Ok, since summer is in full swing I’m here to condense a bunch of family reunion ideas in case you’re trying to plan the best family reunion.

If you haven’t heard of “8-Minute Classes” on Instagram you should check it out because they have all kinds of great things on there.

Today they are featuring a “class” I recorded all about how we plan our family reunions, which I think is kinda timely because it’s reunion planning season right now. Especially exciting since gathering has become so much safer these days!

How to Plan the Perfect Family Reunion

Of course a family reunion doesn’t just happen. Organizing that many people is tricky, and keeping everyone engaged takes work. But Oh! The relationships and bonding that can happen are so incredibly worth the trouble. Having a family reunion is the best way to celebrate the most important building block of society: the family!

4 Tips on Family Reunion Planning

1) Put a date on it.

Plan “where” and a “when.”

Of course, the reunion won’t happen without that! We always set a date for the next reunion right after we finish the current one. That way everyone can plan accordingly.

We are lucky enough to have this place at Bear Lake that is embedded deep into our hearts where we hold our reunion each year:

But of course, any place where family gathers will do!

2) Give assignments.

In our family there are nine kids. This means we are lucky to have lots of people to rotate the work! Each of us takes a turn to plan out the reunion and we rotate each year. Of course, one family can’t “do it all,” so we make assignments.


There are lots of activities worked into a reunion and you’re in charge you assign out as many as you can to make your load lighter. For example, during our assigned year we had a painting project and we assigned another family to be in charge of that.


Food is another big issue at a family reunion. Together as a family, decide how this will be done. Do you want to keep it easy and do low-key food? Do you have chefs in the family who want to cook more fancy things? How do you get the food to the reunion spot? Who pays? These are all good questions to discuss together to make it work.

Our family tends to love to cook, and I love some of the things they come up with!

My brother always cooks “Jonah Burgers” for his meal:

Another brother has his expertise in Japanese Curry. Our mouths water for that one every year.


Jobs are another big deal at a family reunion.

We do that kind of different every year, and have rewards for the “group” (made up of grandkids) who help the most:

There are all kinds of details about what we’ve done each year. My mom has a tough time sitting down and enjoying conversations. So I loved one year when my brother, as the reunion chair, brought a pair of handcuffs to keep my mom sitting down while the rest of us worked.


I LOVE watching all the kids get involved to help things stay tidy:

little boys doing the dishes

3) Chose a Family Reunion Theme.

Each year we have a theme we unveil the first night during the “opening ceremonies.”

This helps with the cohesiveness of the reunion.

For example, one year when Max was in Taiwan serving his mission our family was in charge and we chose “Live Life to the Max” for our theme.

Everything was based around living our lives to the best of our abilities in many different ways.

Had to have a Part 1 AND a Part 2 to document that one!

I loved my sister’s theme one year when my little sister Charity couldn’t come:

I loved this one too that was called “Turn the Hearts,”

Those are ancestors faces they’re holding up up there. All the activities were based around honoring our ancestors. So many stories to share and learn.

Ok, and we can’t forget “Fifty Years of Eyrealm,” when we celebrated my parent’s 50th anniversary:

4) Establish Family Traditions.

Traditions are what ties the family together. And if you’ve never done a family reunion before, it’s never too late to start! These are some of our favorite traditions we make happen every year:


Probably our favorite is the first night of the reunion. We have our opening ceremonies where the theme is introduced:

We always have a calendar so people will know the schedule:


That night we have a bonfire where the “favorite songs” are introduced:

Everyone guesses who’s song is who’s (those songs become our “playlist” for the whole reunion), and it always ends in a dance party, usually complete with sparklers:

…and always s’mores.


We also always have some sort of family olympics:

This is such a great way to get everyone involved.

Each year it’s done differently. One year we had a running relay. Other years we do different contests on the beach. Some years we’ve done different games like “Minute to Win It.”

The teams are always different as well. Some years there are teams of families, but with a group this big, we generally mix everyone up by assigning them to all different groups.


The talent show always seems to be the hit, especially for younger kids.


Fear Factor is the most loved/hated tradition. Ha!

So funny to watch those kids doing all they’ve got to get down new and interesting foods to come out as the winner.

(More about that in all the reunion posts linked below.)


We always work in games to every family reunion.

I have written up a whole post about good family reunion games if you want to check them out!


Every year we take a family picture.

Sure, it’s a pain. But we make it as easy as possible and love having everyone captured as they are each year.

Every family is going to be so different, of course, but hope these ideas help to create your own ideal family reunion!

Also, my sisters and I have recorded a podcast all about the history of our reunions and how they have evolved over the years over at “In the Arena.”

Check it out!

Eyrealm Reunion Posts

Happy planning!

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  1. I laughed out loud at the “charity never faileth” t-shirt. I hope your sister got a big kick out of that one!

    Here’s an idea for others wondering how to fund the reunion. My extended family will host a raffle of donated items to raise funds. Some people donate their handicraft works or a nice baking dish while others might throw in a bag of candy. It’s 100% optional if someone wants to donate an item or buy a raffle ticket. (And, of course, the little children miraculously win little knick-knack toys despite having no tickets entered 😉 ) All proceeds go to the next year’s reunion costs. It works well for our family; might work well for others!

    PS – love the new header font used throughout the post. Love the style!

  2. Oh wow! How great to have this all in one place Shawni! So many people have asked about how this works. Now we can just send a link! Thanks for the time it took to collect all this! It’s a treasure!

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