Planning family reunions can be overwhelming for anyone. If you have a big, fun, celebratory Irish family, the pressure can be immense. However, if you take the time to plan and incorporate all the necessary factors for a successful party, you and your family will have a great time.
Irish families are a special breed. We love to eat, drink, dance and sing together and celebration is in our blood. An Irish family reunion is a unique event that the attendees will remember and treasure for years. As the person in charge, it’s up to you to make sure everything is planned perfectly.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about planning a stellar family reunion, and an Irish one in particular.
Irish Family Reunions
An Irish family reunion is just like any other family reunion, except bigger and more exciting. There will be lots of hugs and laughs and plenty of camaraderies as you celebrate your heritage and relationships.
People of all ages will be in attendance, so you need to make sure there are things that all different groups will enjoy. Many of your guests may be traveling from afar, so in addition to the actual event itself, you will need to find excellent and suitable accommodations.
Food and drink are the most important aspects of any family gathering, but you can’t have a good time without an appropriate venue, too, so plan these things first, and then everything else will fall into place from there.
Eight Tips for Irish Family Reunions
You can plan a family reunion alone, but if it’s going to be a rather large gathering, you may want to put together a team and delegate some of the many tasks to others. Once you decide how many people you plan to invite, it will be a lot easier to determine your needs for the event overall.
If your family reunion will be rather small, it’s okay to call your guests, tell them about the event, and have them call you back once they have made a decision to be there or not. However, if you are planning a larger event, you will want to send out actual invitations with RSVP cards included to help you keep track.
On your invitations, be sure to include all of the information your guests will need to make a decision and plan. Time, place, and length of the event are vital, but if people will be coming from out of town, you will also want to include information about transportation and accommodations.
Keep an eye on your mailbox for RSVP cards and keep a tally as they come back. Once the RSVP date has come and gone, follow up with the people you have not heard from yet. People are not as good about responding to invitations today as they once were, so just because you did not get an RSVP card from someone does not mean they are not coming.
The venue you choose for your family reunion is important. You need to find a place that is large enough for all your guests but that also provides good service and is comfortable. You don’t want everyone jammed together in a small space; there should be plenty of room for everyone to spread out and to enjoy each other. Make sure there is a lot of seating as well.
Read reviews for your chosen venue online before committing to a venue. There is nothing that can ruin an event more quickly than bad service, so you’ll want to hire the very best.
Of course, you’ll want to offer a wide variety of Irish foods for your family to enjoy. If you are feeling ambitious, and the group is small, you can make much of it yourself, or you can enlist other family members to contribute their favorite dishes. If you live somewhere that has an active Irish community, you may be able to find a caterer or restaurant that specializes in Irish cuisine.
Remember, not all Irish people love Irish food. Be sure to include some other dishes as well, especially for the children.
Irish people love to celebrate, and with that often comes alcoholic beverages. You will probably want to choose drinks that are decidedly Irish. Beer and cocktails will both be welcomed by most. However, also remember that not everyone indulges in alcohol, so you will want to make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available.
Music, dancing, and singing are all big parts of Irish culture. You will want to either make a playlist of Irish music, hire a DJ that can provide Irish tunes, or seek out a great Irish band. There are so many wonderful Irish songs that will really raise everyone’s spirits, and towards the end of the night, Irish drinking songs will certainly be welcomed by all.
If you have a lot of people coming from out of town or from abroad, you will need to make sure their accommodations are prepared ahead of time. You can often get a big discount on hotel rooms if you commit to a block of rooms. Try to figure out how many rooms you will need, and then contract with a hotel. Everyone will enjoy staying together in the same place.
Since people will be drinking, you should also consider organizing safe and reliable transportation to get people home and to the hotel from the event. A party bus is a great option that will make things easy for everyone.
The primary activities at your family reunion will be socializing and enjoying everyone’s company. However, you may want to organize some games, too. If there are children in attendance, you might want to hire childcare to keep the children entertained while the parents and other relatives chat.
One thing you cannot skip at any Irish event is an Irish toast. As the organizer, it’s up to you to decide who will offer this toast to the group, but you will probably want to choose the patriarch or matriarch of the family.
It’s always good to have some surprises, too. A special guest can be very exciting; whether you invite a semi-famous Irish musician or a relative no one thought could make it, your guests will be thrilled. You also might consider putting together a video or slideshow of photos of the family set to music for everyone to enjoy after dinner.
Your guests will remember this event forever, but it’s also always nice to leave with a souvenir. T-shirts made especially for the family reunion will be a big hit. There are many sites online that can help you to come up with family reunion shirt ideas.
Happy Family Reunion
With the right planning and the right attitude, you can plan a great Irish family reunion. Family reunions are wonderful events that will be enjoyed by all, as long as you remember all the details. Good luck!