You are attending your family reunion this summer. Whether you are hosting or traveling somewhere as a guest, you are going to reconnect with your extended family. Summer is a great time for family reunions because whole families can travel together. You may be getting everything ready or getting yourself there, but when the day arrives, you need to have an answer to this question: What are we wearing? Here are some family outfit ideas for your family reunion.
Family reunions can be wrapped around large life events like a golden anniversary or a wedding. Everyone is getting together anyway, so we might as well celebrate the family while we are at it! In these situations, consider the occasion and how the family reunion connects with it. If someone is getting married and the rehearsal dinner is doubling as the reunion, you want to be dressed a little nicer. If it’s a backyard anniversary reunion combo, you can probably keep things a little more casual.
An easy way to pick an outfit is to have everyone wearing the same thing! To start, choose a neutral color for your order of men’s and women’s T-shirts. Next, customize it with your family name. If you have the space, add a message underneath or have a family joke on the back. Finally, buy it in a bunch of different sizes and hand them out as people arrive. Good summer neutrals are whites and creams, browns, and navy. If you can get everyone to wear jeans with tennis shoes or sandals, you may even have yourself a picture-ready group for a nice family photo.
Wait, there’s actually going to be a family photo? Oftentimes, yes! Family reunions are not only opportunities to make family memories but to record them by taking family pictures. Sometimes these are rough-and-tumble, come-as-you-are kinds of pictures, but sometimes there is a professional photographer involved, and the grandparents are planning on framing a giant photograph for their living room. In that case, how do you plan everyone’s outfits so no one clashes and all combinations are visually appealing?
It’s not easy but also not impossible. If you are trying to set up outfits so everyone (more or less) matches, there are some guidelines that can help you out.
If you want something beyond T-shirts but are still uncertain, stick with one or two neutrals and let your environment bring the color. If jeans are still ok, specify light or dark wash or black to keep the colors more consistent and set the photos on a green lawn. If you are going to the beach, stick with sandy brown shades and foamy white men’s and women’s dress shirts with bare feet, and let the sea and sky provide different shades of blue in the background. If you want to work in your own pops of color, choose two neutrals and one bright color. For example, a good combination might be black, gray, and teal. Choose about a third of your party to sport the teal via a women’s blouse, a men’s tie, a scarf, a skirt, or another piece, then strategically place the color when you position everyone for the picture.
If you don’t have any guiding family events, party themes, or group pictures to prepare for, start sleuthing! It is always smart to scope out the type of gathering before making clothing choices. Family reunions are no different. In addition, you’re probably related to the host! You can ask if there is a dress code, a particular party theme, or a plan to take a family picture that will require a certain kind of outfit.
Another smart thing to do is check the location and time of the reunion. A few general guidelines: outdoor parties tend to be more casual than indoor events, evenings are usually more formal than afternoons, and "kid-friendly" probably indicates a more laid-back atmosphere than "adults only." If some of these parameters are specified, apply what you know to the location to create a rough idea of the setting you will be in. Then, think about what kind of outfit will help you fit into that setting.
The final recommendation, in the absence of clear direction, is to ask those who are going what they are wearing. Check with those of your generation and the generation above you to get a feeling for what kind of things others will be wearing, then do your best to have your outfit match it. It may not be perfect, but at least you will blend in with your party, and who knows? Maybe everyone being out of step stylistically will lead to wonderful family memories. While outfits may be important, remember that you are there to celebrate and reconnect with those who are closely related to you. Reunite with your family and make this summer one of relationship and remembering.