Family reunions, pessimists say, can be just like what happens at Christmas – everyone gets together and… argues! But it need not be like that. Of course, if Aunt Agatha turn up – you know, the notoriously indiscreet one who blurts out EVERY family secret AND reminds other family members of EVERY misdemeanor they have committed – then you could be in for trouble. Just make sure she is excluded! She lives in Florida, so plan the get-together for somewhere a LONG way away from her.
If the reunion is on a “lost and found” basis, i.e. siblings meeting after a protracted absence, then it’s likely to be a truly heartwarming experience. Ironically, the longer the period without contact, (provided the time apart has been deliberate, of course) the more joyous the reunion. For example, see this episode of the Steve Harvey show.
Do your reconnaissance
Proper planning will help to ensure a smooth get-together. If you are having a reunion of family members, presumably of disparate ages, then choose a place where all generations can be catered to. Advance planning is essential. Avoid last-minute booking when hotel rooms, particularly in big cities, are usually at a premium. You may do well to reserve a block of rooms in a hotel at a special reduced rate (a minimum of 10 rooms is usually required) but don’t accept the first quote you see. Shop around because there are some good deals to be found. Hotel Planner is a great site for you to find the best accommodation.
Different generations will have specific requirements. Older people may need more comfortable surroundings. Perhaps they will also need rooms with special handles, call buttons and emergency phones, and maybe even a hotel carer/nurse. Contact the hotel beforehand and find out how they can help with special requirements. Younger people will be more interested in exploring the sites and clubbing. Parents with younger children may need a hotel with professional entertainers/animators to keep them distracted. So do make sure you do your homework beforehand.
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The more varied the age range, the less likely “a one-size fits all approach” will work for your guests. The older generation may enjoy a sit-down carvery. Teenagers, on the other hand, may favor fast food joints. Spending large sums beforehand on lavish, in-house banquets may be a waste of money, especially if the kids don’t partake and then nip out of the back door to grab a burger after the meal.
A city with good access
The venue is of vital importance. A big city is probably the best option if young people are part of the reunion. Granted, the golden oldies may favor peace and quiet. But be mindful that one person’s tranquility is another’s boredom. The venue should be accessible for everyone. Choose somewhere too far removed from a guest’s orbit and they may think you are hoping they won’t make it. And in Aunt Agatha’s case, of course, she would be quite correct!
New York is a good choice because of its accessibility – good connections and myriad attractions to keep youngsters entertained. It’s a city with something for everybody and excellent transport. Remember too that the hotel should offer a cancellation policy. It’s wasteful to make a reservation for a huge group – with enough food to feed Africa’s starving – only to find that a mere handful turn up.A good hotel would be the the Doubletree-Guest-Suites in Times Square, very centrally located near Broadway, the Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Fifth Avenue Shopping, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. It is also near Penn Station, Grand Central, Port Authority Bus Terminal and all 3 area airports. The hotel is divided into two-room suites, complete with spacious living room, a dining area and a private bedroom.
If New York is not to your liking, then you can consider Washington. It’s a beautiful place in spring as the cherry blossom comes out. Obvious attractions include the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and Georgetown. Choosing the right time of year for your reunion is important. Generally, late spring or early summer is the best time in New York and Washington, so avoiding extreme weather conditions, allowing for longer days and enabling younger people to attend.
The only problem with Washington could be that Aunt Agatha likes it more than New York. So be warned!
Gabriel Hershman is a total dreamer who loves traveling and writing about old British movies. He is a an accomplished author and a regular contributor to MyLife.com, where he uses his keen British humor to shed light on the timeless topics of human relationships.