For my Texan family, anything is an opportunity to barbecue: a long weekend, some good weather, or just a good day in general. For years, a barbecue has been our simple way to get our loved ones together — and there wouldn’t be much planning involved.
We’d have an invitation sent around with a date and a suggested time, and that’s about it. Yet after years of barbecues, questions like “who’s coming again?” and “can someone send me the group photos?” still circled the picnic table. Somehow we didn’t have a system for our tradition, which got frustrating when we started having more guests than space.
I decided to do something about it. Encouraged by memories of our growing tradition (and the chance to become the favorite grandchild), I started researching tools to plan family gatherings. Thanks to lessons from Google’s Applied Digital Skills program, I’ve learned how to add some coordination to our barbecues. Now, I can easily keep track of plans and many of my family’s memories using some of my favorite apps in Google Workspace. Here’s how to do it when you’re planning your own family barbecue or reunion picnic.
Kick off your planning with Google Calendar
The most important part of any family reunion is… family! If it’s your responsibility to invite them, you want to let them know early, even though you might not have all the details finalized. Thankfully, Calendar lets you send modifiable invitations. So if later you decide to hold the picnic in your aunt’s backyard instead of the park, you can easily change the location in the invite and send an email update to guests.
And to make sure you’re on top of everything, Calendar helps you remember events and things on your to-do list through notifications and Google Tasks. To learn how to use both features, I took the Organize Your Day with Google Calendar and Create Task in Calendar lessons. Afterwards, I knew how to customize notifications that only alerted me about an event when it was most helpful for me. I also learned about calendar entries called Tasks that you can use to prompt yourself to remember small things like “pick up groceries for the family reunion.” Like events, you can even make these entries repeat for the tasks that require frequent attention.