Holding a Family Reunion at Your Country Home

Family ReunionA family reunion can be fun and exciting. It’s a chance to reconnect with loved ones you haven’t seen in years or meet distant relatives for the first time. You’ll get to hear or tell funny stories, play games, and make memories.

Hosting the family reunion can be a different story: dozens of people coming to your house, some of them maybe staying over, all of them expecting to eat.

But it doesn’t have to be a headache, or at least not a big one. By working with your family to plan a gathering, it can bring everyone closer together. (Besides, we want to give you a chance to show off your country décor.)

Here are a few tips on how to plan, cook, and decorate for your next family reunion.

1. Getting Started

One thing that many guides to reunion planning stress is that you don’t need to go it alone. Work with other family members to form committees to handle things like invitations and RSVPs, food, décor, etc. Play to people’s strengths: if your sister is an accountant, put her in charge of the budget. If your cousin owns a restaurant, let him handle the menu.

2. Finding a Place

If you’re having a small-to-medium-sized reunion, and have a big enough house/backyard, then by all means, hold the reunion at home.

Otherwise, many families choose to host their reunions from a local park. A park will likely have a lot of space, offer children a place to play, feature grills, picnic tables and ball fields and won’t cost much – or anything – to reserve.

An indoor location – a banquet hall, community center, hotel or country club – gives you the freedom to plan your reunion during colder months and not worry about inclement weather, but space restrictions might limit the number of people, and you might end up paying more.

3. Serving Food

The food website Epicurious recommends picking from three options when it comes to feeding your extended family: a potluck, bring your own, and communal cooking.

A potluck works best when you set up the menu in advance and assign guests a set number of servings and a specific dish. (“Chicken drumsticks to serve 30 people,” as opposed to just “chicken.”)

Bring you own is like the potluck option but dialed up to its highest setting, with every family unit bringing its own meal.

And communal cooking is what it sounds like, and works best in a family where a lot of people like to cook. If you have a big enough kitchen, it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with relatives and share or recreate classic family recipes.

You’ll need to do a lot of advance preparation for this one – shopping, prepping and cooking for a big group might take a few days. Be sure to visit Piper Classics’ country kitchen section to find any last minute items you might need.

4. Decorating

Keep your table decorations simple. Start with some potted plants or flowers, and add some family photos or other memorabilia, with cloth tablecloths and napkins on the table.

If the party will go into the evening, consider putting out some votive candles or stringing some lights.

5. At the Event

It’s the day of the reunion, and you’ve done all the prep work. Now, try to enjoy yourself, as you make sure everyone else is having a good time. Here are a few last things to consider:

  • You know your family better than we do, of course, so it’s up to you to know whether they’d appreciate a looser gathering or a more structured schedule of events. If you’re planning sports or any sort of athletic activity, let people know in advance so they can dress accordingly.

  • If it’s a bigger gathering, you might want to have a sign-in desk with name tags. It may have been years since you’ve seen some of these people, and they might look quite different.
  • It’s a party, so have music. Make a playlist that includes songs from the different generations in attendance, and maybe some ethnic music that reflects your family heritage.
  • Once upon a time, we’d have told you to take plenty of photos. But most if not all of the people at the reunion will have a smartphone with them, allowing them to take pictures and videos. So instead of worrying about getting enough pictures, it’s your job as organizer to get everyone to send you the photos they take.

At Piper Classics, we believe in country décor can make your house feel like a home. We hope our guide, and our products, can help your extended family feel at home when you host your reunion.

A family reunion can be fun, unless you’re the one planning it. Here are a few tips to make that job a little easier.