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Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Family Reunion

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Whether you’ve had an annual family reunion since you can remember or have always dreamt of planning your own, the following tips and ideas can help make this year’s family reunion unforgettable. Even if you’re not the one “throwing” the family reunion, you can relay these ideas to the party planner. Below you’ll find information from how to plan a reunion plus how to avoid wearing the ill-fitting family reunion shirt to things to do and places to go. Bonus: if you don’t want to have a big family reunion, these tips can always be used for just an immediate family get-together!

Planning Your Reunion

Just like any party, there can be a lot of details that get overlooked if there isn’t a proper plan in place. In order to put together an unforgettable reunion this year make sure that you stay organized. Now at first, all of this planning can seem overwhelming, that’s why it’s important to delegate tasks to family members you know you can trust to oversee their “task” that you give them. According to this article from Gathered Again, general reunion tasks consist of the following details, regardless of size:

  • Meal planning
  • Invitations
  • Accommodations and travel reservations
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Prizes and souvenirs

Now unless you have all the free time in the world, handling all those tasks on your own is going to be next to impossible. This is where delegation comes in. If you have an aunt or cousin who travels often put them on  “travel reservation” duty. And since this is a family reunion, other family members will want to be involved, make sure not to leave anyone out who you would think would enjoy making this reunion memorable. Let’s break each of the above tasks down, to get a basic idea of how a family reunion can run smoothly and be fun!

Meal Planning

Meal planning for a family reunion depends on a couple of different things, like:

  • Where will the reunion be taking place at?
  • How long will the reunion last? One day? A weekend? An entire week?
  • How much the family’s budget is. You can find more info about reunion costs, here.

Once you know this information, some of the most common forms of meal planning for a family reunion include:

  • Catering - For the family or reunion planner with a larger budget.
  • Backyard BBQ - Perfect for a reunion that is at the home of one of your relatives or in your own backyard.
  • Potluck or Picnic - A great option for the planner who doesn’t want to have to worry about making all the food. This can also be used with a BBQ.


Whether you’re sending invitations via snail mail or through a mass email list, there is some important information you’ll want to make sure you have on your invites that goes beyond last year’s group picture with everyone in their family reunion shirts. Make sure to include the following on your invites:

  • The date/s of the reunion
  • The location and accommodations (if applicable)
  • Cost per person
  • What to bring
  • The theme of the affair (event attire if applicable)
  • Who to contact regarding the event, and their contact information

Other things that should be sent out with the invitations if you are planning a destination reunion, include:

  • Airlines, along with estimated airfare to and from the destination
  • Hotels and accommodation expenses around the area
  • A map of the location
  • On-site activities

Send your invitations out as soon as you can, especially if you plan on traveling. You need to give your family enough time to plan where they will be staying and how they are getting there. Most importantly, put an RSVP date on the card and specific information of who and how to contact them to confirm.

Where to Have Your Family Reunion

Since many of us have extended family that lives across the United States and even in other parts of the world, there is usually travel involved for a family reunion. Find a reunion venue can be as simple as going to a centrally located or as complex as booking a resort for the entire family-its up to you and your family!

Choosing when and where you’ll have your family reunion is the first thing you need to decide before anything else, as it affects everything. If you plan on traveling, may we suggest checking out these possible family reunion vacation ideas, which include everything from Jeep tours in Scottsdale to touring wine country in Sonoma. If you’re not planning on staying at a resort or booking a family cruise, the following are all great venues for larger family reunions:

  • community centers and conference centers
  • hotel banquet halls
  • school gymnasiums and church auditoriums

Entertainment & Activites

Apart from the food, the entertainment and activities at a family reunion are some of the most memorable parts. With this in mind, here are a few ideas you can add to your family reunion to make it more fun and memorable for everyone involved:

  • DIY Family Reunion shirts - If you’ve ever been to a family reunion, you know how big of a deal the family reunion shirts are. This year, bring your own favorite fitting t-shirt to make DIY family reunion shirt station. Make shirts with silly sayings, the family name, hand prints, etc. Incorporate puffy paint, tie-dye, squirt paint, buttons, glitter-the list could go on! Additionally, you could have each family create their family reunion shirt ideas at home based off of a specific theme or idea for the reunion.
  • Scavenger Hunt - A great “icebreaker” game at your family reunion, a scavenger hunt allows you to find certain things or even get signatures from family members for items described by the scavenger hunt, as stated by Gather Again. Go here, for rules, example scavenger hunt lists and how to play, as well as more family reunion activity ideas.
  • Make a Photo Booth - Family reunion photos don’t have to just include one huge picture of the family together. Have fun with photos! This way you’ll be able to post them on your Instagram or Facebook feed (make your own family hashtag) and if you love to make scrapbooks, what better idea then to make one for all of your family reunions. Other photo ideas include setting up a “photo booth” complete with props, taking a silly/wacky photo, having a photo with everyone wearing their DIY family reunion shirt, or a “jump or action” shot, etc. And make sure that someone is in charge of taking photos throughout the family reunion for some candid pictures of Aunt Kathy or Uncle Bill in the potato sack race.


Happy Planning!


Photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

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