As beautiful as a family reunion can be, a successful one can only happen when you budget it properly and if there’s financial planning involved. Let’s face it, family reunions cost money. It would be wonderful if one could host the entire family in a lavish get-together, but sadly, that isn’t always the case.
The bottomline is that someone has to take care of the costs of hosting the reunion—all the more reason why budget-planning is paramount. Now, we are going to outline steps you can take to create a well-planned budget for any number of persons attending a proposed reunion.
The first question to ask is, “Who pays for the family reunion?”
A survey of various websites on the topic of family reunion indicates that, as a general rule, each family is responsible for its own expenses. This is one reason to aim for a reunion on the lower end of the cost scale, so as to assure that a lot of members can make it.
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How to Plan a Family Reunion on a Budget
The first step is to understand the budget, so as to have an idea of how much you are going to need to spend.
Number of Attendees
This is an important factor for consideration. One needs to know how many people are attending. You could check per family how many members they have, and whether every one of them will attend.
Secondary information about the attendees, like sex, age, marital status, health, special needs, and so on need to be taken into consideration, as well.
Duration of Stay
It is important to know how long each attendee will be staying—especially if it’s an out of town event—in order to cater for their needs during the reunion.
Date and Location
Determining the date and location is the first thing to consider when planning a family reunion. Make sure to choose a date everyone would be available to come, and a location that is affordable yet would be able to fit everyone.
You can also make a choice of using your grandparents’ home if there is enough ground space to save up on the venue expenses. If an ancestral house is unavailable, you could also opt for a restaurant, park, hotel, or cabins. All will depend on what you can afford.
Some attendees may be coming from far away and would require accommodation—most likely in nearby hotels. It is important to take into account how many families would be coming from out of town or overseas.
Food or Catering
Before assigning a budget for your food expenses, make sure to determine whether you’re opting for a potluck style of reunion or if you’re going to hire a catering service. Considering the quantity of your attendees is a good factor to decide on the matter.
If the family reunion lasts for a whole weekend-long, make sure to account for breakfast, lunch, and dinner expenses as well.
Family Reunion Expenses to Budget For
When you have determined all the factors you need to consider for planning for a family reunion, you can begin actual cost-planning.
First, you have to figure out and calculate what your macro and micro expenses are.
These are the major expenses fundamental to the success of your reunion. They take key priority in your budget. Consider the following under your macro-budget:
Depending on the number of attendees, you have to plan and decide whether guests would stay in your house or a family member’s close by.
Alternatively, you could lodge guests in hotel rooms. There are often significant discounts for group lodgings. It pays to do a lot of research to find the best bargains with hotel lodgings.
Food expense is a huge part of your family reunion budget. Again, this depends on whether or not you’re having a huge reunion. If you have more than sixty attendees, catering would take up much of the budget.
Unless you’re hosting your family reunion at a hotel or vacation homes, which would cut up your costs by 30 percent, opt for a caterer.
If your family reunion would also last a whole weekend, make sure to count the cost of everyone’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Meanwhile, small family reunions have lower costing food expenses since these gatherings opt to be more of a potluck style. In this case, food expenses are mostly alloted for utensils, paper plates, cups, and drinks.
Transportation expenses vary, whether you’re renting a vehicle for a large group or reimbursing for gas and toll expenses. The kind of reunion—if you’re having a small one or a big reunion—is also a factor in whether you need to set a transportation budget. So, make sure to take into account whether or not everyone would chip in for transportation.
Another huge percentage of the reunion budget would be spent on the location and activities of your reunion. Location expenses vary depending on where you would want your reunion to take place. So, before setting a budget, make sure to thoroughly research the best options for your chosen location (may it be a hotel, a cabin, or a park) and ask for a reasonable pricing quotes.
Micro-expenses are the smaller but vital expenses you need to account for, so make sure you have set aside a budget for these.
You surely want to print some memorabilia and take-away for the memorable event. If you can afford it, consider budgeting for printing of name tags, banners, program lists, etc.
A venue’s decoration makes 50 percent of an event’s ambience and success. Naturally, you would need to account for the decoration expenses, as well. If you’re planning on having a fireworks show at the end of your family reunion, that expense would fall in this category, too.
Prizes and Giveaways
A family reunion is not complete without games. And, games are not complete without prizes. Set aside a small budget for your prizes and giveaways.
Photography and Videography
Everyone has a smartphone with excellent cameras, but if you want the event to be professionally captured, you would have to account for photography and videography service fees.
If you and your guests care for some form of paid entertainment, you can consider arranging for some entertainers you can afford to make the event more fun. You can also rent a karaoke machine if you’re planning to have open mic competitions. Any purchases that has to do with entertainment falls under this category.
How Much to Charge for a Family Reunion
Reunions don’t come cheap, and it helps a great deal if other members of the family can contribute to offset the cost of expenses. For a fair contribution, divide the overall costs by the number of attendees. Before dividing, make sure to subtract the profits you made for reunion funding.
Here’s a simple calculation:
(Overall family reunion cost – outsourced funding) ÷ number of attendees = cost per person
Alternatively, you can also have each family volunteer on what expense they want to shell out for. For instance, everyone is expected to equally pitch in on the macro-expenses, however those who can afford it can each volunteer to shoulder the micro-expenses.
Aside from donations, more money can be raised through direct fundraising, sale of caps, stickers, T-shirts, key holders and other family souvenirs.
A Happy Reunion
Planning a family reunion is an extremely taxing, but equally delightful task. The key is good planning, good delegation, and good communication.
Having enough money to spend isn’t really the key to a happy reunion, rather in a proper budget planning. We hope you can make excellent use of all the wonderful tips we have given here to plan your next family reunion budget.