Yowsa! Your family put you in charge of planning the next big family reunion. It’s an important event to preserve your family’s history with aunts, uncles and cousins traveling from far and wide to share memories and make new bonds with the younger generation. Everyone is counting on you to make the reunion event to run smoothly, especially your mom!

That’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. So where do you start? Before you dive in, here’s a few helpful tips from reunion planning pros on how to successfully pull together an event that’s memorable, well executed and under budget.

Follow the Money

Before you do anything else, determine your budget for the reunion. Pin down limits early in the planning process, it will help other variables fall into place – site selection, catering options and reunion style all depend on resources available and the willingness of family members to fund such expenditures. Here’s a list of items to consider:

  • Accommodations
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Facility Rental
  • Catering

Plan to leave a little wiggle room in your budget for unforeseen expenses that occur along the way. The last thing you want is to be standing with your hand out when people arrive for the long anticipated reunion! Get detailed information about reunion budgeting here.

Choosing a Date for Your Reunion

Start by having at least two dates in mind, your preferred date and an alternate. This allows you to choose the best option for your group, based on the number of people who can attend either date, plus alternate dates help you negotiate for better prices with vendors. For additional information about choosing a date for your reunion, check here.

Reunion Locations

Look first for a location that is central to where your attendees reside, as travel to the reunion location will be a main constraint for some participants. To keep the cost down, generally you want to be within a day drive for most folks, or within two hours of a major airport for those traveling in by plane. If you have a lot of family members arriving by plane, make sure you’re near a major hub with frequent non-stop service from a multitude of airlines.

Once you have the main location picked, consider whether you want your reunion to be in a city center, suburban or rural area. There are benefits and drawbacks of each. Also, what type of accommodations fit your style? Resort-type hotel, traditional hotel property, cabins or condos?

Carefully weigh your options here, as location is a pivotal budget item. (Dozens of reunion-friendly destinations found here.)

Reunion Supplies

Today’s reunions require a lot of preparation; it’s more than just a meeting room and slide projector. Factors to consider are reunion themes, reunion games, catering, activities like sightseeing tours, golf or fishing outings and video journals. Investigate the various resources available in these categories, get line item costs then prioritize what’s most important to your group so you can match your reunion experience to the expectations and pocketbooks of your guests.