Ideally, you should plan way ahead, 12-18 months, when deciding on the date for your reunion. The date should be finalized 1 year or as far as possible in advance. This enables you to reserve the ideal location and activities and allows your relatives enough notice to take time off from work or school. Even if you do not start planning that far in advance, you can still have a successful reunion, but you do need to make sure you provide yourself with enough planning time so that everything is booked and well organized.
You want to select a date that works for the most people. Reaching a consensus on a date and place doesn't have to be difficult. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to satisfy everyone. By creating a poll or survey on your website, you'll be able to tell who is available and when. Your poll or survey can offer 3-4 options. There are always certain members of the family that must be there, such as grandparents and great grandparents, so you should ideally check with them first to see what works best for them.
If your family reunion is planned over a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Memorial day your relatives will probably want to make a mini vacation out of the long weekend so the activities and duration should be planned accordingly.
The length of a reunion can vary greatly. It can take place over one afternoon or throughout several days. The rule of thumb is the further people have to travel to attend the family reunion, the longer it should last. If everyone lives close to one another, then one day should be enough time to reconnect. However, if many relatives are travelling far to attend, the reunion should be longer to justify the travelling and lodging expenses. You will also probably want to spend more time together if you don’t see each other very often. The time that has elapsed since everyone has seen each other can also help determine the length of the reunion. If your family holds an annual reunion, then one day or one weekend is sufficient, however if it has been more than 10 years, then a longer reunion is warranted.