Party with the fam bam at a good, old-fashioned family reunion. Check out our guide for inspiration.
A family tree is a show-stopping decoration for a family reunion. It may be a bit sappy (pun totally intended), but it gives you a way to celebrate your family history and create lots of conversation starters for your guests.
Construct your tree any way you like: Use wood or cardboard for the trunk and branches, and cut butcher paper or paper bags from the market into leaves. Write each relative’s name on a branch or hang up their photos to make your tree extra special. You can create a more upscale version by buying a decorative potted tree and hanging photos of your relatives from the branches.
If your family came over on the Mayflower or shares another cultural heritage you’re proud of, honor your ancestors by decorating with flags, flowers and any symbols of origin countries or ethnic groups.
If you’re planning a big reunion for extended family that you may not know very well, put together a committee of reliable relatives to help you organize the event. Splitting up the duties not only lightens your own load, but also helps you plan a party that will appeal to your entire family and take their needs into consideration.
Assign specific tasks to each committee member, such as finding a venue, buying food and drinks, planning activities, buying decorations, acting as treasurer and tracking down lost relatives. Regular check-ins with the committee prevents last-minute frenzies for easily overlooked but important party needs like ice and Great Aunt Susie.
If members of the family are meeting for the first time (or if it’s been awhile since the last time everyone got together), plan some get-to-know-you games. Pick one of our crowd-pleasing party games to play or try your hand at one of the activities below.
- Name Game. Ask each guest to explain how they got their name. This works especially well at a family reunion where guests can add more to the story.
- Family Trivia. Before the party, ask guests to tell you a little-known fact about themselves. At the party, have someone read out the facts and have guests guess who the mystery person is.
- Interview Game. Pair up each guest with the person they know the least. Give each person a list of personal questions — such as favorite vacation spot, worst job or most embarrassing moment — then have each person interview the other for five minutes. Present what you’ve learned about your partner to the group.
Be sure to have kid-friendly activities on hand to keep little ones occupied.
Personalize your family reunion feast by asking guests to bring favorite family dishes. Alternatively, if you plan to cook yourself, ask guests to send you their recipes. Then, you can make mashed potatoes the way Grandma used to and compile the recipes into a family recipe book to give your guests as a keepsake.
Keep things easy on yourself by having a big buffet where guests can graze, rather than a sit-down meal. The buffet can be a collection of sandwiches and snacks on a simple table or a more lavish feast set out on tables topped with candlesticks and floral centerpieces.
Set up a low table for young kids with bite-size treats just for them, like pretzel sticks, grapes, sandwiches cut in half and assorted cookies for dessert. If you choose to host at home, keep little ones in the loop by letting them set the table or help with dinner party prep.
Down Home Punch
- 1 part Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee whiskey
- 1 part peach schnapps
- 1 part sweet and sour mix
- 2 parts orange juice
- 1 part lemon-lime soda
- 1 splash grenadine syrup
Pour ingredients into a pitcher; add ice and stir. Pour into glasses.