5 tips for planning a family reunion

Let’s be real: any time you try to get people together – a birthday party, a reunion, a holiday – it can be…challenging. But it doesn’t have to be!

  • Location, location, location. A “convenient” location may have different meanings, so do an assessment of everyone’s current location: do the majority of your relatives live close to one another? If you have relatives on both east and west coasts or split North and South, is there a location in the middle that would be a fair compromise? If you have relatives less mobile than others, is it possible for everyone to come to them?
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  • What does your family like to do together? This may seem like a given, but if your family enjoys hours of just relaxing and visiting, a tight itinerary of activities may not be the way to go for your reunion. On the other hand if you have a lot of children and teenagers in the group, having some options for activities – and the flexibility to throw plans out the window – might be best.
  • Be mindful of money. Unless you have one relative who generously offers to pay for everything, usually costs are split by family or individual. If you do plan a nice dinner out together, balance it with a cookout or potluck the next night. Coordinate hotel rooms or AirBnb stays ahead of time – younger cousins and siblings can share to cut down costs.
  • Be understanding about time. Whatever time – no matter how much or how little – you spend together is a gift. Some people may be able to take a week, others may only be able to take a couple of days. If you know some people will have to leave early, plan your big family activities – and especially the big family photo – earlier in the reunion.
  • Communicate early and consistently. Announce your reunion at least three to six months out from the planned date. That might sound too early – but many reunions take place during holidays or summer months, when people are already planning travel and vacations. Every month or so, check in with the relatives via email or even a private Facebook group to ask for ideas, share confirmed plans and generally build excitement.

Most importantly, there’s no cookie-cutter plan for a reunion, because every family is different! Think about your family – your quirks, your strengths, your challenges – and find creative ways to make your reunion memorable and special.

The North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau is a free resource for planning family reunions in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Old Mill group