It’s getting to be that time of year – the sun is coming out, the weather is warming up, and everyone is ready to plan their mid-year activities when the kids are out of school. This time of year is prime time for family reunion planning and it’s when family reunion venues start getting booked up and reserved for the Spring and Summer.
If you’re wondering how to plan a family reunion, don’t worry, we have you covered: our family reunion venue in Maryland has hosted family gatherings for years. We host indoor activities, outdoor BBQs, games, celebrations, and more, so we’ve seen it all and learned most of it.
Our event coordinator steps in to give the best advice when it comes to planning your family reunion this year. Learn what is most important, how to set firm deadlines, and what you absolutely need to make a priority above all else (really, do not forget #5).
Here’s our easy 6 step checklist for planning a successful family reunion.
1) Essential Steps: Planning Dates and Locations for Your Event
Everyone leads busy lives and the larger the family, the more you have to plan around. Reach out to everyone you plan on inviting and ask for a list of dates that they are unavailable for. Also inquire about travel distance and time off of work – critical if you plan on gathering the family for multiple days at a time.
If your family is exceptionally large, reach out to one designated point person for each part of your family and have them send back dates and locations – this can make consolidating dates much easier and takes the burden off of one person to handle all communications.
Bonus points: set up a shared Google spreadsheet where everyone can blackout dates they can’t attend — this quick visual document can be a lifesaver.
2) Create a Family Reunion Budget
Yes, your family reunion needs a budget. Family reunion budgets can be done one of two ways: paying alone, as a gift to the family, or a pitch-in style where everyone contributes.
Go back to your designated point person for each side of the family (we told you this would be helpful) and pitch proposal amounts and what it would cost each family member. Sometimes this is as low as $30 a person for larger families but you always want to try to keep it under $150 a person, especially when kids are involved.
Your budget should be based on how many days everyone is getting together, the entertainment and activities that are planned, transportation, your venue rental, lodging or room blocks, catering, and drinks.
Bonus points: set a deadline for when you need to hear back from the family regarding the budget and their dates; it’s okay to say “we’ll be reserving a location by x date” so that way everyone knows they need to provide their input if they want it to be considered.
3) Select the Final Dates and Location
Once you’ve gotten everything back from the family regarding budgets, travel, and dates, it’s time to finalize the date(s) and location. Don’t wait too long to reserve your family reunion venue! The best family reunions are planned months ahead of time, not only to give everyone time to plan but also to reserve your family reunion venue and activities.
For locations, consider those that have activities, are affordable, are easy to travel to, are near lodging, and have possibilities for everyone in the family to have fun and feel included. Accessibility is a big factor, too, so take a look at access and mobility assistance.
When looking for places for family reunions, set up tours and put a deposit on your reservation as soon as you can. Some venues, like family reunion venues in Maryland, can book up quickly due to being near metro areas that have a lot of demand for a quiet, more rustic reunion vibe that’s near a city but away from the hustle — don’t wait until the last minute just to find what is nearby.
4) Send Detailed Family Reunion Invites with RSVPs
Once you’ve found your place to have the reunion and the details are confirmed, it’s time to design and send out your family reunion invites. Similar to a wedding invite, these should have all the details readily available and an easy way to RSVP.
Include the location, the time, the dates, and a link, email, or phone number to RSVP to. We recommend creating a family reunion website at no cost to help easily display the activities, schedule, what to bring or wear, and more so everyone feels welcomed and up to date on how to plan. If a website is too much, go for an email newsletter instead to answer all questions and make it easier to plan for.
5) Plan the Meals and the Activities
Now that the date is set and the location reserved, you can begin planning meals and activities. As RSVPS come in, it will make it easier to know what types of activities you’re planning and for what age ranges. If you’re stuck, we have a list of our 9 favorite unique family reunion activities that will help give you affordable ideas.
Meal planning can be as easy as a potluck or as simplified as hiring catering. Circle D Farm, for example, offers catering on-site for Maryland family reunions at our outdoor/indoor venue. A catered family reunion offers the possibility for potlucks without the fear you’ll run out of food.
Bonus points: don’t forget to ask for allergy info or dietary restrictions as part of the RSVPs so that everyone has options; your Maryland family reunion event venue can make this easy with customized catering that relieves the pressure off of your shoulders of trying to make meals that work for everyone.
6) Get Others Involved and Have Back-Up Plans
Remember – do not plan everything alone! A family reunion is a big event and it can take a lot of coordination to get everyone on the same page and happy about the event. Don’t do it all alone, set up a list of items to delegate and ask family members who can help and what they’re good at.
For everything you plan, have a back-up plan. Make sure your Maryland family reunion venue has indoor and outdoor options in case of unexpected weather; decide if your event happens rain or shine; plan activities both indoors and outdoors; and if there is a family emergency, know about your deposit options and refunds.
- Keep it simple
- Plan for free time, don’t schedule every minute
- Longer family reunions allow for people to come and go as their schedule allows
- Always remember dietary restrictions
- Plan for rain or shine
- Consider pets
- Make it a celebration
- Have favors, gifts, or photos everyone can take home
- Don’t wait too long until the next one
Get Excited –Your Family Reunion is Happening
That’s it! Simplified down, a family reunion is as simple as finding the perfect date, picking a central location, and renting a family reunion venue and filling it with food and activities. You don’t need to schedule every minute, once the family is together the fun will happen, conversations will spark, and bonds will be created.
As part of our Maryland family reunion venue, we have an on-site coordinator to help you plan, schedule, and keep track of all the finer details. Set up a tour and consult today to see if our Maryland family reunion venue is the perfect place for your family to gather this year – who knows, we could become a part of your tradition.