Mister Spiffy Enjoys Himself

Reunion – n. A gathering of relatives, friends, or associates meeting after separation.

Mister Spiffy Says: "So all this grunt work does come to something. Hmm. That’s really something to consider, isn’t it?"

This is where all the hard work pays off…the reunion itself. If you have prepared well, the reunion can be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done – as is the case with every reunion Mister Spiffy plans out. If not, it can be very frustrating.

Getting Folks Signed In

It's always a wise idea to have families sign in as they arrive, especially if you are expecting a lot of attendees. Just set up a table at the entrance where they can sign in. If you have a ton of family coming, set up a couple of tables and divide them alphabetically (surnames starting with A-M or N-Z). Here are some things Mister Spiffy does at his registration table...

  • Welcome the family... Howdy, howdy, howdy
  • Tell guests where things are (bathrooms, food, the family member they're trying to avoid).
  • Give them their name tags, or have blank name tags for them to fill out and stick on themselves.
  • Give them any handouts. This can include the schedule for the reunion, and any other important information they may need.
  • Have them fill out a registration form. This is a form which asks for family information which can be used by future reunion committees or to create a family directory. It works best if you have the form already filled out with the information you know about the family, so that they just have to change or add anything new. Click here for a sample registration form you can print from your browser.
  • If someone in the family is keeping track of the genealogy, you may want to have blank family group sheets for the families to fill out. At future reunions, you can have filled out family group sheets for them to verify and update.

Making the Reunion Run Smoothly

There are a number of things that are required to make sure your reunion goes right. Remember, Mister Spiffy is a reunion professional. He knows what he’s doing.

Like the Boy Scout motto says, "Be Prepared." Expect the unexpected. As Mister Spiffy says, "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst." Make sure you have backup plans. There’s always got to be a Plan B. A contingency. For example:

  • If your reunion is an outdoor affair, make sure you have plans in case it rains (even if those plans are to stay outside and play around in the mud).
  • Make sure you have extra everything (food, plates, silverware, game accessories, et cetera). It is almost a given that someone will forget something.

Have plenty of help. There is no reason why you should have to do everything yourself. In fact, Mister Spiffy recommends doing nothing yourself – have everyone else do it. You’ve done all the planning beforehand, why bother yourself with the other things? You have just as much right to visit or participate in the activities as anyone else in the family, probably more so. Don’t wait until the reunion starts to ask for help. Make sure you contact family members and ask them if they can help out beforehand. That’s the polite, Mister Spiffy way.

Make sure you have a cleanup crew. Again, ask them before the reunion, otherwise you might be stuck doing all the cleanup yourself if people decide to leave early. Mister Spiffy advises that as a bad idea, because as a reunion Doctor, he knows that you may not want anymore reunions if you have to clean it all up yourself. And if everybody stopped having reunions, Mister Spiffy would be out of a job pretty fast.

But the most important thing to remember is not to expect everything to go exactly as planned. It never, ever works that way. Be flexible to the inevitable changes in the reunion plan. Otherwise, not only will you stress out and get a brain short when things veer from the expected, but you may miss some of the hilarious spontaneous events that family reunions are notorious for.

Having Fun at the Reunion

And finally, Mister Spiffy wants to make sure you enjoy yourself!!! You’ve worked way too hard to put on this reunion, no matter what others might say. If you don’t deserve to have fun, you might as well shut the reunion down – if you don’t have fun, nobody does. Period.

Most importantly, make sure you (or someone you assign) take a lot of pictures. Maybe even hire a professional photographer. You will have a lot of memories of your well-planned family reunion, and pictures will make sure that those memories stay fresh and remembered. Scan them into your computer and send them out with the next newsletter. Once again, Mister Spiffy must mention that spectacular four or five generation picture.

Mister Spiffy’s Helpful Hints – None for this section, other than get your rear out there and enjoy yourself, or he’ll come after you personally!