Your Midsize Family Reunion: A Planning Checklist

A week-by-week guide to help your family create a casual family reunion picnic, beach holiday, or state park gathering.
6 Months Before

A family reunion is a great way to gather your family together even as it is growing and changing. It's an opportunity to celebrate your family's history, recent achievements, and new additions. A picnic in the park, a beach-side barbecue, or a state park gathering are all casual venues that will attract even the most aloof family members for an afternoon of fun in the sun.

If you're planning a family reunion for about 100 people, you'll want to start your planning about six months in advance so you can drum up interest and enlist some deputies to help you pull it off. Here's a checklist to help you and your family get started!

6 Months Before

Determine interest of family members. Send out a family poll (by e-mail or by post) to gauge interest in a reunion, get an idea of how many people would attend, and find out what dates and locations would work best.

4 Months Before

Ask for help. You'll need to find dependable and enthusiastic relatives who could take charge of:

  • Finding a park, beach or other outdoor location for the event.
  • Planning a menu, assigning dishes and other food items to each family. Arranging for extra cooking and/or grilling facilities. Or finding a caterer.
  • Decorations, invitations, and signs: Putting one person in charge of printed materials will help ensure a consistent theme for the event.
  • Activities and entertainment: An athletic relative might take charge of the volleyball net and provide a boom box with music.
  • Family history: Putting together a family tree is a great way to incorporate your heritage into the event. You might also consider creating a small family newspaper to highlight recent family events, special facts, and history.
  • Photography and/or video: You'll want to record this event for posterity.
  • Cleanup: Solicit several folks for this massive task!

Research locations and facilities.

  • Research places that cater to a variety of interests, age levels, physical abilities, and financial resources.
  • Ocean or lakeside family parks are ideal; there are things to do on both water and on land -- activities to keep kids busy and lounging opportunities on the beach for grown-ups.
  • Many vacation areas and state parks have a "destination manager" who can help you with the details of your reunion.

Finalize the date and location. Find out what amenities will be available: drinking water, swimming pool, grilling facilities, changing rooms, indoor space (in case of rain), picnic tables, etc.

Finalize plans for reunion favors, video, family history pamphlet, or T-shirts. Family members will want something to remember this grand occasion.

  • Ask an artistic family member to design a T-shirt, hat, sweatshirt, or other personalized clothing item.
  • Pull together resources for your family history or video.
  • If you decide to give out favors, disposable cameras and matchboxes are two budget-friendly options that can be personalized for your event.

Continued on page 2:  3 Months Before