How to Plan a Family Reunion (That’s Actually FUN)

posted: 06/28/16
by: Katie Morton
Multi Generation Family Enjoying Party In Garden Together

A family reunion is an amazing way for your entire clan to catch up, share stories and make memories. The reunion can be as simple as a potluck picnic in a state park or as elaborate as a multi-day gathering on a cruise ship. Whether you're planning for a gathering of 250 or 25, we have some important tips to help you plan your event.

Guests of Honor

The first step in planning your family reunion will be deciding on the guest list. Will this be a huge multi-generational affair with far-flung guests? Or will this be a more intimate gathering for immediate family and their spouses and children? Once you decide how many family members to invite, you can start to search for the right venue.

Save Your Date

Now that you have an estimated head count, you'll want to decide on a date for your event. Summer is the most popular time to host a reunion. The warm weather allows for easy outdoor gatherings. Plus, with kids out of school, more families can travel. Pick a date and spread the word via email or phone. Once you've locked down a firm location, you can send out a formal invitation with all the details.

Party Real Estate

Consider whether someone in your family has a vacation home or a beach place. If so, this may be the obvious choice to host your family shindig. If you're aren't fortunate enough to have family with prime party real estate, then consider public parks, camping spots (ever heard of glamping?), or wineries for outdoor space.

Take it on the Road

If your family likes to travel, then consider a multi-day trip. Spending time under one roof together, making meals, sharing the TV room, and playing games creates lifelong memories. Conde Nast Traveler has a Readers' Choice list of Family Reunion Resorts to consider.

Sail Away

Cruise lines have started to get in on the family reunion gig. Some cruise ships even offer specific family reunion packages. If the idea of an all-inclusive event appeals to you, then cruise lines may be the way to go. Some cruise lines provide discounts for blocks of family reunion rooms, plus perks such catered parties or on-board recreational passes.

Keep Costs Under Control

One thing to keep in mind with large family reunions is that different members of the family may have varied financial situations. Some family members may be retired and on a fixed income, whereas others may be just starting out in the work force or home with small kids. If you're planning a large reunion, try to keep a cap on costs, so that as many people can attend as possible.

Tap a Photojournalist

No matter where your reunion takes place, you'll want someone on hand to document the special memories. If you have a family member that's good with the lens, then they may offer to take some casual pictures. If your event is more formal, then you may consider hiring a pro photographer for the day to capture those priceless images.

Don't Over-Plan

A common mistake made when planning a family reunion is to over-schedule and book a full itinerary. It's fine to plan some multi-generational fun--such as biking, hiking, boating or outdoor games--but don't feel like you need to go overboard and schedule every second. The goal of a family reunion is for members to catch up and spend time together.

Have fun planning your next reunion! Keep in mind that the goal is to get together with your relatives; so don't overwhelm yourself by stressing about an epic, expensive event. Your ultimate goal should be to strive for the right balance of fun, food and conservation. Your extended family will make the most of their family time by simply being together.