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Planning a Family Reunion

Posted by Clash Graphics on

Need help organizing an inclusive, diverse, and fun family reunion? Knowing how to plan your family reunion and events in advance will help you keep everyone on the same page, well-informed, and more inclined to have a good time at the reunion.

Planning a family reunion can include taking portraits gathered essential planning and organizational information to help you plan a successful family reunion with abundant photo opportunities, games, events, traditional family recipes, and refreshments for all ages.

Family Reunion Planning

As you start your family reunion planning process, it is crucial to remember how these reunions can:

  • Reinforce common family bonds
  • Educate and connect the next generation to their family’s past
  • Give continuation to stories about the family history
  • Keep recipes passed down over generations alive
  • Regenerate brother and sisterhoods
  • Reinvigorate appreciation of life's unique but parallel journeys

Family reunions help young adults and children form solid identities about who they are and where they come from. Family reunions typically last only a day or two. So, by the time you have refreshed your family bonds, it's time to say goodbye. Consider the following when planning your family’s reunion:

1 - Assemble a Reunion Planning Committee

Gather a planning committee ranging in age and income; this will ensure there are activities that everyone can enjoy and afford. You want a diverse committee representing the youth, families with children, and seniors. People may feel hurt and neglected when they are left out. An added benefit to including younger generations in the reunion’s planning will prepare them to eventually take it over in the future. Committee members should consist of:

Committee Chairperson - Coordinates all reunion-related subjects and follows up with other committee members to ensure delegated tasks are completed on time.

Finance Director - Handles the reunion checking and savings accounts, maintains a detailed budget, and makes approved purchases.

Correspondence Director - Communicates with family members (cards, notes, emails, group texts, maps, menus, etc.).

Lodging Liaison - Ascertains accommodations for traveling family members and negotiates group rates.

Food Director - Communicates with the caterer and handles the potluck. This person should be knowledgeable of food allergies and which family members have food restrictions or allergies.

Entertainment Director - Organizes activities and events for all age groups (inflatable jumpers, sack races, scavenger hunts, talent shows, trivia games, etc.).

RSVP Director - Confirms and tracks who’s attending.

Welcome Committee - Prepares and distributes name tags, agendas, wayfinding, and signage. These individuals operate the registration booth, distribute shirts and keepsakes, help family members mingle, and serve as the first faces of the reunion.

Tip: Create and distribute a bio sheet with a photo for each committee member, so everyone knows who did what to make the reunion happen.

2 - Collect Input from Family Members

The Correspondence Director should distribute questionnaires (6 to 9 months in advance) to family members to collect their input on when, where, and what they want to be included in the reunion’s activities.

Tip: Email, social media, and texting apps can help people stay in touch between reunions and build excitement for upcoming events. Payment apps like PayPal or Venmo make it significantly easier to handle finances, including allowing people to contribute over time. Use Zoom or other streaming apps during the reunion’s events. This will help you include those who can’t attend in person.

3 - Determine a Reunion Planning Center

Planning a family reunion can include assembling a committee

A reunion generates paperwork: Even with subcommittees, the reunion committee chairperson needs copies of crucial information, like vendor contracts, updated registration data, and lodging details.

The chairperson might use a home office and keep everything in a simple file folder or separate folders for each committee (in a file box).

4 - Reunion Finances

Like it or not, your reunion will cost money. You’ll need to establish a budget and ask your family to contribute. You will need money for mailings, producing signage, printing shirts, and keepsakes, and venue and catering deposits.

You could craft a letter to each family member describing the upcoming reunion and asking for a financial contribution. Let them know how their money will be used.

Tip: Give your family members monthly payment options for more-expensive activities like cruises or destination reunions. You can also ask individuals to donate specific services like printing or graphic design work as their contribution.

5 - Develop a Theme

Themes generate enthusiasm for your reunion and provide a guide for food, attire, decorations, memorabilia, and activities. Some popular themes include:

  • The Roaring 20s
  • Country Western
  • Decade-based 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s
  • Anniversary (the 20th annual reunion, 50th wedding anniversary, etc.)
  • Heritage (Hawaiian, Irish, Italian, Mexican, etc.)

Tip: Your reunion’s theme should be incorporated in all communications, banners, signs, t-shirts, etc.

6 - Design A Reunion Theme, Logo, and T-Shirts

You can brand your reunion by designing (or commissioning a design) that represents your family, the reunion’s theme, and any significant happenings that may have influenced or shaped your family’s course.

Tip: Consult the graphic designer at the print shop you select to communicate your theme, colors, dates and location of the reunion. to print the reunion’s materials 

7 - Plan Activities for All Ages

Fun activities are essential for getting relatives reacquainted after being out of touch for years or decades. Consider including some of the following:

Show-and-Tell - Ask everyone to bring a family heirloom, photo, or other interesting memorabilia and share the story behind it.

Family Recipe Bake-Off - Publish handed-down recipes and bake-off rules in your reunion’s newsletter. At the event, let the most senior generations judge whose food tastes most like the original.

Planning a family reunion can include using family recipes in cooking and baking competitions

Family Trivia - Gather entertaining information about ancestors and quiz the reunion attendees. Remember to present prizes to the winners.

Genealogy Workshop - Ask family historians to bring their historical research and compare notes, or take the group on a research trip to the library.

Camera Fun - Leave disposable cameras on tables. Everyone loves them, and you’ll have plenty of reunion photos to share afterward.

Baby Photo Guessing Game - Smile and laugh at everyone’s baby photos as you try to figure out who each photo belongs to. The activity can include laying the photos out and asking guests to pin them on the right family tree branch.

Tip: Ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the games’ setup or playing, so no one feels left out.

8 - Create Reunion Souvenirs

Let family members take home reunion souvenirs; you could offer any of the filling items:

Family Directories - These should include updated addresses and contact information.

Family History Book - Let the family know that you will assemble a history book (available at the reunion) and ask for copies of documents, newspaper clippings, recipes, stories, or old pictures. Assemble a “proof” book and have it copied and bound. You can sell the books at cost and deliver them at the reunion.

Planning a family reunion can include creating a family history book

Reunion Portrait - A reunion allows you to shoot a family photo while you’re all together. Hire a professional photographer to capture and distribute the portrait after the reunion.

Family Recipe Book - Along with recipes, include photos of the original bakers and stories about their recipes.

Reunion Video - Capturing footage records family discoveries and fun moments created during the reunion. This is ideal for preserving and sharing family interviews or storytelling sessions.

Souvenirs allow family members to reminisce any time between reunions and maintain the motivation to stay in touch throughout the year.

Family Reunions

In this article, you discovered crucial information to help you organize and plan a successful and inclusive family reunion.

Your organizational and planning skills will help you gather your family and offer them a learning opportunity while having fun and making life-long memories.

Not knowing how to organize and plan your family reunion can leave family members left out, cause confusion, affect the overall turnout, and leave family unwilling to participate in future reunions.


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