How to Select the Type of Family Reunion that is Right for You

Family reunions come in all shapes and sizes. From backyard barbecues to full-fledged three-day weekend family reunions in New York City, there are many choices to choose from. The type that is most suitable to your family depends on several factors including the location of your family, and the number of people attending.

We have listed the most popular family reunion types and locations below along with the pros and cons of each to help you better decide.

Backyard Barbecue For Family Reunion

Good for smaller family reunions (Less than 25 attendees). Attendees will probably be local or within two hours of the location.
Lush BarbecueBackyard barbecue’s are the easiest one to plan and the one that we would recommend for all first time reunion planners.

Planning a backyard barbecue with your family requires very little lead time (4-6 weeks) and generally includes close family that lives less than two hours away.

Putting one together is relatively simple as it requires simple coordination of food and basic activities. Having a backyard barbecue that involves less than 50 people generally requires one or two people to plan.

Some of the cons of a backyard barbecue are that very few family members can attend. Relatives that live more than two hours away will not attend due to distance.

Potluck In A Park

Good for small to medium sized family reunions. Attendees will be restricted by geography as a one day event is not long enough to attract folks that live further than a few hours.

Hawaii Geek Meet '09

Instead of a backyard, a local park can serve as a great family reunion site. Not only can you accommodate more people, you also have the ability to conduct multiple activities at same time (Some people can enjoy volleyball, while others can go boating at the lake).
Another advantage of having it at a park is that it can be located at a midpoint between multiple families across several states. Selecting a park that is driving distance for multiple families will increase the number of attendees. Much like the backyard barbecue, a family reunion at a park is also affordable.

Having a potluck in the park also spreads the responsibility of food, equipment, and everything else across all the attendees.

Some of the cons of having a potluck in the park is that the weather might not be cooperative, and depending on the weekend, it may be very crowded.

Local Church, VFW, or Community Center


While slightly more expensive than having a picnic in the Park, having a family reunion at a local community center is still relatively affordable.

The advantage over a park is that the weather doesn’t play a factor and you may have access to a full kitchen.

In addition, you may also have access to AV functions for any family presentations.

Keep in mind that some community centers do not allow outside caterers and some may even require insurance for any food you bring in.

Campground Family Reunion

If you have a family that enjoys the outdoors, then hosting a family reunion at a campground provides an ideal option. Much like the picnic in the Park, it is inexpensive (much less than hotel accommodations).

Unlike the park though, you can stay at a
While there aren’t many cons to having a family reunion at a campground, just remember that camping is not for everyone. Lacking the amenities that a hotel would provide, a campground family reunion may turn off a portion of your attendees.campground for multiple days and enjoy a longer family reunion. The campground will attract family members from further distances as it would be worthwhile for them to make the trip.

Family Reunion at a Hotel or Resort

Mandalay Bay, THE Hotel, The Luxor & Tropicana

A popular option for larger family reunions is a hotel or resort. There are many advantages to hosting a family reunion at a hotel including:

1. Family members from all over the country can attend

2. Hotels have banquet rooms

3. Many resorts have amenities such as indoor pools, arcades, basketball courts etc. to keep everyone busy.

4. Hotels and resorts in larger cities (Such as San Diego, Washington DC etc.) offer many additional activities that family reunion attendees will enjoy.

Keep in mind that hotels offer group rates for family reunions that need more than 10 hotel rooms per night. Once the city has been selected for your family reunion, you can call hotels individually (takes too long) or have them e-mail you their group hotel rates (Much easier and faster).

Family Reunion Cruises

Family reunion cruises have become a great option of late. They provide an all-inclusive vacation to several destinations with minimal planning. The hard part is getting your family on board. Cruises offer activities for every age group in your family and since food is included in the price, there are no menus to worry about. To learn if a family reunion cruise is right for you, click here. You can also read our article on how to plan a family reunion cruise.

Whether you are having a traditional barbecue, a catered dinner or a full fledged family reunion at a hotel, make sure to keep the size, location and budget in mind before coming to a decision. Knowing the types of reunions to consider when planning for the big day will make the event go over much more smoothly.

If you are planning a family reunion, then use our family reunion planning guide. It’s a series of articles that provide detailed information, resources, and downloads. Oh, and they are all free.

What should you read next?

Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at some money saving ideas for your next event.

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