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How to Organize a Family Reunion

Best Tips for Organizing a Family Reunion

Family reunions are such great opportunities to catch up with those relatives you do not have the chance to meet regularly. I love these extended family gatherings, and I feel even more the importance of these events since my Daugther can be actively involved 😊

I assume most of us enjoy participating in family reunions... but someone needs to organize them as well 😅

Last year it was my Brother who pushed us to organize our family reunion together. Well, I was not convinced at the beginning that it will be an easy task... but it was a great success!

Now here come some of our best hints if you are thinking about organizing a family reunion!

Family reunion

Questions to ask when planning a family reunion

The main questions to think about and discuss with your fellow organizer(s) at the very beginning according to our experiences are the followings:

1. What are the main reasons for having this family reunion? 

For example, to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, or just because it's time to meet again... The theme and other aspects of the event should be in line with the main reason.

2. How many people will come, and how many children of different ages?

You have to decide about whom to invite (how big an event are you planning) and make a list of all the people in due time - so no one is left out. 

3. Where would you like to organize the reunion? 

Based on the main reasons and the number of expected participants you can figure out if there is enough space in your home (or in some other relative's) to organize the family reunion there.
If you plan to have more guests than what is possible to comfortably welcome at anyone's house, you should start thinking about a place to book or rent for the event!

Do not forget to ensure that the location should be easily reachable for the guests!

4. When is the best time for a family reunion?

The main reason for the event might determine the timing as well. 
But in general, I would suggest finding a few dates in a season that is not so cold or rainy, so you can think about open-air options too.
Then you can check with the future guests which date would be good for most of the family.
If some of them are coming from further, picking a Saturday afternoon might be the best idea in order to allow them time for traveling.

5. What kind of activities do you want to do together during the reunion?

It really depends on you and your family 🙂

To give you a few hints:
  • having a meal together;
  • cheap family reunion ideas can include playing games or sports;
  • running an introductory session, so everyone can update the family;
  • organizing a photo shoot - you can think about hiring a professional photographer or just getting a participant who loves taking photos...

6. What about the budget?

Make an estimation of the costs as soon as you have decided about the main aspects of the event. Decide who will pay the bills and make a preliminary agreement about that. Things can change but it is great to set up the fundamentals regarding the budget as well at an early stage of the organization.

How to plan a family reunion step-by-step

If you decide to take the role of the organizer of your next family reunion, you can make it easier by following this step-by-step guide:

1. How to start planning a family reunion

When you decide to organize a family reunion, and already discussed the most important questions with your fellow organizers, it is time to move forward and take action!

By the way, what is the difference between a family reunion and a family gathering? 🙂
Family gatherings are smaller events, mainly attended by your immediate family (parents and children). Family reunions are bigger ones, this is when your whole family gets together: grandparents, aunts, cousins... who have not seen each other in a long time.

So back to organizing!

Decide about the guest list, date, and venue as soon as possible, so you can send out the invitations and make the bookings in due time!

Do not forget to agree on the responsibilities and tasks of each organizer, and follow up regularly.

You can also use a family reunion planning guide, like my FREE Party Planner, grab it now! 

Free Family Reunion Planner

2. Family reunion program

Now as you have the main cornerstones of the event set, you can start thinking about some program ideas as well as a general theme (if you wish to have one).

Family reunions can last even more days, so you can decide to have different themes for each day, or just set one for the entire event...

Family reunion theme ideas for inspiration:
  • Birthday or Anniversary
  • Hawaiian Luau
  • Spanish/Mexican Fiesta
  • Musicals
  • Karaoke
  • Family Got Talent
  • Family Roots
  • Trivia
  • Baby Photo Guessing
The program can also depend on many aspects, but in general, you can follow these guidelines:
  1. Start with an icebreaker
  2. Allow time for free chat and bonding
  3. Provide games and sports opportunities for those who would like to spend time more actively (do not forget to think about the different needs of the different age groups)
  4. Meal time
  5. Free time

3. How to organize food for a family reunion

Depending on the size and the length of the event you will need to plan food and meals differently.

For a one-day/afternoon family reunion, you can even have a picnic where everyone brings some food and drinks and you eat those together.

If you organize the family reunion in your home, you can still ask other family members to share the task of cooking and baking - or decide to order food.

If the event lasts longer, or you decide to have it organized in a restaurant or resort, the staff will provide you with various options regarding the meals to choose from. Be sure to stay within the agreed budget, and do not forget about those relatives who might have food allergies or other dietary requirements!

Takeaway: Family reunions are such great opportunities to catch up with those relatives you do not have the chance to meet regularly. Do not be afraid to take the role of the organizer! Share the tasks and have fun even during planning and organization!


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