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Back to Basics Family Reunion Planning

As we approach July 4th weekend, summer celebrations and family vacations are in full swing. Combine the two and you’ve got a family reunion — one of the most popular types of celebrations during the summer months. With family reunions comes lots of planning and potentially lots of stress and anxiety.

The warmer months are a great time to plan a family for a reunion! The weather is nice, people generally have more flexibility with vacation schedules, traveling is much easier, and the options for planning a family reunion are endless!

Organizing a family reunion might seem like a daunting task, but once you get all of the pieces in place it’s not much different from planning any type of event. It also helps to have a family reunion planning checklist to keep you organized.

For tips on how to plan a family reunion, use this checklist from familyreunionhelper.com and punchbowl.com to keep organized.

  • Date Selection: When you schedule the family reunion, keep in mind that you want the most people to attend as possible. Summer is a busy time for family vacations, weddings, and other events so date selection is likely going to be the most challenging part of your planning. Fortunately, Punchbowl makes it easy to find the best date for a large group with our Date Decider feature. Propose a few dates, then send your Date Decider to each family. Once family members respond, you’ll be given the ideal date for the family reunion.
  • Guest List: Build the guest list for your family reunion. This will include extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and beyond. The size of your guest list will inform what type of venue you will need. Once you have the guest list prepared, send an online Save the Date to make sure guests put the date on their calendars.

  • Location: Family reunion venues are everywhere. Just think of places that can hold a large group, provide food and drinks, and has room for activities. Some of the best family reunion places are outdoor venues, such as a beach or state park. State parks are great because there’s open space for frisbee, crochet, and other outdoor games. They often have swimming and hiking/biking trails as well. Another plus: they’re usually pet-friendly. Contact your local state parks to check on availability for a big group before finalizing a date.
  • Choose a Theme: A family reunion doesn’t have to have a theme to be successful but creating a theme for a family reunion is a great way to interest people and make them more likely to attend. A reunion invitation that invites you to a “Prehistoric” reunion for Brontosaurs burgers is more interesting than an invitation that invites you  to a family reunion at “the park”. It also makes things more fun when it comes to being imaginative with food, games, activities, invitations and just about every other aspect of the reunion. 
  • Invitations: Once you have the date and location finalized, send the family reunion invitations. In addition to basic details such as the date and time, include a map for guests who are coming from out of town. You can also include a list of activities and suggest that guests bring certain items such as beach chairs if the event will be outdoors. Punchbowl.com is a website that can help you with your family reunion or party invitations.  With their fun online options you can easily send out your reunion invitations and keep track of the RSVPs.

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  • Food/Drinks: Get everyone involved in the meal planning with a potluck list. Use Punchbowl’s Potluck feature to first add everything you think you’ll need to the potluck list (make sure to include things like cups and plates), and easily let everyone sign up to bring items when they respond to your online invitation. In addition to RSVPs, you’ll have what they’re bringing (in case you need to remind them before the event). You can also create a section of your Potluck list for additional items such as blankets, chairs, frisbees, etc.
  • Favors: Family reunions are often special events that occur infrequently. Mark the occasion with a special family reunion party favor that guests can take home to remember the event. Great ideas for family reunion favors include personalized T-shirts with your family name and the date of the reunion or custom beach towels with the name of the event and the date.
  • Games & Activities: For the best family reunion games and activities check out Aunt Mo’s blog and the “Family Fun” drop down at www.familyreunionhelper.com/
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If you follow these basic guidelines for planning a family reunion, you will be well on your way to creating wonderful memories for your family. You can add some of your own touches depending on the venue you choose. For example, bunches of balloons can be added to create a festive atmosphere. You could hire a caterer to host a clambake if you don’t want to ask your guests to bring items. Find ways to make it your own and make it personal for your family members!

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