How to Plan a Family Reunion for Relatives Living Everywhere

Family Reunion Events and Activities
As with any large group of people, it’s important to put some structure into place for special events. It might be nice to offer some planned activities – sports like volleyball or horseshoes, as well as adventurous possibilities like hiking, fishing, or even horseback riding. You don’t have to plan all these activities, but you could request brochures from companies that provide them and then share with your guests in case anyone is up for an adventure.

Remember, it is also important to leave plenty of free time for your family to relax and enjoy themselves. Some personality types work very well when they’re on the go constantly, but others need a scheduled naptime or just a general break to recover and recharge their batteries.


Here are some simple activities that you could include at your family reunion:
• Board games
• Cards
• Icebreakers and getting to know you games
• Karaoke
• Name that tune
• Recipe swap
• Sports
• Water balloons (weather and temperature permitting)

Don’t forget to look for a location that provides ample space for your guests to spread out and chat, catch up on old times, or even just sit down for a picnic lunch. Picnic tables are excellent options for seating larger groups. You can even bring blankets for the younger relatives to relax on the ground, but just remember that Grandma and Grandpa may not be too keen on doing that themselves.

Food as Far as the Eye Can See
One of my favorite things about a family reunion is the really yummy and diverse food you get to enjoy. Our family reunions had everything from Maryland crabs and corn on the cob to sandwiches, ham, pork, brownies, and of course, Aunt Rose’s coveted homemade butter cookies. Each year we looked forward to these treats and more, which made the family reunion a long awaited and anticipated event.

The menu possibilities are virtually limitless, and you can save money by asking everyone to bring a covered dish or dessert. This works best if many of your family members are concentrated near the location of the event. If you are all or mostly traveling, it may be a good idea to shop around for reasonable caterers or restaurants offering food to go.

Final Tips on Planning and Hosting a Family Reunion
If you believe in Murphy’s Law, then this is the section of the article just for you. Here are some tips on how to avoid disasters at family reunions.

Make sure you have a backup plan in case it rains. This includes not only location, but also alternate activities, events, and seating arrangements.

Keep the peace, if possible. Try to remember that, even though they are family, all people don’t always get along with everyone. If squabbles break out and insults are flying between family members, do what you can to smooth things over, but don’t let it ruin your day.

Find out your budget before you get too deep in planning. Sometimes family members chip into the overall cost of the family reunion. If you know you can count on $50 to $100 from each individual family, it makes your job so much easier.

Suggest hotels and rental car agencies for your out-of-town relatives. Going the extra mile to make their planning and scheduling experience easier may really impact the final outcome as far as whether they will attend the event or not. Hey, it can’t hurt to try!


Family reunions can be a lot of work to put together, but usually in the end, the outcome is worth every moment. Spending time with your relatives at least once a year is really important to developing stronger bonds and closer relationships. If you aren’t fully confident in taking on the task of planning a family reunion by yourself, talk to a close sibling or cousin and take the team approach. Once planned, your family reunion will be well worth the time and energy you spend creating and organizing it. Enjoy!

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