Family reunions provide an opportunity to gather family members from far and wide, renew old relationships, and meet some family members you may not even know. The keys to a successful family reunion are planning and preparation. In this article we will give you a list of tasks necessary for organizing your family reunion. We will help you define and delegate the tasks that must be done for your family reunion. Next, we have a selection of themes and ideas to make your family reunion the best ever. Additionally, we suggest some sayings and slogans you might wish to use for your family reunion. Using our article will provide you everything you need to make the planning and preparation of your family reunion easy and fun!
Table of Contents
Planning Your Family Reunion
Planning is essential for a successful family reunion and necessary whether you have only your immediate, local family members, or the entire extended family attending. Begin your family reunion plan as soon as you start thinking about getting everyone together. You want to try to have a least a year to get everything pulled together. This allows family members to put the reunion on their calendars far in advance of the date. Your reunion plan should include the following:
- Picking a date, time, and place
Get input from family members by using a questionnaire. No date you pick will be perfect for everyone, but you want to get enough input that the majority of your family members will be able to attend. Provide a choice of three possible dates and places and go with the one the majority picks. Start early, a least one year before your reunion.
- Creating a guest list
Make sure you do not leave anyone out. This can be a bit tricky if divorces and family feuds must be taken in to consideration.
- Choosing a family reunion theme, slogan, or saying and any colors you plan to use
You will be basing many of your decisions on theme, slogan, and colors chosen. Once you have made a choice, stick to it, as you want your reunion to be consistent in appearance and design.
- Sending out invitations
Include an RSVP so you will know how many attendees to expect. Include anticipated costs to allow family members to plan ahead. You may wish to ask for a small donation upfront to help defray initial expenses.
- Sending out periodic updates in a newsletter or emails to keep attendees informed
Letting your family know plans ahead of time is polite and avoids problems. Get t-shirt sizes, food preferences, and share accommodation and wardrobe requirements early.
- Ordering food, considering possible allergies and food preferences
You need to decide what will be served when and arrange for catering or purchase paper and plastic ware for good service. If you are having guests bring food or drink, communicate needs early and get commitments from those attending.
- Choosing games and activities and purchase any supplies you will need
You need games and activities for every age. Some will be related to your theme or slogan. For example, if you have chosen a movie, such as Star Wars or a movie star, such as John Wayne, you can have a movie marathon playing during the reunion. Be sure to arrange for trips, paid entertainment, and other such group activities far enough in advance for all to participate.
Delegating Tasks for the Family Reunion
It takes a great deal of time and effort to pull off a successful family reunion. The task is usually too much for one individual. You need to be organized and enlist help. Additionally, having others participate in the planning gives others ownership of the decisions made and helps to create a reunion diversified enough to please most participants.
Make a list of tasks to be accomplished and ask for volunteers. Provide folders for each committee head and make sure committee heads and members write everything down and include dates and times where necessary. Suggested reunion job areas are:
Invitation and Correspondence Coordinator
- Sends out invitations and keeps track of RSVPs
- Collects written account of family history from attendees, if appropriate
- Communicates all reunion related updates
- Opens an account for reunion monies
- Makes the budget
- Allocates funds and keeps diligent records
- Keeps receipts for money spent
- Secures reservations for out of town guests
- Finds group discounts
- Makes arrangement for lodging with local families if necessary
Food Ordering and Procurement
- Creates menu and orders food
- Arranges for catering or organizes a potluck
- Plans activities and games for all age groups
- Books any paid for entertainment, such as a band or DJ
- Creates name tags
- Prepares a guest book
- Handles registration at the reunion
Family Reunion Themes
Choose a theme for your reunion to help everyone get excited and prepared for their family reunion experience. Think about your family – what they love, the activities they participate in, and predominant ages of family members. Also, consider the time of year as that can influence many of your family reunion decisions. For example, a picnic or barbeque works best in warmer weather, but a skiing and sledding experience needs cold and snow. We have four suggested categories, but the number of possible themes is truly endless.
Season or Time of Year
Planning your family reunion during a certain time of year often makes sense. Summer vacation time works well if your family consists of many school-aged children. Some families travel during winter holidays, spring break, or at Easter. These also make excellent times for family reunions. Plan your colors, activities, and games around your theme. For example, use pastel colors at Easter and have an Easter egg hunt. Decorate a tree at Christmas and have a gift exchange.
It is always fun to recount the past exploits and adventures of family members. Additionally, young family members should become familiar with their roots. You might wish to do some research into family history and find any famous or interesting relatives. Prior to the reunion, encourage family members to write down what they know of family history to share at the reunion party. Make a scrapbook of all the information. You can even self-publish a family history for everyone who attends.
Cultural, Nationality, or Ethnic Theme
Some families like to use their culture or ethnic origin as a theme. For example, if many members of your family came from an Eastern European country, using colors and foods from that nation might evoke fond memories. However, you do not have to be from a country to enjoy an ethnic theme. A Mexican fiesta, Hawaiian luau, or Italian food festival all provide fun and awesome food choices.
Birthday or Anniversary Celebration
A milestone birthday or anniversary is an ideal time for a family reunion. Maybe Grandma is turning ninety-five and would love to be surrounded by her extended family. Fortieth, fiftieth, and even longer marriages require recognition, a perfect time for a family reunion. It is fun to keep the party a secret but doing so may be difficult if there will be a large group of people in attendance. You may wish to have a collective gift, such as a cruise for the couple or a special treat for a grandparent in lieu of individual gifts.
Family Reunion Ideas
There is a plethora of family reunion ideas available. We have included those we believe are essential to a successful family reunion. Ask your committee heads and members to keep a list of their ideas and have regular communication to share ideas with everyone. People like to be involved in planning and soliciting and using their ideas is a good way to encourage their enthusiasm for your family reunion event. Try some or all of the following ideas for your family reunion:
- Your welcoming committee greets arriving guests and confirms accommodations.
- Have theme-imprinted freebies at registration, i.e. pens, notepads, water bottles.
- Make a welcome banner based on your theme.
- Create signs to designate areas of importance and direct guests to restrooms and other areas.
- Have an itinerary and/or agenda of planned activities.
- Have a large, blank, family tree each attendee can add their family information to.
- Provide t-shirts with the date of the reunion, family name, and slogan or theme.
- Encourage everyone to bring a favorite family recipe with a paragraph about how and when it was created or made and create a family reunion recipe book.
- Have everyone bring family pictures and anecdotes for a family scrapbook.
- Choose a theme song for your family reunion and play it often.
Picking a family reunion slogan or saying is similar to picking a theme. You want something original that applies to all the attendees. You can go with a serious, funny, or traditional family reunion saying– the choice is yours. Your family may have a song or movie you all love, a favorite color, or maybe your reunion is in a special place. Check our list of family reunion slogans and sayings to see if one fits your family. Add the name of your family and the date of the reunion (month and year) to the opposite side of the t-shirt.
Traditional Family Reunion Slogans
The easiest slogan to use is a traditional one, as it is less likely to offend and should appeal to every reunion attendee. Choose one of the following or create your own.
- Home Is Where the Family Is
- Strong Roots, New Leaves
- All You Need Is Love, And Family
- The Story of Our Lives
- Our Branches Spread Out, But Our Roots Are United
- A Gathering of Generations
- Tradition and Unity Build the _____ (family name) Family
- Passing Down Traditions and Memories
- Proud of the Past, Preparing for the Future
Religious Family Reunion Slogans
If your family members considered themselves religious, a family reunion slogan emphasizing their faith might be perfect. Choose pastel, peaceful colors and maybe a dove, cross, star of David, or another religious symbol.
- We Believe in God and Each Other
- Blessed Is the (last name) Family
- A Blessed Connection
- God and Jesus First, the (name) Family Next
- Family. One of Life’s Greatest Blessings!
- We Are a Family That Prays and Stays Together
Funny Family Reunion Slogans
Not every family has a collective sense of humor, so be careful you do not offend. Also, remember that children attend the family reunion, so keep the wording tasteful.
- We May Look Normal, But . . .
- We Are the People Your Mother Warned You About
- Our Roots Are Showing
- I Survived the (last name) Family Reunion
- It’s A (last name) Thing!
- Big Family, Big Feud!
- Family + Reunion = (Love, Drama, Hope, etc.)
- Crazy Is a Relative Term
- Our Family Tree Is Filled with Nuts
- Shake the _______ Family Tree and Watch the Nuts Fall Out
- We’re Not Normal, We’re _______ (family name)
- A Little Crazy, But Full of Love
Short Family Reunion Slogans
T-shirt companies frequently charge by the letter or the word, and if cost is a factor, these short family reunion slogans will serve you well.
- Together in Love
- A Family Connection
- We Are Awesome!
- Celebrate Family!
- Family Happens
- Reunion Survivor
- Team (family name)
Specialized Family Reunion Slogans
Your family reunion might have a special purpose, such as honoring an anniversary couple or celebrating a grandparent’s birthday. Perhaps your theme is a movie, book, or song you wish to base your slogan upon. You may be from a particular state or region you wish to emphasize, or all love something special. Try one of the following specialized family reunion slogans if it meets your needs.
- Country Roads, Take Me Home
- I Celebrated __________ Birthday (Anniversary)
- Family Fun in _________
- Star Wars Family
- I Am a Descendent of ________ (famous family member)
- Hail, Hail, the ________ Family’s All Here
- The ________ Family Loves (pizza, desserts, God, etc.)
After your reunion is over, make sure everyone stays in touch until the next one. Create a family newsletter, send group emails, or create a Web or Facebook page. Post pictures from your family reunion. Encourage everyone to update family news regularly. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other family milestones. And, begin planning your next big family reunion. Now that you have accomplished one, you will find the next easier one and more fun!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.