Guide to Planning a Family Reunion on Long Island

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"When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." ~Joyce Brothers

Families are the one constant in life that you should always look to for support, love and happiness. These days, life can get too hectic to really enjoy family - whether they live across the country, or just across the street. Family reunions are the best way to gather everyone in one place in order to catch up and renew close relations. Long Island is host to hundreds of spaces ideal for family reunions, and we can help you find the perfect place for your family:

  • Is there a specific geographic area you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Knowing what region you do or don't want your family reunion to be located in can easily help rule out several hundred catering halls. Of course the more specific your desired geographic area, the fewer options you have to work with. This fact may be very welcome to some overwhelmed party planners, but may seem frustrating to others who look forward to being given a variety of catering hall options. A good compromise is to first limit your geographic area to a very specific area. If you are not pleased with the choices of catering halls in that region, then slowly expand your search to the surrounding areas until you are happy with the number of choices being offered, as well as with the distance.

  • Is there a specific type of catering hall (i.e. hotel, vineyard, restaurant, etc.) you would like to restrict your search to?
  • Limiting your catering hall search to the type of catering hall is another way to quickly narrow down your top choices. Knowing exactly the type of catering hall you would like to use can help organize your event quickly and efficiently. However, being flexible with the type of catering hall you choose can often result in a unique event that impresses all of your guests, including yourself! Of course the type of hall you end up choosing will rely largely in part to how large your family reunion will be. It can also depend on the ages of most of your family members. If you are expecting a large number of children to attend the family reunion, then you may want to consider larger catering halls that allow for more space that the children can run around in.

  • What is the date of your family reunion?
  • This may be an obvious "to do", but it is nevertheless an important factor in selecting the perfect catering hall for your family reunion. Just like selecting airline tickets, the more flexible you are the more likely it is to get better rates, options and availability. In order to make sure that most of your family guests can attend the reunion, you may want to ask your family to save the date, or clear a proposed date with your intended guest list before securing a location.

  • How formal an affair do you want your family reunion to be?
  • The level of formality of your family reunion doesn't necessarily equate to the level of pricing of the catering hall. Instead, it can help you to select an appropriate type of hall if given the choice. If you were hoping for a more laid back affair, then perhaps a restaurant location isn't the perfect catering hall for you, despite the large number of people it can hold. An outdoor location may be ideal for your family reunion, depending on the weather.

  • Is there a specific theme you would like to portray?
  • Selecting a theme for your family reunion could really enhance the overall experience for the guests of honor as well as for everyone else. Perhaps you would like to portray a beach theme for your family reunion. Then, a catering hall located on or near the beach may be the perfect decision to really feel the reunion's spirit.

  • How many people will you be hosting at the family reunion?
  • The number of anticipated guests will undoubtedly help limit your catering hall choices, especially if it's a large number. This is true in terms amount of space and the pricing per plate of food. Depending on your budget, this could be the determining factor of where your event should be located at.

  • Will you be requiring onsite food catering?
  • Most of the catering halls we showcase on our website include food catering. However, some do not and will require additional cost and planning in order to provide quality food for your guests. Additionally, if the catering hall of your wishes allows onsite food catering, but not the type of food that you wish to feature, then you may be able to work out a deal with the catering hall's management in order to bring in the type of food you would like to feature. This could hold especially true for families of various ethnic backgrounds hoping to host a family reunion featuring the foods of their ethnicity.

  • How much do you expect to spend per plate?
  • As mentioned earlier, where your family reunion is located will largely - if not completely - depend upon how much you are able and/or willing to spend per plate. If you are especially interested in a specific catering hall, but the cost per plate is higher than you were expecting, you may need to either rethink that catering hall, especially since you may not be able to cut down on the number of family members that you invite to the family reunion!

  • Will you be requiring a Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus?
  • Many catering halls do offer Kosher, Vegetarian or Vegan menus. If this is a must for your event and family, make sure your catering hall choice has this option.

  • Will you be requiring a full service bar or food stations/carving stations for a cocktail hour?
  • Most catering halls (especially hotels and large halls) will offer this service in a customized party package. If the catering hall of your choice does not offer this service in a package be sure to inquire about the additional costs and how it may or may not affect the overall scheduling of your event. If a large number of minors will be attending your family reunion, then be sure to inquire about non-alcoholic beverages. It might also be a fun idea to have different types of different named after different members of your family.

  • Will you be requiring a catering hall that provides party favors?
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, these days many catering halls automatically offer you a selection of party favors to choose from in order to streamline your party planning. If you are not happy with the selection of party favors that are offered, or if you would like to present your guests with additional favors, check to see if the catering hall of your choice has any suggestions. Family reunions are known for personalized party favors that you may need to outsource. Also keep in mind how you would like to disseminate the party favors at your family reunion. Would you like the favors arranged as part of each person's place setting, or would you rather offer them the favors at their arrival or departure? This can largely affect the flow of the event, and even the overall presentation of the reunion.

  • Would you prefer a location with attached or nearby accommodations for out of town guests?
  • If your answer to this question is yes, then you should highly consider hotels as your choice of catering hall. However, pay special attention to non hotel catering halls that are in close proximity to other hotel accommodations. Most halls should have this information ready at hand. Another option you may want to consider is hiring services that can help transport family members from wherever they are staying to your desired family reunion site.

  • Will you be requiring a party planner?
  • If you book your family reunion at a catering hall, chances are you will be provided with an in-house party planner that can help ensure that your event goes smoothly. If you are not provided with one, but you are still interested in having a party planner, keep in mind that Long Island party planners have a wide range of rates, involvement and expertise. The catering hall of your choice could also assist you in finding a party planner who has been involved with past events at that location.

  • Would simultaneous events at your location be acceptable?
  • This is an important, yet often overlooked, factor to keep in mind when booking your family reunion. Neighboring events could distract from a calm celebration or compete with a high energy celebration. On the other hand, catering halls that offer simultaneous events could help keep your costs low and could even fuel the party spirit. In any case, as the party planner, you should be aware as to what types of events may be going on simultaneously to ensure that your family is comfortable and safe.

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