Faith group family retreats: the dos and don’ts

There’s a lot to bear in mind when organising a family meeting or retreat for your faith group. How do you balance elements of spiritual fellowship with inter-generational fun and relaxation? Will the venue be family-friendly?  How can we accommodate budget constraints?  Here we talk you through some of the key considerations and suggest ways to ensure your event produces cherished memories and becomes a valued milestone in your faith group’s calendar.

First things first

The top tip for organising family events is to allow plenty of time for planning and preparation. Giving yourself a good six months’ run-up will enable you to find the ideal location for your group and secure the most attractive terms. The flipside of this, lamented by many an event organiser, is – the tighter your planning window, the fewer your options.

Where will it take place?

You will probably be looking for a real get-away break in relaxing surroundings – without your location being so remote that it’s a nightmare to reach. This was one of the main factors for us at The Venues Collection when it came to selecting our own properties.  We bring together a group of six easily accessible event spaces offering a mix of residential and leisure facilities. They are spread across the country, all located away from city centres but still within easy reach of motorways and train stations.

Will the space be suitable for a family event?

It’s a good idea to specify faith group event venues in your search, to yield properties that welcome and are equipped to host, families. These are also most likely to offer exclusive use for your group so that you have the freedom to make the space your own and your community members will immediately relax and feel at home.

From there, narrow your search down to venues that offer plenty of green space. This will broaden your opportunities for outdoor games and recreation, as well as  providing the ideal environment for meditation, prayer meetings and – weather-permitting – barbeques and picnics.

All of the properties in The Venues Collection portfolio have their own gardens or terraces – some are set in acres of parklands or surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty. Most offer walking routes in the immediate vicinity.

Our venues all feature flexible spaces – including prayer and quiet rooms.  We can ensure that family members are placed in adjacent bedrooms, and we can allocate games rooms for indoor leisure activities.

Can our catering requirements be met?

We all know how important mealtimes are in contributing to the shared experience, so it’s important to find a venue that provides the right kind of atmosphere for family gatherings and promotes opportunities for the whole community to bond.  And of course, the food itself must reflect your cultural imperatives.

TVC’s chefs are experts at catering for specific faith groups. They’re always happy to discuss menu and serving preferences and prepare special meals. We pride ourselves on our vegetarian and vegan options and we also offer clients the alternative of bringing in their own external suppliers to cater for specific needs.

And when you sit down to eat, our large communal dining areas ensure that your attendees will enjoy the most convivial and inclusive mealtime experiences.

How can we control our budget?

No event organiser likes to discover a list of unexpected items on the final bill, but this is particularly annoying for family faith events which involve personal expenditure.  So, it’s important to have honest (and early!) conversations with the venue’s sales team, to get an exact handle on the full outlay and make the most of your budget.

Budgeting is simplified when all meals are included in the quoted price – the hotel or venue should be able to give you a 24-hour delegate rate. Our own properties can certainly offer budget-conscious all-inclusive options.

Don’t forget to ask if the venue has in- and outdoor games available for guest use. At the same time, discuss amongst your community members to see who can bring games with them for sharing; as well as pens, paper and stationery as materials for the games room and team activities. With a little planning time, many of us love compiling quiz questions and these cost nothing and are guaranteed to produce inter-generational camaraderie.

Will the staff be sympathetic and responsive to our needs?

Your initial call to a venue will tell you if the people on the end of the phone are likely to treat your event as a special occasion, or as a typical corporate group booking, taking little or no interest in the nature of your gathering.  If that’s the impression you get, it’s best to end the conversation there and then. The hospitality industry should live up to its name, and as a customer you deserve dedicated personal attention and genuine interest in your specific requests and requirements.

TVC staff are trained not only to be welcoming and friendly, but also mindful to the needs of different faiths and cultures, with the aim of making all guests feel at home. Our teams’ experience in working with faith groups will enable them to offer suggestions to help vary your programme, appeal to all ages and make the most of your budget.

Dedicated Faith Event Booker

Great news! The Venues Collection have their own dedicated faith event booker, Laurina Rushworth.

”My remit is to support faith and religious groups and organisations find the perfect venue for a worship event, conference, weekend away, retreat or camp. As a person of faith, I understand how important it is for both the logistical and spiritual to be considered in all things. I look forward with joy to supporting your venue finding, event organising activity.” –  Laurina.

We will be delighted to assist you in organising your next retreat or celebratory event, so please contact our sales team to discuss your needs:

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