It’s A Family Reunion!

Here’s your guide to planning the perfect gathering

When it comes to negotiating million-dollar construction deals, C. David Moody Jr., president and CEO of C. D. Moody Construction (No. 87 on the be industrial/service 100 list with $37 million in sales), is in his element. But for an upcoming family project, he is trying to figure out just where to start.

Moody will be hosting the first annual Moody Family Reunion from July 27 to 29 in Lithonia, Georgia, and is trying to make it exciting and affordable for everyone. But he needs resources to get started. “Five of us are trying to brainstorm ideas for events that are informal but informative, and keep costs to a minimum with hotels and restaurants,” he says.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Witherspoon-Strain Family Reunion is celebrating its 47th year. They, too, will be having their reunion this summer, but in Charlotte, North Carolina. The reunion committee expects 150 people, and Fred Witherspoon, the chair, wants to add fun and excitement by learning more about family-oriented games and entertainment. He’d also like to get involved in fundraising activities so that family members in other cities can participate.

Whether celebrating their first year or their 41st, families want to know how to carry out a successful reunion. And with good cause: According to a 2005 survey in Reunions magazine, 70% of respondents attend family reunions at least every 24 months. With the summer months just around the corner, we offer seven tips for hosting the perfect family reunion.

Tip #1
Create a timetable
“The timetable is important because a reunion is a very large undertaking and has many details, all of which you want to pay attention to and can only do if you have a timeframe from the beginning,” says Edith Wagner, editor of Reunion and author of The Family Reunion Sourcebook. For example, 18 months to 24 months prior to the event you should determine family interest and attend a seminar or workshop, whereas the host city should be chosen one year in advance. For a detailed timetable, see the sidebar.

Tip #2
Track great resources
Like Moody, YeRushia Brown is hosting her family’s first reunion in Atlanta. Brown is trying to find out as much information as she can about the entire family reunion process, from which restaurants offer a variety of fare to choosing activities for all age groups.
For free planning information, try The Family Reunion Institute (www.temple.edu/fri/familyreunion), which hosts an annual conference to educate families on organizing a reunion. The Web also has a wealth of free information on every aspect for your gathering, including getting started, workshops, travel, and souvenirs. At www.family-reunion.com, you will learn how to determine the size or expense involved, select a theme, and find the best games. Or use the Net to create your family reunion Website at www.myevent.com.

Tip #3
Take a unique shopping excursion
Although we don’t advocate overspending, for some, shopping at area malls and outlets is the most exciting part of their family reunion. Thus, many planners take shopping venues into consideration.
“The key is to make

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