The trick to planning the perfect family reunion is all in the organization. There are so many elements you need to consider, and people can be difficult to please, so getting everyone excited is a task in and of itself.
If you are heading the organization of your family reunion you might want to consider delegating various tasks to others so that it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders. After all, there’s a lot to think about including invitations, accommodation, travel reservations, meal planning, entertainment, activities, and prizes.
Luckily, we wracked our brains and came up with 5 incredible (and original) family reunion ideas that can really take your event to the next level. So, stop stressing, take a moment and read on to see how your family reunion tree can blossom with all your loved ones in tow.
#1 Take a DNA Test
Finding out more about where your family came from can be a super cool and original element (or even theme) of your family reunion. Why not ask family members to take an ancestry DNA test a few months before? Have them share their results at the reunion and find out much more about your past. Get a good range of ages involved, especially some older generations, and you are guaranteed to find out some incredible things about who you are as a family.
You never know, you could even discover new family members to invite to next year’s family reunion.
MyHeritage DNA testing has helped millions of people find new family members. But, more importantly, it will uncover the ethnic and geographic origins of your ancestors, finding out their migration patterns over time. Testing more than one family member is a very good idea as we all have unique DNA and because of the nature of genetic inheritance, there’s a good chance that your siblings and other family members get varied ethnicity results from yours.
At the moment you can take advantage of the MyHeritage DNA test kit promotion which comes at $69 instead of the regular price of $79. If you order two or more kits, you won’t have to pay for shipping, saving you even more money.
Revealing the results of your DNA tests would certainly be one of the most interesting aspects of your family reunion and you can bet people will be talking about this for years to come.
How to Take the Test
Taking the test is simple, and will only take you a few minutes.
Here is how it’s done:
- Order the DNA testing kit from the MyHeritage website
- Complete a simple cheek swab test
- Send back the DNA sample
- The lab analyzes your results
- Find out your results online within 3-4 weeks
It can’t get much simpler than that. With your results you can also create a family reunion tree online using MyHeritage tools including 9.7 billion historical records that will not only make it easy, but also really fun. Your family reunion tree will make for an incredibly useful tool in the future.
There are so many other cool things that you can do with your DNA results including planning a family trip to uncover more about your roots. This can be done interstate or even overseas. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to know more about which DNA testing kit might be the best for you, check out our review here.
#2 Family Reunion Shirts
This is the number one souvenir that gets handed out at family reunions. Seriously, your options are endless. You can choose different colors to match your family reunion theme, event, or even the different generations represented on the day. If you are planning on playing competitive games, you can also print these shirts in two or more different colors to identify each team member.
One of the most important aspects of having family reunion shirts is that they will be easily spotted in a crowd, which means you can keep an eye on your family members at all times, especially if you are in a park, on a tour or generally in a public setting.
You can personalize each shirt by printing each family member’s name on them as well as having a family logo, photographs or family mottos.
Make sure to ask everyone for their shirt sizes and plan to have them ordered, printed and ready a couple of weeks prior to your event as there is always a chance your stockist won’t have a certain number of shirts in the color of your choosing, for example.
Stuck for ideas when it comes to witty prints? We have you covered. Try these options and get a laugh out of everyone (including grumpy uncle John):
- We’re so elated ‘cause we’re all related
- Reliving the glory days
- We put the fun in dysfunction
- Find out where you got your good looks
- Survivor of the (surname) family reunion
#3 Family Reunion Games
As far as family reunions go, games and entertainment are some of the highlights that will bring you all closer together, tightening your bond and also putting smiles on people’s faces. There are a million options to choose from when it comes to family orientated games, but here are a few of our personal favorites.
Best Family Reunion Games:
- Scavenger hunt (with family photos)
- Family trivia
- Egg race
- Water balloon toss
- Ball games (soccer, dodgeball, volleyball, bocce or baseball)
- Trust fall
- Two truths, one lie
- Potato sack race
- Egg and spoon race
- Tug of war
- Three-legged race
- Pie eating contest
- Guess the food
- Cupcake decorating contest
One of the most popular games to play is Guess the Family Member. This is where one person asks questions like ‘guess who has the Star Wars theme song as their ringtone’ or ‘who played the drums in high school’ and everyone has to shout the correct answer. The person who got the right answer will then get to stand up and ask the next question.
Storytime is also a popular choice. Ask each family member to think of a story about another member of the family (make sure you ask them to do so in advance). At the reunion, tell all the stories (or ask different family members to each tell the story they thought of) and have the others guess who the story is about. Keep it fun and interesting, throw in some juicy details, but just remember not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
It is also important to have a backup list of fun games that you can play in case it rains and outdoor activities are canceled.
#4 Family Reunion Themes
The best family reunions have themes. This is also a huge help when it comes to organizing other aspects such as food menu ideas, shirts, and decorations because you have a specific theme in mind to plan these around.
Best Family Reunion Theme Ideas:
- Wild West
- Family tree
- The Amazing Race
- Under the Sea
- The Great Gatsby
- Medieval times
- Patriotic party
- Alice in Wonderland
- Famous TV families
- Masked party
- Hawaiian theme
- Murder mystery
A family history theme is one of the most interesting routes you can take when it comes to your family reunion. For example, hosting your reunion in your ancestral home or the family farm will give the reunion a special vibe.
Celebrate and explore your family history by going back in time. Prior to the event ask all the participants to bring along old photos, mementos, and stories. This way you can put together the pieces if your family history puzzle and rebuild lost memories. After the event has finished, and you have all these materials at hand, including pictures of the event itself, you could even combine them all into a cool PowerPoint presentation and send it to all family members as memorabilia from your reunion.
#5 Family Reunion Gifts
It’s always a fun idea to have your guests leave with something special that will remind them of the momentous family reunion. There are a number of really great family reunion ideas ranging from humorous to useful gifts.
Best Family Reunion Gift Ideas:
- Embroidered napkins
- Mason jar terrarium
- Scented sachets
- Coffee soap sticks
- DIY wine labels
- Building block photos
- Family luggage tags
- Family recipe book
- Personalized tote bags
- Wildflower seed bombs
- Personalized water bottles
- Mini Pies
- Personalized lip balm
#6 Family Reunion Movie
Who doesn’t want to be a movie star, if only for one day? There is nothing like a night in with family laughing at, well, yourselves. So one great idea is creating a family reunion movie that you can then send to everyone who attended the event.
How to Make a Family Reunion Movie
- Get everyone involved and have them collect old photos and videos that will make the rest of the gang squeal with joy. A great idea is to use a cloud storage site which everyone will have access to.
- Pick out some great music to add to a slideshow and include family sayings or captions. Later, sort through all the uploaded media and make a final selection of the best photos and videos.
- Organizing the content will be the hardest, but also the most important. Getting them sorted in chronological order will probably be best.
- Add music and credits
- Save the movie in several formats so that everyone can enjoy it after the reunion.
The Bottom Line
There is nothing better than having all your loved ones together in one place. It doesn’t matter if there are 20 or 200 people, the most important thing to remember is that you are all there because you want to share precious memories as well as creating new ones.
Organizing an event like this might seem daunting at first simply because there are so many factors involved in the process. Starting planning for the event a few months in advance is a fantastic idea, as you will need time to figure out what you will need to make your family reunion a success.
Think about reunion themes to get everyone hyped for the big day as well as games and gifts that they can remember the day by. Getting family shirts made is also a fun idea, with the practical purpose of keeping an eye on everyone in the group. Also, creating a family reunion movie is something that can be watched for years to come.
If your family gathering comes with a budget, know that your money will be best spent on DNA testing kits for various members of your clan. These members can open up their results at the reunion and you can all find out more about your ethnic origins. If this is a yearly gathering you can select a couple of people each year to get theirs done. Make this a fun conclusion to the reunion by picking names out of a hat for next year.
Take into account all of the family reunion ideas mentioned above and know that it will be the best family gathering yet.