving skills. Emphasize that when someone feels that they have a
problem that is impossible to solve, that we can work together as a
family to help them find a solution.  The most difficult part of this team building activity is getting the platform.  If you are not able to get a platform you can tape your square on the floor and use a piece of carpet.  It’s not quite as "thrilling" as a raised platform but can still be  learning experience for your group.

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The Couch Game

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To play this game you need equal numbers of guys and girls, and form a team of each. You can ask girls to join the guys team if required and vice versa. You will also need a couch, which can be a real couch (which would replace four seats) or four adjacent seats or lawn chairs.

Write all of the players’ names onto pieces of paper and give one slip to each players. You become whoever your piece of paper says you are – don’t tell anyone whose name you have.

Everyone sits in a circle, alternate guy, girl, with four people on the couch and the rest on chairs. Have one extra, empty chair.

The object of the game is to get all your gender onto the couch. The person who is sitting with the empty chair to their left calls out a name, trying to get the opposite gender off the couch. The person with that piece of paper must stand up and move to the empty chair. They then swap their piece of paper with the caller. The next person to call is the one with now empty space to their left.

For example, say that Megan calls out "Jack". Grandpa has the name "Jack" on his paper so he moves to the empty chair and exchanges papers with Megan. So Megan now becomes "Jack". The person who was next to Grandpa now has an empty space on the left and is the next caller.

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This goes on until one team has 4 of their own players on the couch.

This game starts off slowly and the games don’t last long but as the players catch on they will really start paying attention and memorizing the names people are exchanging.

Human Ladder

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Object: The group lines up in two rows with each row facing the other. Each pair of persons (one from each row) facing each other will hold a dowel. (One 3′ x 1½’ dowel per person or a 3’ x 2×2 stick.) The object is to have one person standing at the end who will crawl across the horizontal ladder formed by the dowels. Caution: Make sure the dowels you have will support your group member’s weight! A volunteer starts at one end of the human ladder and climbs (horizontally) along the rungs of the ladder. After the climber passes over a rung of the ladder, team members "leap frog" to the front of the ladder, allowing the climber to continue climbing indefinitely. 

Rules:
The climber must touch every rung of the ladder.
The group can hold the dowels in any manner desired— high, low, or forming a turn.
Do not hold the rungs above shoulder height.

Pumpkin Tree

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Everything in October doesn’t have to be scary or frightening- find a way to celebrate the fall season by creating a pumpkin tree.  Our grandchildren were so excited to see pumpkins growing on the tree in our front yard when they came to visit this weekend. 

Grandpa grew so many pumpkins this year that even after arranging them around flower pots and bushes and lining them down the sidewalk there were still lots of pumpkins just begging to be part of the the yard décor, so Grandpa hooked pumpkin stems over the branches of our tree and now we have a “pumpkin tree”. 

Several people have stopped to ask how we made the tree- no, we tell them, we did not use wire to fasten them to the tree, no, we did not use hot glue.  We merely hooked the pumpkin’s own stems over small branches or balanced pumpkins on larger branches.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking a nap under the tree though, for a stiff breeze might just blow a pumpkin out of the tree and onto your head.

Squirmy Halloween Ideas & Breakfast With Witches

However. if you’re looking for a way to be scary during this Halloween season check out Aunt Mo’s “Squirmy” ideas at

CAULDRON

Squirmy Halloween Ideas

or the fun “Breakfast with Witches” party at

ROCKIN WITCH

Breakfast With Witches

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..and Happy Fall to You!

P.S. Can you find the “scary” black dog in the above picture

This is what LOVE looks like…

Organizing Family Photos for Great-Grandparents

I can’t even keep track of my 16 nieces and nephews’ kids- what would I do if I had 40 grandchildren and 52, and counting, GREAT- grand children whose names I wanted to remember.  Well, I guess I’d do what Elgie and Ruth Hale have done- a family photo wall. 

Family Photo Wall

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Most grandparents would like to keep in close contact with the grandchildren, remember birthdays and other holidays and attending special events in their grandchild’s life.  When grandparents turn into GREAT- grandparents, the challenge of knowing the great-grands becomes a bit more challenging.

The Hale’s met this challenge by dedicating one wall in their home to their  grandchildren and great-grands whose photos are displayed in 4×6 frames on their special family wall.  They are listed from oldest to youngest with each name displayed at the bottom of the frame.

Family members know what size of picture fits in the frames and can send updated school pictures or candid shots to be placed in their own special frame.

Grandma’s Brag Books

Of course, if you don’t want to devote a whole wall to your family photos you could keep them in a three ring binder or smaller photo “brag” book and refer back to it before family gatherings and special occasions.  A book such as this would be a wonderful gift for Great Grandma and a fun project for a grand daughter.

Cortina Leather Mini Brag Book Photo Wallet, Price/piece

Family Reunion Photos

Next time your family gets together for a family reunion or party take a family photo.  Take your cue from school class photos and label the photo with family member’s names for easy reference.

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However you choose to do it- helping Great-Grandma and Grandpa stay in touch with their great grandchildren can help connect the child to their roots and enhances the grandparents’ legacy.

The only thing I would change about the Hales family photo wall would be to add the following quote- because at the Hale home this really is what LOVE looks like.

Family Vinyl Words & Wall Quotes #64

Scene Setters for Parties and Family Reunions

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How do you turn a forest campground into a ship on a tropical cruise? Scene setters!  I love scene setters- they are inexpensive (each piece is under $20.00 and the add ons are usually about $5.00) and they instantly make your reunion or party theme come alive!

For our “Cruisin’” family reunion we used a cruise ship scene setter to give the allusion of  being in the ocean on a luxury cruise ship.  Scene setters are usually used in a room and applied with some sort of “Sticky Tack” or tape.  Taking scene setters outside is where the real challenge is!

Each roll is usually 30 feet long and 4 feet high and because we were camping for our reunion we had to work around trees, rocks and other obstacles.  Uncle Richard, who works in construction, came to the rescue and very quickly built a background for my scene setter to go on.  Here’s how we did it-

Making Room Scene Setters Work Without a Room

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I didn’t care if the scene setter was 30 feet long or not- I believe ours ended up being 24 feet long.  Uncle Richard used plywood (the quality didn’t matter) and 2×4’s to brace it and hold it up.

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Once the background was up we used spray adhesive to attach the scene setter.  The trick to using spray adhesive is to spray both the plywood AND the scene setter.  It took three of us to keep smooth and straight but it wasn’t hard and it didn’t take long.

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There will be a few creases but it didn’t bother us at all. 

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After putting up the two large sheets of our scene setter we cut out the individual “add on” decorations.  Use your own wall adhesive for hanging or we found that if you get the add on a little wet it will just smooth on and although not permanent, adhered to our scene for the three days of our reunion.  I didn’t use all of the add ons provided- just our favorites.

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The pictures below show how a scene setter works.  This is how the makers of scene setters visualize the finished product.

Cruise Scene Setter

Tropical Cruise Ship Scene Setter

This is the top scene setter.

Ocean and Sky Backdrop

This is the bottom of the scene setter.  Each piece is 4 feet tall by 30 feet long.

Cruise Ship Deck BackdropCruise Ship Deck Backdrop

This is the “add on” we used.  We had to cut out each piece before we applied it to our scene.

Jungle Scene Setter

Other scenes are available like this fun jungle theme.  It is made up a jungle “trees” roll AND a jungle “foliage” roll.

Then you add decorations and animals.

Sports Stadium Scene Setter

I love this sports stadium scene setter.  Imagine holding a sports themed reunion or party and putting this along the walls of your gym or party room.

Sports Stadium Insta Theme

Pirate Design a Room

Design-A-Room Pirate Pack - Party Decorations & Backdrops & Scene Setters

I’ve used scene setters before- just last Christmas I used a brick like scene setter to take Santa pictures with the kids.  We held our party in the church gym and the brick background sure looked nicer than the boring white wall that we would’ve used.

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If you don’t do a 30 foot long scene and a have some pieces of your scene setter left over use on your serving table as a table cloth.

You can purchase all of the items I’ve shown you in the Family Reunion Helper store.  You’ll need some help and good adhesive to put it up but the way it transforms your room or your OUTSIDE party is almost magical.

Rainy Family Reunion?

Three Day Family Reunion
Two days of severe thunderstorms-
Are you kidding me!!!!

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Be Prepared for Bad Weather

The Stewart family has held their family reunion on Labor Day weekend for almost 30 years and in all those years we have only had rain three times- we’re either “lucky” or “blessed”.  When I do family reunion presentations I talk about the “Three Keys to a Successful Family Reunion” but after our last reunion I think I will add a fourth key- be prepared for bad weather!

The challenge was not keeping dry in our tents but keeping dry as we did our many fun activities and how to keep 80 people out of the rain while doing them. 

I would always prefer to have our family reunion in sunny weather but every outdoor reunion or party should have an alternative plan, in case the weather becomes uncooperative. It isn’t always reasonable to cancel the reunion or reschedule, instead you need to have a “plan B”.

Surviving a Family Reunion in Bad Weather

Plan Ahead

When I checked the weather forecast the day before we left for our campsite I realized that we could have some rainy weather so sent off a quick email to family members asking them to bring tarps and ropes and to prepare for stormy weather.  Our guys are so resourceful they were able to cover all of the tables and cooking area.  I learned that no matter what the forecast pack a large tarp and rope when packing for our reunion.

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Alternate Activities

Luckily we had planned some activities that we could do under the tarps as it rained and we adjusted our schedule to fit whatever the rain was doing. We played BINGO during one downpour which provided good entertainment for everyone. From now on I will always include BINGO supplies when packing for our reunion- just in case.

We planned the Not So Newlywed game as one of our activities and played the first half of the game in the sunshine and for the last half moved in under the tarps when the rain began to fall.

BUNKO is a great group game that mixes everyone up and gets them working together. It takes very few supplies (dice, pencils and score sheets) and can easily be a permanent addition to your reunion supplies.

You can also throw in a few board games, puzzles and a deck of cards.

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Reserve an Alternate Indoor Location

I wish I had thought of this before our reunion.  About 2 miles from our reunion campsite was a church.  We could have reserved it for a nominal fee and then when it started raining it would have been a great place to play some fun group games and perhaps eat a meal.

If you’re close to a town, take everyone bowling, to an indoor pool or a movie. Hopefully, a few hours later, the weather will be more cooperative. If not, stop at a restaurant or fast food place for an ice cream treat or a full meal.

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Our reunion theme this year was “Cruisin’” and it appeared the “captain” of our ship was not very experienced as he kept steering our cruise ship into major tropical storms.  However, his “passengers” were amazingly positive in spite of the weather.  A couple of times I thought about suggesting we “dock the ship” and go home but with everyone working together and helping each other it turned out to be one of our best family reunions ever.  Oh, and we did get ONE day without rain.

You can read more about planning for stormy weather at Planning for Stormy Weather.  And remember-