Entertaining

Family Reunions

Don’t be afraid to ask relatives for assistance. Accept their help!

Getting Started

  • Locate relatives: Ask other family members to help find everyone.
  • Select a date six months to a year in advance to allow for adequate planning.
  • Sleeping accommodations: Inventory the homes of local relatives. Consider:
    • Sleeping bags on the floor for kids
    • A guest room or two
    • Check local hotels for group rates
    • Campers
  • Where to hold the reunion:
    • Your home or another relative’s
    • Local church
    • Fraternal organization halls
    • City parks
    • Restaurant or hotel party rooms

Set the Mood

  • Ideas for invitations:
    • Collect a photo of the oldest member and the youngest member of the family. Attach photos to a piece of paper folded to make a card. Write general information in the card.
      • Suggested copy: “Let’s get everyone together from our newest member to our most respected.”

      Photocopy and send to every household.

    • Cut out a tree from brown construction paper for a family tree. Glue it to a white piece of paper. Write reunion details around the tree in green ink at angles to resemble leaves. Create one for each family, or photocopy in color for more copies.
    • Photocopy a genealogy chart. Reduce it to the size you need. Use it as the cover for your invitation.
  • Continue the mood or create a new one with the table decorations:
    • Cover tables with washable or sturdy paper cloths. They can represent Americana or your family’s ethnic background.
    • Decorate with large bunches of flowers on the serving tables. You may also want to decorate with arrangements of fruit.
    • Decorate eating tables with smaller bunches of flowers.
    • Silverware may be wrapped in paper napkins tied with ribbons for ease in carrying.

Menu: Great Food for a Great Get-Together

  • Plan a food and beverage budget taking into consideration the resources of all family members.
  • Ask family members to donate money, food, or beverages.
  • Build your menu to your budget.
  • Keep the menu simple. Choose familiar, easy-to-prepare recipes.
  • Use convenience foods when possible. Quick bread and cake mixes are great time savers.
  • Prepare and freeze items ahead of time. Quick breads, brownies, cakes and cookies can be frozen a few weeks ahead.
  • Cooking some family favorites together could be a reunion activity. You might:
    • Barbecue chicken, fish, beef, or pork
    • Deep-fry a turkey
    • Plan a pig roast
  • Plan extra food for snacking and meals for children.
  • Have a good supply of extra ice, 1 ½ lbs. per person.
  • Check all equipment and serving pieces needed for each menu item. Remember, you can borrow or rent items like large coffee urns, extra grills, even plates and silverware.

Family Fun: Let the Games Begin

  • Provide nametags, especially if some relatives won’t recognize each other. Give each family a different color tag.
  • Ask each relative to share a significant event from the last year or so.
  • Have T-shirts printed with the names of all the family members and the date of the reunion. Ask for donations to pay for the shirts.
  • Delegate someone to organize kids’ games.
  • Delegate someone to bring balls and equipment for adult games.