Disclaimer: Whispering Oaks Lodging traded part of our stay in exchange for this post. All feelings on reunions and opinions of the cabin are mine.
I love family reunions! I grew up on family reunions and have learned that not every family will reunion the same. Family reunions can be as simple as an afternoon of eating (always eating!) and catching up in a park, a week long reunion of camping at the lake, a themed reunion full of activities and games, or a few days with everyone together under the same roof. The size of the family and the proximity of family members have a big role in how you reunion. But it doesn’t matter how you reunion, it just matters that you do! Here are 4 tips to planning the best family reunion ever.
This year we were in charge of my husband’s reunion. With family spread between 4 states, we chose a new location and headed to Moab, UT. We chose Moab because it was between the Idaho and the Arizona family, and is full of things to see and explore. The best part of a destination reunion is that seeing the sites is the reunion. I didn’t spend any time preparing games or activities because Moab is full of hiking and biking trails. With 2 national parks and a ton of red rock to explore there was more to do than we had time for.
Depending on how big your family is, and how close to each other you may decide to reunite away from the homestead. When looking for a location, I recommend picking a family favorite or trying something new. The tradition of going to the same place each year gives you something to look forward to and let’s you really get to know a location. Picking a new-to-you place adds a fun vacation element to your family reunion.
If you’ll be spending a few days together, finding a place where you can all be together is important. Depending on your budget your lodging could vary from camp ground to rental house. If staying in a rental house, I would recommend finding one large enough that every individual family can have their own space. Family togetherness can quickly become too much if you are on top of each other with no place to retreat.
With our family spread out, the reunion is the only time we see some family members for the entire year. Staying under the same roof let’s the adults talk and catch up late at night after the kids have gone to sleep.
The best rentals we have found have activities already there. A pool table, hot tub, and even story books for younger kids help keep cousins interacting without a rigid itinerary. The last thing you want at a family reunion is complaints of bored kids!
Photo Credit Whispering Oaks Lodging
We stayed at Whispering Oaks Lodging, in the mountains above Moab. The Cedar Bend Lodge was perfect for our family. It was originally built to be a bed and breakfast, so each bedroom had an attached bathroom. When you aren’t used to spending 3 days together, having a space to retreat to for a few minutes helps keep everyone happy. And helps with bedtimes and nap times for little ones.
Photo Credit Whispering Oaks Lodging
It also had a big kitchen, 2 refrigerators, and a huge dining table which made meal time a breeze. Two fridges may not seem like a big deal, but when you are packing food for 24 people for 3 days fridge space is in high demand! Whispering Oaks also has smaller cabins on the property, which would be great for a really big reunion.
3. Plan Early
Don’t wait to plan! The sooner you can secure a date and place the wider your selection will be, and the sooner family members can put it on the calendar to make sure they can be there. We chose to hold our reunion over Memorial Day Weekend so letting family members know 9 months in advance let them keep that weekend free.
4. Have Fun
Remember things don’t always go as planned. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, and activities may take longer than planned but don’t let little hiccups ruin your reunion. You are probably the only person with expectations of how it is supposed to go – so let it go and have fun!
Some of our favorite reunion activities are our Larry Loot Auction and the video contest. And matching reunion shirts. Let’s not forget those reunion t-shirt!
For the Larry Loot Auction everyone brings a few items to auction off using “Larry Loot” which is just play money with my father-in-law’s (his name is Larry) pictures on it.
The video contest was new this year, but provided a way to keep tech savvy teens involved. The rules were to make a video using photos and video clips from the weekend. Not only were they fun to watch, but everyone took home a little souvenir to remember this year’s reunion by. My kids my or may not watch them on repeat.
Do you have any other tips for how to plan a family reunion?