With the popularity of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with family near and far. We can see the kids growing up and congratulate them on their dance recitals and game-winning goals. We wish each other a ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Like’ the holiday photo. But no matter how connected we are with our family online, there’s still nothing like a classic family reunion to reconnect with loved ones and form bonds and friendships that last a lifetime.
At Watermark Beach Resort, our spacious resort is a popular destination for family reunions, so you could say that we know a thing or two about planning a great one. Here are some tips to help you plan a successful and fun family reunion this summer.
- Gather The Guests
When it comes to family reunions, the question of who to invite is an easy one… Everyone! While you may need to cap the reunion off to certain branches of the family tree (ie: Dad’s cousins and their kids), it’s best to invite everyone within that group to ensure everyone has a chance to meet, mingle, and make some memories.
- Set The Date
Setting a date for a large scale event like a family reunion can be difficult. You want to be able to include everyone but, no matter how hard you try, there will inevitably be some who can’t make it. To ensure the best attendance, set the date early and consider a location that will allow you to spread the reunion out over a few days. Don’t forget to plan around school schedules too!
- Spread Out
Sure, we all love our family, but that doesn’t mean that we want to spend every waking minute in a small cabin with them! Venues like Watermark Beach Resort in the South Okanagan make it easy for everyone to have their own space to relax and decompress. If your cousins aren’t getting along, they can split up for a bit without disrupting the party. Plus, it’s a better night’s sleep for you!
- Get Organized
Stay organized and don’t be afraid to delegate or accept help when it’s offered. There are all kinds of great tools online that can make collaboration and planning easy. Facebook events is a great way to get the word out about the event – just plan to have someone call and confirm the RSVPs and that everyone got the message. Google Docs is also a great (free!) service that allows you to create word documents and spreadsheets that can be shared and collaborated on simultaneously.
- Make It Fun
While you don’t need to be doing something every minute of the day, planning some activities and games can be a great way to keep boredom from setting in – especially for kids. Try to plan a couple of group activities per day. Some of our favourites include sand castle competitions, ball toss games, bocce ball and beach volleyball tournaments, local tours, and a classic, family dance.
- Eat Together, Stay Together
One of the toughest parts of planning a family reunion is figuring out what to feed everyone. Between dietary restrictions, allergies, and budgets, dining can be a nightmare. Where possible, consider potlucks and BBQ’s. Everyone can bring what they want and cook it themselves, taking away a lot of the stress. At Watermark, we have a barbeque area for our guests that is perfect for family reunions!
- Stay Social
It’s inevitable that some of your family members are going to be snap happy and posting up photos of the reunion to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Help keep everyone organized by designating a short, special hashtag that is specific to your family reunion. Something like #WilliamsUnite2015 will make it easy for everyone to see the photos from the weekend and take in any great moments they missed.
- Give Parents a Break
Sometimes at family reunions, parents spend more time chasing after the kids than catching up with long lost relatives. Try to find a babysitter or two for parents who would like to take a few hours off to relax and enjoy the company of fellow grown ups. Some resorts, like Watermark Beach Resort, offer babysitting services for just such an occasion.
- Memorable Momentos
If possible, try to plan a special favour for family reunion guests. Pick something small and that everyone will appreciate like a photo frame. We also love the idea of giving a gift that reflects the location of the reunion. In the South Okanagan, this could be customized golf balls, engraved wine glasses or bottle stoppers, seeds from a local farm, or souvenirs that represent the desert.
If you’re thinking of planning a family reunion in the Okanagan, the team at Watermark Beach Resort is happy to help! We have 123 suites, from studio to 3-bedroom penthouses, all with kitchenettes. For those who need a little more space and privacy, we also offer two bedroom beachfront Villas with private BBQs and outdoor patios that are perfect for taking it easy in the evening. Plus, our outdoor pool, central beachfront location, and spacious meeting and party rooms make it easy for you to gather everyone and make some memories that will last a lifetime.