Planning for a Family Reunion on a Budget

Anticipate costs and start saving to make your family reunion more affordable

Getting all of the relatives together is a rare and special event, especially for families scattered across several states or even countries. That's why it's important to make those occasions memorable through careful planning and preparation. A large family reunion can be a considerable expense for all family members, but especially for those who are tasked with organizing events, food, lodging and a venue. Below is an overview of common family reunion expenses, a few ways to cut costs and tips for how planning your family reunion budget can be simplified with a savings account from Citizens Bank.

Common expenses when planning a family reunion

Unless you regularly plan charity functions or are a professional party planner, a family reunion will likely be one of the biggest parties you've ever thrown (after your wedding). There are unique expenses to consider when planning a family reunion, and even the typical party expenses could be higher depending on the size of the guest list, so it's important to plan accordingly. Below is a list of common family reunion expenses - use it as a starting point for your budget and add items that are unique to your celebration:

  • Travel - There's a good chance that either you or some of your family members will be traveling to the family reunion destination. Make sure to factor plane tickets, taxi fare, car rental fees, gasoline and any other transportation costs into your budget if you'll be traveling, and look for ways to minimize travel costs for guests if you're planning the event.

  • Lodging - Unless most of your family members live near the family reunion location and are able to accommodate the out-of-towners, hotel rooms should be included in the budget. While the planner is usually not responsible for financing accommodations, you can still look for hotels that offer group rates for larger events and reserve a block for guests.

  • Venue - Family reunion venues can vary greatly in size, accommodations and price, from hotel ballrooms to park pavilions. Make sure to choose a location appropriate for the season, size of your group and type of party.

  • Food and rentals - For larger gatherings, catered meals are a popular choice because they take the pressure off of family members who might have otherwise cooked. Plus, rented tables, chairs and other party supplies make setting up and tearing down simple. However, this could be something you adjust to make your get-together more affordable.

  • Party favors - Many families commemorate their gathering with custom t-shirts or other memorabilia that guests can take home. If you do decide to have shirts made, make sure to get everyone's sizes ahead of time and find out if you get a discount for ordering in bulk.

  • Entertainment or activities - From a DJ to a day of family-oriented games and competitions, entertainment for the reunion will likely be expected. This doesn't mean you need to have a strict schedule or spend a lot of money, but you should consider what your family likes to do together and what it will cost. There may also be supplemental events, like a trip to the movies or a sporting event, which should be factored into the cost.

Cost-cutting tips for family reunions on a budget

The expenses that come with a family reunion can add up quickly, especially for larger families. But the cost shouldn't prevent you from planning a fun and memorable get-together. Here are a few money-saving ideas for planning a family reunion on a budget:

  • Skip the hotel and find a campground - For relatives that don't mind 'roughing it,' find a local campground where some of your family members can tent camp. Travelers who own RVs or campers will also appreciate this idea.

  • Plan a potluck or BBQ to eliminate catering costs - Rather than paying a caterer to make the food, ask the whole family to chip in. If everyone brings a dish to share, there should be more than enough to go around. Even out-of-town guests can get snacks or prepared food from the grocery store to contribute. Grilling is also a great way to make a lot of good food quickly and affordably, weather permitting.

  • Meet during the off-season for cheaper flights, hotels and venues - Monitor flight and hotel prices, and plan your family reunion during off-peak times. Late winter and early fall are good times to check.

  • Get away on a destination reunion with an all-inclusive package - All-inclusive trips are a great way to manage costs, since the whole trip, including travel, lodging, food and drink, is covered in the price. This is a fun option for smaller families or those who can easily agree on a destination.

  • Choose a convenient location - As best you can, choose a family reunion location that is a midway point for all your travelers and opt for lodging, venues and activities near each other to reduce travel costs once you arrive.

Track your family reunion budget and savings with GoalTrack Savings® from Citizens Bank

To plan for all the costs associated with a family reunion - whether local or in a remote destination - it may be wise to open a savings account that you dedicate to saving for the event. Even if you're not planning the get-together and are just an attendee, having a set account to save for travel, lodging and other reunion expenses can help make costs more manageable. When you open a savings account with Citizens Bank, you're eligible to use our GoalTrack Savings® program, which can help you track the savings that will go toward your family reunion. You can automatically transfer or manually deposit money into your savings account, and easily monitor the progress of your savings plan. You'll also receive rewards when you meet your goal, which could make the reunion even more affordable. Open an account today, and start planning a get-together your relatives will remember for years to come.


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