How to Plan a Family Reunion

A family reunion is a great way to rekindle relationships, create new memories and have fun together. Meanwhile, planning a family reunion everyone will enjoy and remember takes effort. Whether you are planning a family reunion for 10 or 50, the following ideas and tips on how to plan a family reunion will help you do it the right way.

Plan a Family Reunion - Groups Are A Trip

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Tips for Having the Perfect Family Reunion

1. Start With the Why

Why do you want to plan a family reunion? Do you have specific goals for wanting the family to come together? What are your expectations and goals from the reunion? Your reasons will give you a clear perspective on planning a successful family reunion.

2. Get Everyone On The Same Page

Before planning it’s best to consult with other family members to ask their opinions and seek ideas. If you can’t visit every family member physically, you can send in a questionnaire to get input on what, when, and where they want. Another idea is to have a group phone call via FaceTime or Zoom so everyone’s ideas are heard.

3. Plan a Theme

The best family gatherings are the ones with a theme. Having a theme makes the event more organized and generates more enthusiasm from attendees. You can keep your theme family-focused or culturally focused to showcase your family heritage and story.

Also, choosing a theme will coordinate your decor. You can go for family reunion decorations with a family tree welcome banner, quotes from family members, and old family photos. 

You can also choose themes like the 90s, Vintage, Great Gatsby, All American, Summertime BBQ, and other event themes that can work for your family. Choosing a theme will help determine food, activities, decoration, and, sometimes, your venue, making your job of planning a family reunion easier. 

4. Set a Budget

One of the first things to consider during family reunion planning is the cost. Your reunion will cost money, so you must consider expenses like food, venue, lodging, entertainment, etc. Setting a budget may be the most challenging part of the planning process because you may need to raise money through family members unless you have a wealthy relative ready to fund the entire party. 

plan a budget

Once you have a budget, you can write a message to each family member to ask for their contributions. Let them know how much the event will cost, how you will use the money, and how they can help cover expenses. They can donate cash or contribute to services like catering and printing. 

5. Delegate Tasks

Arranging a family reunion alone can be challenging, especially large family reunions. In this case, it’s best to ask other members for help or set up a planning committee. You can get other family members involved and recruit volunteers from those interested.

Once you have a planning committee, get them involved in the planning process and delegate tasks like catering, set up, decoration, and invites. You can also consider working with a professional event manager, especially when dealing with a big family. 

6. Choose a Date

You need to choose a date very early to help you with proper planning. If this is the first family reunion you’ll be planning, it’s best to start planning at least a year before. It can be challenging to find a date that is convenient for every member of the family, so it’s best to consult everyone to avoid conflicts. You can create a quick poll and gather the possible dates. 

It’s best to choose a date far in advance to help you make proper arrangements and get people prepared. Also, choosing a far-out date will help you find cheaper accommodation and flight deals. Once you agree on a date, stick to it and keep sending reminders to the attendees.

7. Decide on a Location

One of the most important aspects of a successful family reunion is the location. You need a venue that is comfortable for your family and can accommodate your reunion activities.

Consider having it in the home of your immediate family, renting an event venue, or finding a boutique hotel. You can also consider traveling to another city or country for a destination reunion. Here are our favorite venues for a family reunion.

8. Plan Where They Will Sleep

Will it be a day event or a weekend getaway? Are your family members traveling from a distant place? It’s important to consider where your family members will sleep, especially if your venue doesn’t offer lodging opportunities.

A great option is to have people bunk up with other family members to save costs. You can also consider booking a hotel or a vacation rental for accommodation. 

9. Book Flights

Once you figure out where the event will take place, you can start booking flights, especially if it’s a destination reunion. To make things less complicated, it’s best to have each family unit book their flight but make sure you send reminders. Also, encourage them to book early and at the same time if they want to sit next to each other. 

plan a Greece family vacation

10. Send Invitations

Once you have a venue and date, you can send invites to your guest list. Your invites should contain details like venue, date, time, dress code, contact information, what they need to bring, and so on.

You can send out digital invitations to get the message to everyone quickly.  A good family reunion idea is to invite a wide range of relatives to make it more fun and feel like an actual reunion. It’d be fun to meet your distant relatives and extended family you only see on social media or in photo albums. 

11. Gather Contact Information 

After sending out invites, be sure to compile a list of every guest invited and their contact information, like email addresses, phone numbers, and home addresses. It is a good idea to keep them involved in the plans and send them regular updates about the event. 

12. Plan the Menu

No one wants to go to an event without food, so you need to do a lot of planning to come up with a meal plan for the event. A great option is to hire a caterer for the event.

You can also have a potluck and get people to bring food so there is a variety, or team up with a restaurant that can cater the event. When planning the food for your family reunion, it’s a good idea to ask about food allergies and dietary restrictions.

tacos food
Making your own tacos is a great meal idea!

Also, it’s best to consider the time of the year to tailor your menu for the season. Another option is to have a food menu that reflects your family’s heritage and origin. Serve food that reflects your family’s country of origin and share some family recipes. 

13. Plan the Entertainment for Your Family Reunion

You need to plan good entertainment for a fun family reunion. Plan activities that appeal to the older and younger generations. Here are some great family reunion ideas perfect for the whole family: 

  • Family Trivia – Challenge your family member with a trivia night by splitting them into teams and asking rounds of questions centered on the family history. You can ask questions like “how many generations are in our family” or “who is the newest family member here today?”
  • Board games – Get active with board games like chess, Scrabble, and Monopoly. If you would rather head outside, we recommend these outdoor family reunion games.
  • Sports – If your family members are sports lovers, you can consider a game of flag football, softball, volleyball, kickball, or basketball. 
  • Outdoor activities – You can also spice things up by engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, golfing, and kayaking. 
  • Talent shows – A talent show will be fun, and it’s a great way to have people entertain themselves. It’s a perfect time to have your funny cousin tell his best jokes. 
  • Scavenger Hunt – A great way to break the ice and have attendees interact with one another is by hosting a scavenger hunt. Split your family members into teams and give them your scavenger hunt list. 
  • Professional entertainers – If you have the budget, you can consider hiring a musician, comedian, or entertainer to perform at the event. 
Grandma playing softball

14. Have a Back-Up Plan

When planning a large family reunion, it’s a good idea to have an alternative plan in case anything goes wrong. Have a backup plan for the venue, the accommodation, the entertainer, the caterer, and so on. If your reunion will be outdoors, reserve an indoor venue in case of weather problems.

15. Have a Checklist and Confirm the Essentials

Make sure you confirm the essentials once the reunion starts getting close. Call the venue to confirm your bookings, speak with the caterer, check with the hotels, and remind family members of the event. 

16. Be The Peacemaker

There is no fun spending time with members of the family fighting through the entire reunion. Try as much as possible to maintain peace, set aside rivalries, and organize group activities that make every member feel closer to their family. If you can keep the peace, you will end up with a perfect family reunion. 

A lot of family members have probably not seen each other for years due to work, relocation, marriage, etc. A family reunion is a great way to bring everyone together, and while it takes a lot of planning, it can be done by following the tips explained in this article.  Once the family reunion arrives, spend quality time with your loved ones, and do not let yourself become overwhelmed with the planning.