Family together after successfully learning how to plan a family reunion

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Memorable Family Reunion

Gathering with our family members is truly special as it allows us to stay connected, strengthen our relationships, and create unforgettable memories. 

However, between coordinating schedules, searching for venues, and planning meals, all of it can feel overwhelming. But with our experience in helping provide event space rentals for different types of special occasions, including family reunions, we’ve learned a few things about properly planning a family reunion, and we’re here to share this knowledge with you. 

Establishing a Purpose

What’s the purpose of your family coming together? Is it to celebrate something special or just a chance to reconnect? Having a purpose in mind can help you move forward as you plan. Popular reasons to host a reunion include milestones and special occasions, such as graduations, significant birthdays, and wedding anniversaries. So whether it’s a milestone or just an excuse to get the whole family together, remember the purpose.

Forming the Dream Team: Your Planning Committee

The challenge of planning a successful family reunion calls for assembling a dedicated planning committee—a dream team of sorts. The two primary steps in forming this team involve selecting your team members and defining their roles and responsibilities.

Include a mix of individuals, including those who are detail-oriented for tasks like budgeting and creative minds for decor and activities. Be sure to involve members from different family branches to make sure everyone feels like they have a part in the event.

 Roles and Responsibilities

When assigning tasks, consider what needs to be accomplished, such as selecting a venue, handling finances, and coordinating food and drinks. Assign roles based on the strengths and interests of each committee member. Having clearly defined roles ensures a balanced workload and creates a sense of accountability.

Setting the Date: Timing is Everything

The date and time decision has far-reaching effects on attendance. Some family members may have work commitments, while others may have school schedules or prior engagements to consider.

Balancing Various Schedules

One practical approach is to initiate a survey among family members to find preferable dates or periods. Tools like Doodle or Google Forms can be pretty handy for this. Remember that it might be impossible to find a date that works for everyone, but aim for a date that works for most family members. 

Importance of Early Planning

Setting the reunion date well in advance gives family members ample time to clear their schedules and make necessary travel arrangements. Ideally, aim to finalize the date at least six months to a year in advance. Early planning can lead to better attendance and reduce last-minute cancellations. It allows people to plan their vacations around the reunion or arrange for time off work if necessary.

Estimating Costs: The Real Deal

Expected costs associated with family reunions include venue rental, food and beverage, entertainment, decoration, invitations, transportation, and possibly accommodation. Additional costs such as event insurance, permits, and contingency funds should also be considered.

Begin by obtaining quotes for each cost element and tabulating them into a budget spreadsheet. Be realistic about what you can achieve. It’s better to plan a simpler reunion that everyone can afford than to plan an extravagant event that could burden some family members.

Strategies for Funding the Reunion

Consider how the reunion will be financed once you estimate the total cost. Here are a few strategies:

Per Family Contributions: Each family unit contributes an agreed-upon sum towards the reunion. This is often the most straightforward approach.

Fundraising Events: Organize fundraising activities leading up to the reunion. These can be fun family events like bake sales, garage sales, or fun runs.

Sponsorships: Some families can secure sponsorships from businesses in their community, particularly if the reunion has a large number of attendees.

Savings Plan: Start a family reunion savings fund. If you plan the reunion well in advance, regular contributions from family members can add up over time.

Open communication about costs helps ensure that all family members are on the same page and willing to contribute to the event’s success.

Choosing the Venue

Your selected venue should accommodate your event’s size and needs and be easily accessible and comfortable for all family members.

Scouting Potential Locations

When searching for potential venues, consider the following aspects:

Size: The venue should be large enough to accommodate all attendees comfortably. Be sure to account for space for activities, dining, and relaxation.

 Facilities: Does the venue have restrooms, a kitchen or BBQ area, and suitable spaces for your planned activities? Is there parking, and is it adequate for your group’s size?

 Location: Choose a place that is central or equidistant for most attendees. Take into account the travel time and ease of reaching the venue.

Cost: The rental price of the venue should fit within your established budget.

 Availability: Check whether the venue is available on your preferred date. Some popular locations may require bookings well in advance.

Comfort and Accessibility

Will your venue be comfortable and accessible for all ages? For older attendees, look for a location with minimal stairs or steep hills, and check if the venue provides wheel-chair-friendly paths or ramps. 

For families with young children, consider whether there’s a safe area where kids can play. Proximity to medical facilities can also be a plus in case of emergencies.

Sending Out Invitations: The Official Call

Once you’ve set the date and secured the venue, it’s time to extend an official invitation to your family members. This stage is more than a simple invite; it’s the official call to action and the beginning of the excitement-building phase for your family reunion.

Creating Invitations

Crafting the perfect invitation is part art, part science. It needs to convey all the necessary details while also encapsulating the spirit of the event. 

Basic Information: At a minimum, your invitation should clearly state the event’s purpose, date, time, location, and other pertinent details, such as accommodation options and planned activities. 

Invitation Design: Aesthetically, your invitation should reflect the reunion’s theme or ambiance. 

Managing RSVPs

When sending out invitations, always include a method for recipients to RSVP. Digital invitations often include automated RSVP functions, which simplifies this process. Follow up with those who have yet to respond as the event draws closer so you can finalize numbers for things like food and seating. 

Organizing Food and Beverages

No family reunion is complete without a feast. Proper planning in this area guarantees that everyone can enjoy the experience fully.

Deciding Between Potluck, Catered, or BBQ

There are various ways to approach the food and beverages for your family reunion, each with its considerations.

Potluck: Potlucks can lessen the financial and logistical burden and add an element of surprise to the meal. Each family member can bring a dish, preferably one that holds special meaning or is a family favorite. Communication is key – make sure everyone knows what they should get to prevent repetition and ensure a balanced meal.

Catered: Opting for a caterer can reduce stress and workload. However, it is the most costly option. If budget allows, choose a caterer who offers a diverse menu and is willing to accommodate dietary restrictions.

 BBQ: This option is often a crowd-pleaser and encourages an informal and relaxed atmosphere. 

Catering to Dietary Restrictions and Preferences

From food allergies to vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, and religious or health restrictions, you should make every effort to accommodate these in your meal planning. Include a section in your RSVP for attendees to note any dietary restrictions. If you opt for a potluck, make sure everyone labels their dishes, especially those that contain common allergens.


The family reunion may have ended, but the spirit of connection should continue.

Sharing Photos and Videos

One option to share family photos and videos is to create a shared online album using platforms such as Google Photos, iCloud, or Dropbox. This way, all family members can contribute their own pictures and videos and access them at any time.

Consider creating a highlight reel or a digital scrapbook of the reunion that includes photos, snippets of videos, and fun quotes from the day. 

The Reward of a Successful Reunion

Planning and executing a successful family reunion can be challenging, but the reward is invaluable. It was an occasion to reconnect, celebrate, and create new memories.

Host your Next Family Reunion at Onboard Coworking

Hosting your next family reunion just got easier with Onboard Coworking in El Monte, CA. Our shared office space center offers an event venue that provides both indoor and outdoor spaces along with amenities like audio/visual equipment, flexible seating, and ample parking. 

Catering to all your family’s needs, we offer customizable 1500 square feet indoor and an optional 3000 square feet patio, together accommodating up to 100 guests. Affordable hourly rates and full-day rental discounts make it budget-friendly. Start planning today by booking at Onboard Coworking and experience a joyful reunion of celebration and reconnection.