Family Reunion and Memorial Ideas

by Margo Upson ; Updated December 11, 2017

A family reunion is the perfect time to get reacquainted with family members you haven't seen in a while, to celebrate a year of changes and accomplishments, and to remember family members who have passed on. A little bit of planning before the reunion can make the experience enjoyable and relatively stress-free for everyone.

Getting Reacquainted

Ask reunion guests to bring updated pictures of their families, along with an index card listing any accomplishments or changes from the past year. Put all of these index cards and pictures on a large display, making a small family tree to show how everyone is related. This idea is perfect if there are a lot of family members in attendance, many of whom live out of town. Although many of the older adults might know who everyone is, younger family members often don't know all of the connections.

Another way to encourage family members to become reacquainted is to have older family members share their memories of their childhood, deceased members of the family and memories of each other. Have someone record and type the stories. This can become one of the highlights of the reunion and a way to preserve family history.

Host an Awards Ceremony

Have an award ceremony during the reunion. Give awards to the oldest and youngest family members, to whoever had the furthest to travel and even to the longest married couple. Use this awards ceremony to recognize special accomplishments such as graduations or new births. Choose one relative to receive a lifetime achievement award, complete with speeches or comments from other family members about the recipient.

Family Reunion Activities

If your family reunion is held during the summer, you have plenty of options for outdoor activities. Egg tosses, water balloons and Frisbee games are fun for younger family members and most older members. Tug-of-war, sack races, relay races and family sports games are also good options. Divide into teams to play volleyball, softball, soccer, touch football or bocce ball.

Put on a talent show to let all family members show off their talents. They don't have to be serious talents. Kids might tell jokes or show off silly talents. Renting a karaoke machine can give everyone, musically inclined or not, a chance in the spotlight. Even family members who don't choose to perform will enjoy watching the show.

Memorials

Remember the loved ones who are no longer with you during a family reunion by planning a memorial service. This can be as formal or as informal as you want. One way to remember the lost members of the family is to plant a tree or rose bush in remembrance. This works best if the family reunion is held at a family member's home every year.

Another memorial idea is to do a toast or give a small speech in remembrance of any family members who have died in the previous year. Creating a slideshow or short video of pictures and video clips featuring deceased relatives can also be a way to remember someone while focusing on their lives instead of on their deaths.