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on reunions O

edith wagner

Reunion Groups Endure the Economy WHO DOESN’T HAVE A STORY

sidering. Reunions, according to a recent

modations to banquets and catering, en-

about the economy? How it’s affecting

survey of Reunions magazine readers,

tertainment and souvenirs. Many re-

them, their families, friends and neigh-

are essential and important. Reunions

unions are returning to potluck meals,

bors. Yet through it all there are bright

are rarely considered discretionary ex-

but that’s an opportunity to show off

lights, and reunions are one of those.

penditures. Instead, they are seen as an

culinary expertise and resurrect family

The main purpose of all reunions is

important tradition that must be main-

favorites and often forgotten ethnic

to stay connected. It’s an obvious basis

tained regardless of what is going on in

recipes. Whereas everyone, including lo-

for class and military reunions, but in

the world. That was true following

cals, used to stay in hotels, now more will be staying in homes.

survey after survey done by Reunions

9/11, when a survey had reunion organ-

magazine, it is the No. 1 reason given

izers defiantly proclaiming “no terrorist

Reunion organizers look to conven-

for family reunions as well. Reunions

is going to stop our reunion.” In fact,

tion and visitors bureaus for expert ad-

are an opportunity for the youngest

many studies show that families draw

vice, local discounts and giveaways for

generations to be exposed to that

To save on costs, more reunions will rely on potluck meals and cut back on hotel nights.

plethora of relatives they rarely see because of time, distance or whatever reasons families don’t convene as often as they once did. The down economy struck just as more and more reunions had grown to be three-day events. That expansion

closer in tough times and a reunion is

goodie bags. They look to their own

from Sunday picnics was because many

the way that assures that many members

members to step up and provide every-

people travel to get there and want to

will make the effort to come together.

thing from donations to expertise. Not

make the trip worthwhile. The time and

that these things were not always there,

effort it takes to travel to the re-


but the economy but the economy has

union―and the investment in other

That is not to say that there has been no

forced everyone to be far more creative.

needs and luxuries to make it a memo-

belt tightening. It is those recently typi-

Fewer days, fewer people and scaled

rable event―are what may be taking the

cal three-day reunions that are the first

back entertainment may be the econ-

hits now.

thing examined as reunions look for

omy’s immediate effect on reunions. But

ways to save but still meet. One day cut

fewer reunions probably will not be the

means three fewer meals and a hotel

case. In fact, more families are organiz-

But canceling or postponing reunions is a compromise most are not even con-

Reunions magazine provides information, ideas and inspiration using the experience of reunion organizers to demonstrate the how-tos and what-to-dos. includes a forum for questions and discussions and podcasts that concentrate on planning details. A monthly e-blast highlights planning tips and drives readers to more information on the website. A Facebook fan page provides an easy alert system to stay in touch with readers. The magazine also offers a workbook that provides an extensive outline for reunion planning.

night, but the reunion goes on. After all,

ing several smaller reunions closer to

when will grandparents see grandchil-

concentrations of members so, in sheer

dren or cousins see cousins once they get

numbers, there may be more reunions.

on with their ever busier lives? Reunion planners are looking for ways to save

Edith Wagner is founder and editor of Reunions magazine,

while encouraging members to attend. They’re looking for bargains for everything from accomApril 2009 19

On Reunions: Reunion Groups Endure the Economy  
On Reunions: Reunion Groups Endure the Economy  

Edith Wagner, founder and editor of Reunions magazine, says the slumping economy may force families to enact cost-cutting measures in trip p...