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4 Tips for Becoming a Professional Family Reunion Planner

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Are you a pro at planning parties and love all things family? Take a look to learn how you can get paid to plan family reunions!

Get the skills

What used to be backyard bashes are turning into extravagant events — and that means family reunion planners are in demand. Even better? Your cut of the fun (generally 15 percent to 20 percent of the event’s total cost) can be anywhere from $500 to $2,000, or more! 

To start, check out the National Association of Event Planners and the Event Planners Association, which provide education and training as well as networking opportunities. Kathryn Schmidt of Parties Unplugged also recommends asking to apprentice: “Offer your services on a pro-bono basis to other family reunion planners,” she says. The practice will help you sharpen your skills and gain valuable insider knowledge.

Drum up business

Begin by planning your own family reunion and that of a close friend or two. If possible, go for different set-ups — from an intimate dinner to a weekend at a theme park. Not only will it help word of mouth spread about your services, you’ll also be able to get photos to show prospective clients what you can offer!

Meet everyone’s needs

“You may have young couples; parents with toddlers, tweens or teens; and patriarchs,” says Schmidt. “And figuring out how to engage them all is key.“ Menus may need to include chicken fingers even if some people are foodies. A spa visit may need to be offered along with drinks at a sports bar. 

Tip: “Unless it’s a sit-down meal, never have enough chairs for everyone — seriously!” says Schmidt. “The aim is to create energy. Bumping elbows and walking around is more kinetic than sitting in a circle.” 

Make it memory-centric

It’s not just about revisiting old memories (rev excitement for the event by sending out e-reminders featuring family photographs), but creating new ones! 

One idea: If the event will be held in the family’s hometown, arrange for a guided bus tour. “At one reunion, one of the cousins planned the route and pointed out where his great-grandparents lived, the church where they married, and the candy store they frequented. The bus trip itself was a great bonding experience leading up to a fabulous dinner!”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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