picnic buffet at family reunion

What better time to host a family reunion than during the summer months when you can enjoy being outside together and maybe even use up some of those vacation days to make a long weekend of it? Many families have a longstanding tradition of an annual family reunion that is attended by relatives from coast to coast. Other families might just now be considering starting their own family tradition and are looking for some help getting started.

No matter where you and your family fall on the spectrum of reunions, planning an event that brings everyone together is a very exciting venture! To help provide some inspiration, we have compiled a list of our expert event planning tips – take a look!

Pick a space large enough for your family

For a smaller family reunion, someone’s backyard space might provide enough room. But more often than not, you are going to want to consider renting a bigger facility to ensure everyone has enough space to spread out. Local parks are a popular venue for just such an occasion. They often provide pavilions to keep guests out of the sun – or the rain.

If you want to take things up a notch, you might consider a reception hall or banquet facility, but keep in mind these are often much more expensive and you might be limited as to what food and drink you can bring in on your own.

Most importantly, remember that with the right rental items, you can turn a bare outdoor space into a really unique venue at a fraction of the cost – and with a lot more character!

Have a rain plan

Even during the sunny summer months, rain storms have a way of blowing in and ruining plans if you don’t have a backup option. Take this helpful advice for crafting a Plan B. It’s smart to reserve items like a tent, pavilion or indoor space in advance – even if you are not sure you will need them. By the time you have to make the call to move the venue under roof, it could be too late to rent these things.

Another option is to set a rain date that will allow you to push the event back a week or so to try again for a sunny day. Be mindful of guests who might be traveling by announcing this change as early as possible so they can adjust their plans.

Rent tables, chairs and linens

A family reunion is quite literally inviting everyone to whom you are related over to your house at the same time. This is likely going to require many more linens, tables and chairs than what you already have lying around. Rather than making the hefty investment to buy your own folding chairs and tables – and then get stuck with having to store them all the other days of the year – consider renting these items! You can change the quantity from year to year based upon your RSVPs and you can even mix up the styles and colors you use to create different themes.

Keep decorations simple and meaningful

Decorations are a nice touch for any family reunion, but they don’t need to break the bank. Think of what talents and resources family members may be able to contribute. Does someone have a garden and could supply some potted plants as a centerpiece? Or does someone know how to sew table runners that you could use year after year? Not only are these options more cost-effective, they will also make each decoration that much more personal to your family.

Appoint someone as the “photographer”

Anyone with a smart phone has a camera on them at any given moment; however unless you appoint someone as the designated photographer for the reunion, you will likely miss many photo opportunities and not know how to track down the photos that were taken. Ask your family if anyone enjoys taking photos or has a nice camera they could lend for the day. After the event, post them online and share with your guest list. The people who attended will love seeing memories from the day and the people who could not attend will still get to share in the experience. Ask someone new to take on this role each year so more people can share in the fun!

Plan a few games and activities to keep people interested throughout the day

A family reunion is mostly spent talking and catching up with one another. But a few planned out activities will be a welcome burst of energy to keep things exciting. Think of games that “kids” of all ages can play and that don’t require too many props. BINGO and lawn games like horseshoes or corn hole are classics that people can play all day.

Make it less stressful by working with professionals

No matter how you divide up the responsibilities, planning a family reunion of any size will require some work. Everything prior to the event can be spaced out enough that it doesn’t becoming too overwhelming for one person, but the day of the event might require some outside help. Allow your guests (and you!) to fully enjoy the day by hiring professionals to assist with setting up the tables and chairs at your venue, organizing the food and replenishing the buffet table. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen and miss out on the memories. Allow some hired help to pull off the final details while you relax!

Do you plan an annual family reunion? Share some of your tips and tricks for planning a great event by commenting below!



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