10 Ideas for Hosting a Family Reunion on a Budget

Family in HawaiiFor better or worse, I was “chosen” as the lead on our last family reunion and I took the job with tons of enthusiasm.

After all, family reunion planning can’t be that difficult. Call a bunch of old relatives, email some folks, call a bunch of hotels, and voila, I should be done.


Family Reunion Planning Requires Some Serious Time And Money

Just coordinating dates, blocking rooms at a hotel, and arranging for food was tough enough. To do it on a budget requires some serious work. Even basic reunions are not cheap and can run into thousands of dollars when all is said and done.

Despite the cost, every moment of the family reunion is worth the effort and time you put into it. In order to help you save some money at your next family reunion, we have put together the following tips.

Group Rates For Hotel
If you will need more than ten hotel rooms for a family reunion, then you should block hotel rooms as a group. Booking as a group can save you up to 70% per room. Simply fill out our group hotel rates form and hotels will email you their group automatically.

Look for Group Airfares
When looking for flight plans and hotel accommodations, find group rates wherever possible. Use online resources when booking flights and negotiate prices with the airlines to find a plan that works best for your family. Both Southwest and American Airlines offer group rates on their websites.

If your family is located in several cities all across the US, then pick a location that is near most of the members as it will lower the overall cost of travel for the group. To learn more, read our Tips to select a location for your family reunion.

Send Email Invitations
When sending the invitations, save money by sending them via email. Before you begin the planning of the reunion ask everyone to send you their email address. This is a great way to get the information to everyone without breaking the bank.

Website/Facebook Page
Having a family reunion website or a family reunion facebook page will go a long way to helping everyone communicate in an open forum. The initial effort of opening a website/Facebook page is a bit nerve wracking, but once completed, it will save a lot of time as communication with the whole group will be easier. No need to make dozens of phone calls to “update” all the key family members. You can also add simple widgets to most websites that allow you to poll your family reunion members to see what activities/direction they would like you to take.

Be Your Own Entertainment
Consider spending time at the hotel having a pool party or playing board games together as a family. You may also decide to do a talent show or karaoke contest. You don’t need to hire professionals to make the entertainment interesting and fun for all ages attending the reunion. Consider some of these Family Reunion Games And Activities

Consider the Venue
Instead of having the reunion at a lavish location, consider the hotel banquet hall or a campground or picnic area. You may also decide to have the family reunion at your home. Choosing an affordable venue will pay off in the long run by providing extra funds for other necessities.

Make your Own T-Shirts
If you have decided to have a commemorative t-shirt for your family reunion this year, consider making them yourself. You can purchase computer paper that will allow you to print an image and transfer it to a simple t-shirt. You may want to charge a few bucks for the shirts and put the money back into the event.

Don’t do T-Shirts
Use badges instead. Printing T-Shirts to commemorate a family reunion can be expensive. You have to get everyone’s size, order a minimum quantity of each size, and then listen to everyone complain how they don’t look good in T-shirts. Printing badges cost less than two dollars per person and your family reunion attendees can wear any kind of clothing with the pins.

Shorten your Stay
Rethinking your plans for a week long excursion will help you to save money. Instead of an extended stay at a resort or theme park consider a day picnic or a one night stay at a hotel or campground instead.

Go for a Pot Luck Dinner
Forgo the catered lunch or dinner plans and create a pot luck dinner. Ask everyone to bring a covered dish to share with the family. Before you send out the invitations make a list of the items you would like to have on the menu. Transfer the list to the invitations and allow your family members to choose what they would like to make and bring. When they RSVP remind them to let you know what dish they have decided on.

If money is an issue, then you need to stay clear of peak travel seasons. Schedule your reunion during a slow travel period and, if possible, not on the weekend. If you aren’t sure of when a slow period exists, call the local chamber of commerce and they should be able to provide invaluable advice on local travel patterns. To learn more, read How To Determine The Size, Location, And Time Of Year For Your Family Reunion

Get as many people to attend the family reunion as possible. The more people attend, the less the cost per person. Learn How To Double The Attendance At Your Next Family Reunion.

Raise Extra Funds
Come together as a group and consider raising funds through rummage sales or bake sales in your community or with the family. Any money raised can be used for the family reunion and to offset costs. To learn more, read Family Reunion Fundraising Tips or Family Reunion Fundraising Ideas

Gather Every Other Year
Consider having your reunion every other year instead of once a year. If you gather as a family for many occasions such as birthdays and holidays consider having the big reunion every other year instead of once a year. This will give you more time to save the money and create a budget for the event.

Be Your Own Photographer
Instead of hiring a photographer, designate a family member to do it instead. Incentivize them by telling them that if they do a good job, the camera is theirs at the end. Not only will they take great pictures, they will also take care of the camera. For less than a $100, you will have some great, candid pictures of the reunion.

Budgets can be very tight around a family reunion so you have to make sure that every dollar spent is put to good use. If organized properly, the tips above will help you save some serious coin.

What should you read next?

Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at some additional ways to save money on traveling as a group.

Planning a family reunion?

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