This Blue Dress got together with the Crouch family for a reunion in July–our first time with the whole family since 2014! When you have seven kids in your family, every gathering becomes a big party! This time we were a party of 22. Some of us have also been part of reunions with 100+ family members. We’re excited to share our best tips for planning a large family event or reunion!
Plan Your Accommodations Carefully
Choosing a gathering place for your reunion is one of the first steps in your planning (besides picking your dates of course). We suggest considering four important aspects for your accommodations:
Try to give individual families their own space if possible, especially those with young children. This gives families a chance to reset between activities and helps everyone get better sleep.
2. Gathering Place
It’s a reunion–you’ll want to spend lots of time together! Make sure your accommodations have a great space to hang out comfortably with the entire group (ideally both an indoor and an outdoor space depending on the weather).
3. Proximity to activities
Choose a place to stay that is close to all of your planned activities so you don’t spend the majority of your time traveling back and forth. Or host your reunion at a resort, campground, or similar location with lots to do on site!
Consider your overall budget when making your reservations and how your choice will affect travel, food, and activity expenses.
We spent part of our most recent family reunion in Saint Louis, Missouri at a fun Harry Potter themed AirBnB. It was a great match for our family’s needs. I’ve also enjoyed larger family reunions in a large family cabin in Midway, Utah and smaller cabins in Loma Linda, California.
Our family also loves any chance to get together at our parents’ homes with all of our siblings and their families!
Have a Reunion Itinerary
This is essential for a successful family reunion! After all of the effort to be together, you don’t want to spend your time asking “what are we going to do?”
Itinerary How To
- Create an official calendar with arrival/departure information and activities that everyone is invited/expected to attend. It’s easiest if one person is in charge of this calendar, with everyone having input into what activities are included.
- Depending on the size of your group, you might need to plan your itinerary in 30-minute increments (for larger groups), by the hour, or morning/afternoon/evening activities.
- Include addresses and times for activities and any other pertinent information (ticket info, parking, rendezvous points, etc.)
- Our family loves using the Groupme app daily to share pictures and keep in touch. This app was perfect for discussing reunion plans.
- We also created a master list of activities that people could add to anytime. That way these activities could be added to open time slots on the itinerary.
- Plan a variety of activities for the entire group and a mix of other games or events geared toward children, teens, and adults so everyone feels included.
- For large multi-generational family reunions where family members may not know everyone, family pictures with labeled names and a list of phone numbers are so helpful!
- Don’t forget to reserve downtime in your schedule for just relaxing together and visiting!
Make a Meal Plan
You don’t want any hangry feelings disrupting your fun! A meal plan will save you so much time and money. List every breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your reunion and decide who is responsible for the preparations and cost. Be sure to make plans for anyone with food allergies!
For our most recent reunion, our dad made a master grocery list after planning each meal on Excel (including restaurant/fast food stops). It worked great!
Be as detailed as possible in your meal plan. If you’re going to order pizzas, try to gather the order ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling to ask everyone right before dinner. Keep snacks, drinks, and sandwich fixings available for the munchies. You may also want to consider catering or resort options with meal plans to save preparation time.
I’ve also gone to a family reunion where each family was assigned one or two meals to plan and prepare for the group. Everyone enjoyed this style because no one was stuck in the kitchen the entire time preparing meals, and it helped share the food expense.
Plan to be Flexible
Even with fabulous master plans, you’ll need to be prepared to be flexible when you’re with a large group. We’ve dealt with the stomach flu, flat tires, incorrect reservations, and more during reunions. Try to “go with the flow” and enjoy your special time together even with mishaps. Sometimes the difficult moments can become some of the funniest or most treasured memories!
Have backup plans whenever possible for events that can change due to weather, timing, or other factors.
Record Some Memories
If you have the time and budget to get some professional photographs or video of your reunion, please do so! These will most likely be the tangible reminders of your special time together. Even a quick snapshot of everyone together will be precious! You can also make other memorabilia together like scrapbooks, t-shirts, or picture frames. Reunions are a sweet time to interview family members or work on family history.
Planning a reunion can be a lot of work, but we know it’s worth it to spend time together with your favorite people! Do you have any family reunion questions or tips? Please share them below!
We hope you have a blast at your next family gathering!