Family Reunion Planning In 2024
A family reunion could be one of the most exciting gatherings that everyone can have. Though overwhelming at times, especially during the recipe preparations, it is still safe to say that it is worth every sweat and tear.
How to Plan and Host a Family Reunion Potluck
To host a family reunion potluck, it is expected that everyone should be involved and have knowledge of the details – time, location, list of guests, theme, and importantly, the list of recipes, drinks, and dishes that they can choose to bring.
See How to keep food and drinks cool for a crowd here.
Potluck is a smart way of minimizing the stress during the preparation and could be the smartest way of throwing a party for a large gathering since everyone is assured to have plenty of food to feed the whole group.
In this article, we are giving you helpful tips and suggestions on how to host a family reunion potluck that will make your family members want to attend.
It is interesting to note that there is a new craze or trend of a virtual family reunion.
How do you organize a family reunion party?
Before anything else, make sure that everything on the to-do-list below is delegated. It wouldn’t be nice to do everything on your own and get tired even before the family gathering has started. Recruit volunteers and key persons from family members to have the best family reunion planning.
Here are the tips for your successful family reunion:
1. Reconnect and consult with family members
Reaching out to your family members before you even start a family reunion planner is the best thing to do to have an idea of what they want. Also, we are pretty sure that not all of the members live in the same states or country. So, take note of their preferred dates or holiday vacations, and take note of who those who are willing to come. You could put one person in charge of this or even consider a reunion committee – that certainly gets more buy-in for a large group – as if an attendee is involved in this they will work to make it a success. You may even consider creating a reunion website – send us an email and we will give you some options on this for as little as $100.00.
This is also your perfect chance to reach out to those who are far away and you have not seen in a long time. Take time to invite them and talk about why you are celebrating the reunion. After that, have a sign-up sheet to know exactly who is coming and how many they are. A sign-up sheet should include:
For convenience, have the sheet in an online platform such as Google Sheets or MS Excel to easily send and receive, plus update. These are also great for a family reunion checklist, assist greatly in the planning process and stop duplicate recipes and food.
Everybody, not just the reunion committee should have access, at least read access to the sign-up sheet. That way a person can check back for them see any changes made to the details.
Lastly, make some consideration for their special requests. Some might have preferred dates or venue locations. Take note of the dates to avoid, including graduations, wedding anniversaries, or other events unless they are willing to give way for the family gathering.
2. Choose a date and location
After consulting everyone, make sure that the date and location are convenient for everyone. Let us start first with the date.
If your family gathering is in time for big holidays of the year like Christmas, Labor Day, or the fourth of July, chances are many will be able to attend since most of the family members will be together for the holiday anyway. Another suggestion is, you could celebrate it in the summer months because it is easier for families who have children to attend. Also, summer is perfect weather to enjoy and go outdoors for activities. However, take note that the summer season is one of the peak seasons for resorts, parks, and other venues, hence expect to have higher rates for the locations.
For the locations, here are some suggestions that you can consider depending on your budget and preferences. These are the places that you can choose from:
If it is large enough to host everyone during the event, then why not? Aside from saving expenses and convenient for a large potluck, there’s no other place to feel at home than in your family’s place. However, you have to consider the egress time. Make sure that there are people assigned to fix and clean the area to make it less hassle for the homeowners.
A backyard gathering is also cost-efficient. You could have it in someone else’s home or your own backyard. This kind of location for family gatherings would need backyard tents, a stage, tables and chairs, grilling stations, and a certain place for the oldies to chill and rest.
Campgrounds are perfect for outdoor venue for large gatherings and even safe for children. If you want to create a memory where everyone can be accommodated and have a spacious place, then this one is for you. More than having a good value for money, it can also be a perfect place to set up tents, DIY cabins, covered pavilions, portable swimming pools, and more.
Campgrounds can also host outdoor group activities such as biking, wall climbing, stargaze, and cocktail parties at night. If you wish to have this location, it is better to look for one that offers group camping options.
Destination reunions are perfect for families who are willing to travel far and have extra budgets. Though this kind of location will take more time, it can still be a perfect way for families to bond while traveling. This can be like a beach town, state park, ski resort, cabin,etc. Staying in bed and breakfast, lodges, and Airbnb’s can help you save money. Remember, a destination reunion needs well-planned activities.
3. Decide a theme
These are just a few of the family reunion gatherings that you can choose from.
- All-sport or Olympic party
- Five ingredients or less theme
- All one colored food
- A taste of home
- Night in the city
- Movie Nights
- Grandma’s signature dishes
- Family’s comfort food
- A taste of the Mediterranean
Having a theme makes the event more fun and easier, especially in choosing the food and clothes to bring. Also, a themed family reunion can influence the activities, decorations, and location. You can even make your own theme that your families once had or something that the oldies can enjoy and make them want to attend.
4. Make a list of food, drinks, and supplies
First, take note that when you are having a family reunion potluck, it is important to make a list of your families’ special requests, especially with foods and drinks. Some may have an allergy or some may have special diets. To take into consideration, ask each of the families about their health concerns before writing down the food and drink lists.
And as mentioned above, included in the sign-up sheet should be the list of food that they can choose to bring that is in accordance with the theme or you can also ask them what they want to bring to make sure that they are free to choose with whatever is suited to their budget as well as a potluck with popular family recipes.
Also, make a list of supplies that everyone should bring or you can opt for the planners to provide it themselves. These should include the basic ones like:
- paper cups
- paper plates
- spoons and forks
- table napkins
- hygiene kits
5. Plan the family reunion activities and entertainment for the entire family
A fun activity during the family or large crowd gathering is the key to having a memorable event. To achieve this, you have to keep in mind that everyone should be able to participate and relate. Here are some of the entertaining activities that you can do:
As much as possible, try to incorporate family histories in every game to make it suitable for everyone. It can also be a smart way of knowing more about everyone and their specific family histories. You can have trivia questions for families. For example, ask questions like, “Who is the youngest family member here?” or “Who is still living in the ancestral house?”
This is a good activity for separating your families into teams and make them work together. You can either have Uno cards, Euchre or Gin Rummy, Phase 10, or a scavenger hunt and as a large group drawing your family tree.
These are also great group games to get acquainted with each other. Make sure to involve your whole family and make them engage in a conversation that paves a way to make them know more about each other. Ask them to write intriguing facts about themselves ahead of time, such as “I was engaged last year” or “I currently own an heirloom from our great grandmother.”
If your place has a pool, then make use of it to hold your cocktails and night swimming. This would be fun for a kid or younger ones. After a time you will likely generate your own family traditions which people look forward to as a fun activity next year.
A talent night could be fun for large groups. Make way for the oldies to sing their favorite classic songs, the younger ones to show their TikTok dancing skills, and your clever uncle who has a bunch of funny old jokes.
Consider hiring professional magicians for kids, musicians, or comedians for your family reunions. Let them handle the entertaining while you chill and have your meal.
Set up a kiddie station for children to enjoy during the family reunion. You can spoil them with unlimited ice creams, candies, or chocolates. You can also set up several board games and blocks for them to play. And do not forget the family photo.
So you get the idea – coming up with family reunion ideas can be fun, part of the planning checklist and do not forget to take into account elderly relatives.
6. Send invitations
As soon as you have decided the date, venue, and guest list, send out an invitation several weeks or even months prior to the event. You can send either traditional paper or digital invitations, depending on what is convenient for you. Also, consider creating a social media group like a potluck Facebook private group to easily contact and announce details.
Make sure to give your family members all the details of the family reunion potluck to give them more time to prepare for the event. Invite all the extended family members and never send out invitations at the last instant.
What is the easiest thing to bring to a potluck for a memorable family reunion?
If you have a theme to follow, bring whatever food is suitable for the event. But if you do not know what to bring, here is a list of the easiest things to bring to a potluck that your family members will surely love for dinner, lunch, or just snacks at their potluck meal.
- Taco salad
- Cheese Or Chocolate buns – See Our Recipe here
- Baked Garlic Parmesan Puffs
- Pasta Salad for 50 guests
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Green Beans (see how many per person)
- Parmesan chicken wings
- Ham, cheese, and spinach puffs
- Veggie spring rolls
- Buttery vanilla shortbreads
- Chips and salsa
- Cheddar corn dog mini muffins
- Grilled steaks – See our Ribeye Steak Recipe Here
- Ham and cheese pizza roll-ups
What should you not bring to a potluck?
As mentioned above, consider your family members who have food allergies or who are on a special diet. So, it would be better to bring foods that are beneficial to them. Here is a list of the worst food that you can bring to a potluck:
- KFC & Krispy Kreme
- Cold Canned Vegetables
- Pre-sampled Dish
- One Bottle of Wine
- Carob Brownies
Before anything else, remember the reason why you are getting together and choose your reunion location well with easy parking and lots space and one real great main dish. More than taking a break from work or school, make it a meaningful time to spend with your loved ones. Do not get stressed and overwhelmed with the preparation process. Sure, there could be last-minute hiccups or problems along the way but remember that the planning is not about perfection, it is about making memories with your family.
Also, before the guests leave from the family reunion, you might want to do a survey and see which part of the event you can improve and which part did they enjoy the most. Ask them a list of ideas that they want for the next potluck reunion. It would be a great improvement for you if you do this, it might be more genealogy, a reunions magazine or a random idea from a cousin that makes your next gathering special.
See some food ideas for cooking for lots and lots of people.