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Gathering Game Plan


Family reunions can be fun-filled, memory-making affairs that get all the generations together. Among families who plan reunions, half say they hold them every year or every other year, according to If you’re thinking about getting your crew together, it’s never too early to start planning. Pulling everything together can often take months — and sometimes a year or more.

So, how can you plan a meaningful family reunion that relatives of all ages will enjoy? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Survey your family. Before you begin planning your family reunion, get a gauge of your relatives’ preferences and interest in attending. Some questions to ask include where and when they’d like to get together.

Start different committees. While you may want to take the lead on planning, there’s no need for you to do all the work. Recruit relatives to oversee different aspects of the gathering, from the setting to the social events.

Set the budget. No one person should foot the bill for a family reunion. Typically, each family unit covers its own expenses. If you’re booking an event space or planning a party menu, be sure to alert each family about what their contribution will be.

Choose a theme. This can add a fun touch to the reunion and may inspire your far-flung relatives to attend. A theme also makes it easier to plan menus and activities. Your theme might revolve around a milestone birthday or anniversary, or you could choose one just for fun, like a tropical or carnival theme.

Determine the dates. Do you envision a weekend of fun, or would you like your family to gather for a longer time? A good rule of thumb is that the farther people must travel, the longer your reunion should last.

Select a location. You may want to hold your family reunion in a city convenient to most relatives. Alternatively, you could choose a destination like the mountains or beach.

Make your reservations. Unless your family plans to roll out the sleeping bags at Grandma’s house, it’s a good idea to book hotel rooms, cabins, or other accommodations.

Plan the activities. Once your crew gets together, what will everyone do? Start with some icebreakers, then make a list of games or activities your relatives would enjoy. Ideas include a scavenger hunt, water balloon toss, corn hole, or hula hooping contest.

Send out the invites. As soon as you have the venue and dates reserved, send formal invitations to your family members. This gives relatives more time to book travel, set aside vacation days, and prepare for the event.

Organizing a family reunion may seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning, you can create a festive event your relatives will remember for years to come.

When Should You Hold Your Family Reunion?

Summer is the most popular time of year for family reunions, but flights and accommodations can also be more expensive between June and September. If you’re looking to trim costs a bit, try holding your family reunion around:

A holiday. Whether you’re gathering for fireworks on Independence Day or a feast for Thanksgiving, holidays can be a great time to hold a family reunion. Your relatives may have an extra day or two off from work, making travel easier for out-of- town guests.

A special day or family milestone. This could be a grandparent’s birthday or anniversary. You might also plan a family reunion around another family gathering, like a wedding or graduation. Think about what special occasions your family members have coming up in the next year and try to plan a family reunion around those events.

A predetermined date. You may want to plan a family reunion around a set date. For example, you could hold your event the first weekend in September every year. This way, all your relatives know to save the date, whether you have the event yearly or every five years.


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