Organizing a family reunion on a budget doesn’t have to break the bank and it can be a whole lot of fun. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area is a perfect spot for gathering and spending time with family. Whether you’re gathering for a yearly reunion or to celebrate a loved one’s golden anniversary or special birthday, there are many ways to plan a weekend or event your family will remember for years. Enjoy these tips to help you get started.

Once you’ve decided to get the family together, take care to set some parameters for how many people will be invited. Will this be an intimate affair for 30 family members or will it be extended to second cousins? Then, you’ll want to build your list of families and target a main contact for each. That will make it easier to communicate to find out which dates and places will work for most. You may even invest in a notebook so you can keep track of all the details as time goes on. It can contain a schedule, lodging contacts, and catering contracts for example.

Decide on lodging and activities

Depending on the size of your reunion, there are many different types of lodging for groups traveling together. The possibilities range from simple cabins at a campground to hotels in downtown DC. Plus there are many low-cost and/or free attractions nearby including the Smithsonian Museum and the many monuments and memorials found nowhere else. If you have golfers in your midst, they might enjoy a round of golf at The Courses at Andrews, where the president and dignitaries play. Scheduling a reunion during the summer is popular with families with school age children plus weather-related travel delays occur less often. But if your group is smaller or many live nearby, you can save money by organizing a get together in the off season.

Decide when your family will meet

If your family is meeting over a weekend or for longer, you’ll want to balance “free time” with times the family will get together. Meal times present a natural time to gather – whether you are holding a potluck at your home or catering a meal. If you’re staying in a resort or hotel, they may be able to offer meeting space and meals in addition to lodging. Hiring a caterer if your gathering is expected to be large can be a real time saver. They can take care of all the details from bringing and serving food to providing plates/silverware and drinks. Having that detail handled will ensure no one goes hungry and you’ll have more time to spend enjoying your family, too. Be sure to factor in any hard costs so you can decide how each family may contribute. That way, there are no hard feelings later on.

Spread the word and invite your family to attend

Once you have the details settled, you can create a flier, email or even create a small website that gives links to lodging, food, and attractions. As with any event, you’ll need a final count to secure the lodging, meals, and special gatherings. One quick and easy way to gather besides using your phone is to make a form and share it by email. A free application like Google Forms can make collecting “registration information” simple. It takes a good amount of effort and planning to organize a reunion, so be sure to ask for help from other family members when you need it. Free volunteer organizing websites, like Signup Genius, can help you organize that pretty easily. Lastly, enjoy your time with your family members and take lots of pictures!

We can help

The Courses at Andrews has two dining facilities, one that seats 250 and another seating 50, that can be used for family gatherings. Whether you’d like to use our venue or have your own, we also offer off site catering through our SmokeHouse 54 restaurant and we deliver. Stop by and sample what we have to offer, and contact us to learn more about organizing a party or family reunion.