Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are You In Charge of Planning a Family Reunion?

Family reunions and picnics seem to have been made for one another.  They both require people, food, and are most often held outdoors.

Picnics and reunions are a cost effective and fun tradition.  Themes are a great way to make each year unique.  Often the location chosen will help guide the theme and types of games or activities.

It's a relaxing way for everyone to come together and it's also a good excuse to see each other more than once a year!

Things to Consider When Planning a Family Reunion:

  1. Choose a date that is convenient for the majority of attendees
    • Choose three possible time frames; spring break, summer, winter break
  2. Choose a location - outside venues are typically the least expensive and will hold the largest number of people
  3. Consider overnight accommodations such as inexpensive hotels or camp grounds
  4. Select a site with plenty of shade
  5. A pool, river, ocean, nature trails, and playground facilities are great options with "built-in" activities
  6. Restroom facilities at or near your picnic area 
  7. Day or weekend reunion to enable the visit to be the most cost or time effective 
  8. Have a backup plan or location for a rainy day/weekend
  9. Have a theme so you can coordinate gifts, invitations, decorations, games, food, music, etc.

 Ask for help!

  • How much should each family contribute?  Will there be additional expenses?
  • Welcome gifts
    • This could include a welcome note, itinerary, sunscreen, local area souvenir (magnets, pens, notepad), T-shirt or visor, beach towel, sand shovel kit (beach), flip-flops, personalized family reunion CD, etc...
  • Who will be the Activity Coordinator?
  • Will there be T-Shirts or other memorabilia?
  • Who will be in charge of the Prizes?
    • Everyone loves prizes - even those who don't participate in activities.  What about best pie or BBQ sauce?
  • Who will be the Photographer?
    • Candid photos
    • Family photos
    • Group photos
  • Will there be an MC for the day?
  • Does someone enjoy scrap booking?  Have everyone contribute something such as a recipe, write about a favorite family memory, what they are thankful for, a drawing, or favorite picture and create a book to send everyone or each family afterwards as a reminder of their time together.
  • Who will Plan the Menu?
    • Where is the best place locally to buy groceries and supplies?
    • Is there a kitchen?
    • Where is the closest place to buy ice?
  • Will there be a Decorating Committee?
  • What about a Clean-up Committee?

What You Will Need:

  • Find out what items can be brought and what items need to be purchased or rented locally
  • Portable BBQ sets
  • Games or Activities
  • Cater the Picnic or have each family bring something (plates, serving and eating utensils, food, salads, trash bags, drinks)
  • Pop-up tents
  • Water - for drinking and cleaning
  • Additional picnic tables, chairs, blankets
  • Sunscreen
  • Music


  • Games
    • Family Charades
    • Red Light, Green Light
    • Red Rover
    • 3-Legged Race
    • Balloon Toss
    • Musical Chairs
  • Guess Who? Baby photos
  • Silent "auctions"
  • Have each person bring a wrapped gift.  In return they are given 1/2 a card or ticket and the other 1/2 goes into a bucket for a drawing
  • Family themed Trivia
  • A fun  way to encourage people to talk with other members of the family they may not know is to see who can remember the most names and match them with the person
  • Visor or T-Shirt Decorating
  • Craft Table

Put on your thinking cap, pull out your calendar, gather phone numbers and emails and get ready to relax, laugh, and make memories with the people you love the most!

How did you plan your last family reunion?  Did you do everything through the internet or did you use traditional methods?  Did you set up a website where everyone could interact prior to the big event?

What would you do the same and what would you do differently next time?

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