Staff Blogger: Emily Messino, Conference & Events Manager

Whether it’s an afternoon picnic or a weekend trip, a family reunion should be something that everyone can enjoy. As Lakeside’s Conference & Event Manager, I’ve learned a lot about what goes into planning a successful event. Here are 10 tips that will help your next family reunion go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Collect contact information

It’s important to have updated contact information on all family members to ensure everyone receives details about the reunion.

  1. Ask for ideas

Send out a survey to see what places people are interested in and what types of activities they enjoy. Remember, Lakeside is a great place to plan a summer family reunion – there are lots of accommodations to choose from and you can plan group activities ranging from a family shuffleboard tournament to a concert in Hoover Auditorium.  

  1. Set a budget

Family members might have different amounts they’re willing to spend on the reunion, so it’s important to set a budget and stay within it to make sure everyone can afford to attend the reunion.

  1. Pick a date and length of stay

Select a date or range of dates for family members to choose from. Not everyone is going to be able to make it, so pick a time that the majority of family members are available. Obviously, the summer is a great time for a family reunion in Lakeside, but maybe your family would enjoy the beautiful and very peaceful months of spring or fall. Need planning inspiration? Read about the Tilson-Snider fall reunion in Lakeside.

  1. Research different places

Select a venue close to certain family who would have trouble traveling, or find a venue more centrally located. It’s always good to have options and to compare venues.

  1. Designate someone to be in charge

All communication should come from one person, so family members aren’t overloaded or confused by lots of information.

  1. Form committees

Planning a family reunion can be a large task. Be sure to delegate tasks to family members for different aspects of the reunion, so that one person isn’t overwhelmed with all the planning and details. You can choose someone to be in charge of the menu and another to be in charge of the activities.

  1. Create an agenda

Provide activities for all age groups in your family. Having options for your family members allows everyone the opportunity to take part in activities they’re interested in. For a list of activities in Lakeside, visit

  1. Share your family story

Make sure there is time during the reunion for family members to tell stories, share family relics or look through old photos. Do your family members have Lakeside stories and photos? Add them to our interactive map to share with the community!

  1. Have a back-up plan

If you schedule outdoor activities, be sure to have a back-up plan in case of unexpected weather. Lakeside has several outdoor and indoor venues for groups of all sizes.

Lakeside Chautauqua is an ideal location for family reunions and can deliver a unique experience with a beautiful backdrop. Venue capacities are available to fit any size group, and our Conference & Event Planning staff will work closely with you to plan the details, menu, tech needs and more. For more information about booking your next family reunion at Lakeside, visit