family reunion

The Ultimate Family Reunion: 6 steps to create memorable experiences for everyone

This formula will make your family reunion amazing this year!

Most families will block out time to be together. But if you want a blockbuster family reunion, we have the formula. We’ll help you plan week of family fun that’s easy, economical and creates bonding experiences.

Studio 5 Home & Family Life Contributor Maria Eckersley shares her best recommendations.

Find more fun ideas from Maria at, or on Instagram, @meckmomlife.


How to Plan the Ultimate Family Reunion

Step 1: Choose a fun theme 

Themes help the family feel united and build momentum as you get closer to the date.

  • They help the reunions feel distinct from each other.
  • They spark creativity in games and activities – making for unique, hilarious photo ops.
  • TIP: Choose one family to be the host family each year and rotate through all the families. That family functions like cruise directors. They are in charge of picking the theme, the location, the meal plan, and delegating out the work and fun.
  • Some of our favorite themes: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Hunger Games, and Indiana Jones. This year’s theme, ‘Ready Player Wyne’, is techy and filled with fun, vintage video game references

Step 2: Set an annual budget and easy payment options

By having everyone contribute, you relieve the pressures of hosting and help everyone feel invested in its outcome

  • In our family, we have a set amount that each little family contributes to the family reunion fund per year. On the other side of our family, you chip in based on the number of people in your family.
  • TIP: Choose one family member to be the accountant. They’ll collect the funds in a separate Venmo account, take care of reimbursements, and give a report at the end of the reunion.

Step 3: Find a great location

This will depend a lot on your budget but there are a few key factors to watch for when you’re searching:

  • Look for a place with ample bedrooms and central hangout space. The weather can make or break your plans so be sure to choose a place that has indoor and outdoor gathering areas
  • People gather around food so a fully functioning kitchen is a must!
  • The best locations are a bit remote. Don’t go to popular tourist spots. Pick a pretty area off the beaten path. The prices will be much lower and family members will be motivated to stay.
  • TIP: Book early! Most big venues fill up fast so be sure to set this as your top priority. We like to use VRBO and church camps to find great options.

Step 4: Delegate the Food

Nothing blows through time and budget like poorly planned food. A little extra effort in this area can make all the difference

  • Set up a google doc of all the planned meals and then share it before the reunion so everyone knows what to expect .
  • Offer an alternate of PB & J at every meal for picky eaters .
  • Talk to a local caterer to get tips on what types of food work best for large groups and can store easily. One hour of hired consulting from a seasoned pro can save you hundreds of dollars!
  • TIP: Divvy up your group into teams (blending members of different families). Assign a different team to be in charge of prepping, serving, and cleaning each meal. *When we did this during the Hunger Games reunion we pulled their names out of a reaping jar 

Step 5: Delegate the Fun

A little organization goes a long way when it comes to family fun.

  • Don’t over plan. One or two big group activities a day is usually plenty. We keep our budget low by planning all activities at the reunion location.
  • Delegate the activities to each family. They’ll be responsible for purchasing supplies and running the activity.
  • Plan activities based on age groups. Our family loves crafts for kids, night games for teens, and late-night Jimmy Fallon-style challenges for adults.
  • TIP: Use the theme as inspiration. We created a Diagon Alley and a Quidditch Match during the Harry Potter reunion and did a cool scavenger hunt for the Indiana Jones reunion.

Step 6: Preserve the Memories

  • Create a simple binder of meals, activities, and tips to pass on to the next planner.
  • Assign a family member to make a photo book or video compilation to help family members remember the fun.
  • TIP: Create a shared google photos folder. Often the best pictures come from teenagers and young married couples so be sure to loop them in!

As Studio 5’s Home & Family Life Contributor, Maria Eckersley appears regularly on Studio 5. She shares hacks and simple ideas to keep your home systems humming along. Maria also shares party and gathering ideas that enrich your family life. Find her at and on Instagram @meckmomlife.

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