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Tips for Planning A Family Reunion


Summer time and holidays tend to be the most common time for a big family reunion.  So whether you are planning a family reunion for this upcoming holiday season or for next summer it’s probably a good time to start planning if you haven’t started already.

I spent the majority of my summers growing up celebrating a month long family reunion thanks to my mom and aunts working in schools. But we always had one big week every summer where every cousin got to get together in a rented house somewhere and we got to celebrate “Happy Everything” a celebration of all holidays and birthdays in one big fun celebration!  To this day Happy Everything is still my favorite holiday of the year!

Organizing a large family reunion whether it’s taking place over a week like mine did or just a weekend of celebrations is a major undertaking which takes a lot of time and planning!  Here are just a few tips to help you get on the right track!


It is incredibly important to set your date as early as you can so that people can plan accordingly.  Especially if you have family that will have to travel from far distances. They will want to be able to make those plans, buy their flights when they are still somewhat inexpensive, and so that everyone can take the needed days off of work.  These dates should also accommodate vacation times and school schedules for all of the little guests that will be joining in on the festivities.  Setting the date before people make their holiday or summer plans is also a good idea so that everyone can’t say they already had a trip planned for those days!

This is also important for renting out your venue.  Whether you are renting a house on the beach, getting block bookings at a hotel, or need to book a big room/park to host your reunion the earlier it is booked the easier it will be on everyone!


How far out are you extending this extended family reunion?  Is it just first cousins or are you hitting up second and third cousins as well? If you’re only planning on renting a house or two on the beach it might not be feasible to invite everyone in your family tree but if you’re planning on just getting a block of hotel rooms for people to rent on their own and having some fun weekend activities in a  park you can probably go all out and invite everyone!  Decide the vibe and scale before you finalize that guest list!


Your budget will be determined by what you are planning for your reunion and the scale.  Ideally every family attending will help pay for the reunion though often times we see families letting the matriarch and patriarch go through on a free pass… They’ve done enough! If you are renting homes then you’d split up the cost of the homes amongst the families, have everyone chip in money for food and entertainment for the week and go off of that budget.  If you are having a large reunion where you are renting a facility, hiring caterers, a photographer, and entertainment well then your budget is going to be somewhat large and it can be quite a financial burden for families especially if they are traveling from far away and having to pay to fly their family to the venue and for a hotel while local families don’t have to share in that cost.  Assess how you want to pay for everything and discuss it with family members during the planning process.  You don’t want to leave a section of your family out because they can’t afford to attend so try to figure out what might work for everyone.


Once you have your dates finalized and your budget set you can now start to look for a location for this reunion.  Whether it’s a back yard, a local park, a professional event space, or renting some beach side homes it really all comes down to what you are looking for.  When renting a space or homes try to conducer a location that is convenient for out of town guests.  As much as I love vacationing in the Outer Banks, NC it is really hard to get family members there considering the lack of a large airport in the vicinity for family members who are very far away so that might not be an ideal location.  If you are renting a professional space it might be a good idea to have it close to the hotel venue so that out of town guests don’t need to rent cars to save them some money.


After you have your date, location, budget, and guest list finalized you can begin working on the activities.  Enlist other members of your family to help with this part! They know what your family likes too don’t think you need to do everything yourself.  You’ll be busy dealing with logistical details, communication, menus, and RSVPs so if you can outsource some of the activities planning why not do it?  You want to make sure everyone enjoys this trip this is their vacation too remember so make sure it’s fun for everyone!  Planning a family olympics or a just a day at the beach can be either easy or hard so ask for some help!

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