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Family Reunion Planning Tips and Checklist

Michele Meleen
Woman using family reunion planning checklist

Planning a family reunion of any size takes serious organizational skills. Make your event the best one yet by using this free, printable checklist.

Planning Checklist

Whether you're hosting a traditional family reunion in your hometown or something more exotic like a reunion cruise, a checklist helps you keep all the guests and activities in order. Click on the checklist image below and select the download icon. Print your checklist and fill in the details as you plan. If you have any issues accessing the printable, check out the Adobe Guide for helpful tips.

Planning Duties

From choosing a theme to finding lodging accommodations, split planning duties among several family members to make things easier. Print a copy of the checklist for each person who has a role in the planning so they can sign off on what they complete. Schedule a meeting right after a family reunion to discuss next year's plans and meet again about six months and three months before the reunion to stay on task.

Selecting Guests

Your common ancestors will dictate which guests to invite in most cases. For example, you may just be hosting a reunion for your great-grandparent's relatives so you wouldn't invite your husband's extended family.

  • Make a mini family tree to make sure you know who could be included.
  • Sort through the list and cross off anyone who is deceased.
  • Consider what you know about family relationships and specific individuals and ask around if you don't know someone well. Try to only leave out family members who would truly make the majority of people uncomfortable.
  • Send invitations to all who are living even if you know they can't attend. The invite alone can make someone feel included.

Coordinating Accommodations

If you've got out-of-town guests, it's helpful and respectful to offer them lodging options. You can include a section on the invitations for people to mark if they need accommodations. Then you can make a list of potential places to stay that fit their unique needs. If you have a budget or fundraise for future reunions, designate a portion of the budget to reimburse travellers for mileage to make the reunion more accessible. Another way to save money is allowing guests to stay in local family members' homes for a night or two.

Planning Activities

Look at your guest list to get an idea of the age range for guests. Aim for a good range of physical and non-physical activities that could also include making mementos like a family yearbook or reunion memory book.

  • If you've got a lot of young kids, plan a bunch of family reunion games for children and families.
  • Families who like to party together can schedule more adult activities.
  • If your guest list features lots of elderly relatives, plan some low-energy activities like sharing family histories or stories from their time growing up.

Adjusting for Group Size

Choose your location based on the number of people invited. You can generally estimate that about three-quarters of your guest list will actually attend so plan for that number. Smaller groups benefit from sit-down meals while large groups are better served with a buffet.

Dealing With Family Drama

Be prepared for family drama by making yourself aware of any potential issues ahead of time. Make sure all parties involved in family disputes are aware if the people they're having trouble with are attending so each can make their own choice about showing up.

Create a Fun Family Bonding Experience

Family reunions are supposed to be a fun experience where relatives get the chance to make memories together. Consider each invited family member when planning to ensure there is something enjoyable for everyone.

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Family Reunion Planning Tips and Checklist