Family Reunion Speech Tips

A family reunion speech should never skimp on the emotion. Family reunions are the perfect place to let your hair down and say it like it is. Your family will expect you to be yourself and not deliver some stuffy, businesslike speech, so give it your all. Family reunion speeches should have some family humor tossed into the mix along with a few gentle digs, all handed out in the name of family fun.

Plan Ahead
Family reunions can get out of hand if you don't designate responsibilities or have some way to keep things in order. These responsibilities can be included in the speech, which should come at the beginning of the event. During this time, you can also pass the reins on to the family member who will be in charge of the next family reunion.

If one family is in charge of the reunion, the head of that family is the one who should give the speech. If that person is a little shy, then allow another member of the family to take the reins and get the festivities going.

What to Include in a Family Reunion Speech
Family reunion speeches should not be lengthy, but they should include information about who's there and what's happened since the last reunion. It's best to go slowly and mention everything. Don't race through the speech, or you're likely to forget some things. Remember, what you might consider inconsequential another member of the family might consider very important.

Start by welcoming everyone to the event, then proceed with acknowledgements and end by announcing that anyone not on the clean up list who would like to stay and help is welcome to do so.

The welcome should be brief.

  • Welcome everyone to the event. Jokingly add something like, "…even old what's-his-face in the back," and then point toward the family joker who invariably sits in the back row but who is always interjecting something.
  • Honor the family matriarchs, along with whomever held the first family reunion. Mention how many years the reunion has been held. These acknowledgements should be done without humor, as you are sincerely honoring the family and the organizers. 

Acknowledgements should include the following:

  • Deceased members of the family. Light a candle in their honor.
  • Those in the family who might be sick and would appreciate prayers. If your religion warrants it, recite the Our Father or Hail Mary, or even one decade of the Rosary.
  • The family who was in charge of last year's event.
  • Those who had to travel great distances or small distances. Feel free to add some touches of humor here.
  • Those who pitched in this year to help make the event a success.
  • New members of the family, including babies, spouses and step children.
  • The family matriarch(s) and patriarch(s).

Once the ceremonial aspects are finished, you can get on to the fun stuff and start explaining what will happen. Include the following information, as it applies:

  • Where to put the potluck dishes.
  • When the meal will begin and whether the meal will be open or assigned seating. Let people know if you will be calling up tables to get food.
  • When the family reunion photo will be taken and by whom. If the family is big, it's best to schedule individual family reunion photos, as not everyone will fit into the photo.
  • Where party games can be found and when each game begins. For example, the scavenger hunt will take place from 1 to 4; prizes will be given for the top 2 teams. Cards and puzzles are available on the far tables at the east of the open pavilion.
  • What time the event ends.

Other Notes and Rules

  • Mention any and all rules that apply to the building or grounds; for example, dogs are not allowed on the beach, even with a leash. Food and drink can be taken to the beach area, but no glass containers. Food and debris must be cleaned up.
  • Mention any upcoming family events, such as a bridal or baby shower, birthday or wedding.

Remember that each family is different. The things one family might consider important may not be important to another family. When you create a family reunion speech, try to make it one that fits your extended family's personality.

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