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Family Reunions That Honor Loved Ones


Family reunions are perfect for celebrating our connections, strengthening bonds, and creating lasting memories. Here are some practical tips for planning a family reunion that brings people together and pays tribute to those who have passed. Honoring their memory can create a meaningful and inclusive experience to cherish. Keep reading to learn more.

Selecting the Date and Location 

Organizing a successful family gathering requires careful planning and consideration. Choose a date that works for most family members and consider any religious or cultural events to avoid scheduling conflicts. 

Once the date is set, select a location that comfortably accommodates the gathering (remember relatives with mobility issues). Opt for a place with sentimental value, such as a family-owned property or a site connected to cherished memories. You might find a location near your loved one’s resting place, but you can still honor their memory wherever you gather.

Design a Meaningful Program 

Design a program that engages family members of all ages. Incorporate activities encouraging interaction, such as icebreaker games, talent shows, and storytelling sessions. Cooking or baking a family recipe is another fun way to spend time together. 

Your family reunion schedule shouldn’t be so rigid that there isn’t downtime or space for impromptu conversations. And while intergenerational time is essential, adults, teens, and kids should also have opportunities to talk, play, and interact with each other.

Family Reunion Game Ideas

  • Create a family-focused version of Who Am I to break the ice at the start of the reunion. 
  • Easily organized outdoor games like tug-of-war, ring toss, cornhole, or potato sack races.
  • Encourage diverse teams so people get to know each other (kids versus adults, aunts versus uncles, etc.)

Capture the Special Moments

Remember to capture the precious memories of family reunions. Designate a family member or professional photographer for group photos, candid shots, and individual portraits. Consider creating a shared online photo album or dedicated website where family members can contribute.

Memory Corner

Set up a designated space at the reunion venue, such as a memory corner or a memorial display, to honor the memory of departed loved ones. Decorate the area with framed photos, candles, flowers, or any items that hold significance to those who have passed away. Encourage family members to contribute to the display by bringing mementos or written tributes. This dedicated space can be a focal point for reflection and remembrance throughout the event.

Here are a few more ways to honor departed relatives: 

  • Share stories and memories about them. Storytelling allows younger generations to learn about their family history and fosters a sense of connection across the ages. 
  • Create a family tree. This can be as complex as a formal genealogy tree or a fun project with young children to help them understand their family dynamic. 
  • Compile a digital scrapbook. Before the reunion, ask relatives to send or share pictures. There will likely be duplicate pictures, but if you have several volunteers, you’ll discover you have a detailed photographic history. 

Parting Stone is a beautiful way to honor your loved one, whether you scatter, display, or share during your family reunion. Click here to learn more.

Remembrance Ritual or Ceremony 

Consider incorporating a special remembrance ritual or ceremony during the reunion. You could invite others to join together for a moment of silence, a group prayer, or a symbolic gesture, such as lighting candles. You might want to opt for a more secular ceremony unless you’re sure the entire family shares the same belief system or faith. 

Including a memorial ceremony provides a collective opportunity to pay tribute to our departed relatives, express gratitude for their impact on our lives, and find solace in their memories.

Military & Veteran Reunions

Veterans often consider their former military colleagues as their chosen family. Whether the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, finding a specific regiment, squadron, or unit is easier with these digital resources:

Military Reunion Network

American Legion

Vet Friends

Alliance of Military Reunions

Together We Served

Get the veterans benefits you’ve earned. Click here to learn about burial benefits from the VA. 

Away From Home Protection

Consider buying travel insurance for flight and hotel reservations in case of illness or inclement weather: pack sunscreen, bug spray, and a first-aid kit for minor scrapes. 

And for extra comfort, get Tulip’s Away From Home Assurance. Away From Home protects your family from unnecessary expense and worry should you pass away 75 miles or more from home. Whether you add it to your Tulip preplanned arrangements or purchase separately, Away From Home Assurance covers every detail to bring your remains back home, including travel, fuel, and necessary paperwork from the state or country of passing.

Last Thoughts

Summer is a popular time for family gatherings and activities outside. Incorporating these suggestions will help you create a family reunion that brings everyone together in a meaningful way while honoring the memory of those who are no longer with us.