Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How-to Do A Couple's Conference Right

Just back from our Fall Couples' Getaway Weekend, and we had a great time! Seven couples was just the right number to allow for lots of mixing and fellowship without everyone feeling too crunched. We stayed in a very nice hotel (thank you, Hyatt Place!), ate at some great restaurants (Osegueras, Border Town, and P.F. Chang's), hear some in-depth couple teaching, and shared a LOT of thoughts and feelings about stepparenting. We also went to see the movie, Fireproof - which you MUST see if you've not seen it yet. It was one of the true highlights of the weekend!

Some tips on holding a Stepparenting Couple's Getaway Weekend:

* MAP OUT EVERYTHING! If someone can get lost, they will! Ensure all have a contact phone number for emergencies.
* make friends with the hotel planner/concierge so they can guide you away from mistakes and suggest side trips,
* Keep it fun! All want to learn how-to's, but no one likes a dead-serious event. Include outings or speakers who lighten up,
* Carpool as much as possible. It keeps individuals from getting lost and promotes fellowship and new friendships,
* Plan ahead for where to eat, rather than just cutting couples loose to get lost, frustrated, distracted,
* Have some extracurricular activities planned, but not required, for those who need a boost,
* Allow plenty of free time for socializing, visiting, between couples who share common situations'
* Don't get so wrapped up in organizing details you aren't available for couples with needs, questions, reassurance, etc.,
* Take lots of photos. These are not only keepsakes, but the ultimate promo tool for next event,
* ASK for discounts and bargains for your group. Most restaurants, hotels, and conference centers will happily comply,
* NO KIDS, plenty of private couple time, Don't ask why!

Most of all, relax and allow everyone to do the same. If the planner is running around looking freaked out, the participants will catch that spirit. The idea is to relax and refresh - let them!

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