Family Reunion and Memorial Ideas

by Margo Upson

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 everyone to bring an updated picture of their family, along with a index card listing any accomplishments or changes from the past year. Put all of these index cards and pictures onto 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 might not know all of the connections.

Have an award ceremony during the reunion. Give awards for 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. 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 even 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.

Family Reunion Activities

If your family reunion is held during the summer, there are a lot of exciting outdoor activities you can plan. Egg tosses, water balloons and Frisbee games are fun for younger family members and most older members. Tug-of-war, sack races and family sports games are also good options.

If there are musical or otherwise talented family members, putting on a talent show might be a wonderful way for the family to spend the afternoon. Renting a karaoke machine can give everyone, musically inclined or not, a chance to get into the spotlight. Even family members who don't choose to perform will enjoy watching the show.


Remember deceased loved ones during a family reunion by planning a memorial service. This can be as formal or as informal as everyone feels comfortable with. One way to remember passed 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 life instead of on their death.