How to plan a memorable family reunion - Cornerstone Canmore

There’s nothing quite like family!


Whether you’re a tight-knit clan of a few relatives or have more cousins than you can count, spending time with family can be a wonderful way to take a break from your usual routine.

Every family is unique and full of rich history, plenty of stories, and (of course), no shortage of laughs!.

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Come Together


Whether your relatives live down the road or are spread across the globe, coming together can be a challenge. With busy work schedules, schooling, and other commitments, it can be easy to let visits fall by the wayside. Organizing a family reunion can serve as the perfect chance to reconnect, catch up, and unwind. If you’re planning on bringing the ‘crew’ together, but are unsure of how to get started, follow our simple guide to family reunions below!

Start On the Right Foot


Before you start sending out invitations and rounding up the troops, it’s best to take a step back and iron out a few main details that will help inform the rest of the planning process. Questions/Details to consider are:

how to plan a family reunion

Questions/Details to consider are:

What Is Your Reason For Gathering?
Family reunions are the perfect way to celebrate a wide variety of special occasions: engagements, weddings, graduations, milestone birthdays, and more. While it’s perfectly fine to plan a reunion “just because”, knowing beforehand if there is anything specific you wish to celebrate will help make any additional arrangements in advance.
How Large is Your Family? Where Are They Coming From?
As with any important event, headcount plays a key role in determining many different aspects including venue, catering menu, room setup, etc. Even though you may not know exactly how many people will attend until after your invites are sent out (more on that below), if you suspect your group will be on the larger size, it’s best to build this into your plans from the start.

When inviting your family, it’s also important to consider where everyone is located for a few reasons:

1. You’ll want to send out invites with plenty of advance notice if you have relatives traveling a considerable distance.

2. Even if everyone is located nearby, it’s best to choose a venue that is easy to get to. Make sure you include clear travel options and directions in your invite to avoid confusion (and disappointment!)

What is Our Budget?
Defining a clear budget is an essential part of organizing your family reunion as it will directly influence many of your decisions going forward. If you have several people contributing to the cost of the event, it’s important to sit down and discuss finances before moving ahead to avoid possible headaches.
Who Are Our Core Planners?
While it can be exciting to get everyone involved in the planning process, it’s best to delegate a “planning committee” in charge of major decisions and bookings early on. Doing so will avoid the frustration of mixed communication and potential mishaps later on.

Once you’ve done your homework and have covered these core areas, it’s time to jump into full planning mode. Learn about your next steps below.

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Venue, Venue, Venue

Regardless of the size of your group, one of the first things you’ll want to take care of is settling on a location for your gathering. Depending on the timing of your event, as well as your venue requirements, you may be competing with wedding bookings, holiday parties, and other popular events. If you have a specific venue in mind, reach out to them sooner than later to discuss availability.

When it comes to selecting your venue, there are quite a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind. ideally, you’ll want a space with plenty of room for the whole family, but additional items to consider are:

  • Location: is your venue easy to get to? Are there special considerations (i.e. transport to and from the airport) that you need to factor in?
  • Amenities: Will you have plenty of heat and air conditioning to keep your guests comfortable?
  • Parking options
  • Access to audio/visual components for slideshows, etc.
  • Catering options (more on this later)
  • Accessibility for guests who may require access to an elevator or other considerations.

Work closely with any on-site coordination staff that your venue may offer as a way to handle day of details like event set up and teardown, decor requirements, and more.


Nothing says family like good food! Keeping your guests well fed will keep your event moving and avoid any grumpy stomachs later in the evening. Depending on your location, your venue may offer on-site catering. If not, you’ll want to source a local vendor that meets your budget and is able to cater to your family’s needs. Consider asking prospective caterers:

  • Their previous experience/Reviews from customers
  • If they are able to accommodate any dietary restrictions
  • Consider asking if custom menus are available if you’d like to offer food that reflects your family’s background.
  • If your gathering is relatively small, you may even want to consider treating your family to a memorable Chef at Home experience!
family reunion planning

Choosing The Perfect Date

As we mentioned above, there are plenty of reasons for a family reunion. From seasonal specific gatherings like Christmas parties or summer shindigs to graduations and more, choosing the ideal date can seem like a challenge. Try to select a date that best accommodates as many guests as possible, as well as works around any other “event heavy” seasons. In the end, you and your family will be able to decide the time that works best for you, and the rest will come together accordingly!

Ready to get started planning a reunion the whole family is sure to remember?

Contact our team of coordinators today to learn more!