We help host a reunion every year at the in-laws farm. This year the reunion is getting moved to a state park that is about 15 miles from us. Everyone is renting cabins there. So, this will be a new experience for us. I am anxiously awaiting May 22 so that I can reserve us a cabin. If they are all gone at that point, we will just drive back and forth. I have to wait until that date to get a state discount. Being the frugalista that I 'sometimes' am, I want the discount. You can only use the discount if you book no more than 30 days in advance. So, I am taking my chances.
This is a state park that isn't that popular and the cabins aren't on the water. We will see.
So, here is what we've done for years and it has worked:
lasagna and salad--This was in the 'older' years. We made lasagna ahead of time and froze it.
Now, we all meet at a bbq joint (which is 15 miles in the opposite direction of where we are going this year. However, we are not breaking tradition and so we will all make the 30 mile run to eat!
Saturday breakfast--on your own. Most of them meet up and eat something at a restaurant. This year we might try a new (to them) restaurant. There is a very good restaurant that is about a mile from the cabins.
I would suggest sweet rolls, donuts, etc. for at least day. The other day I might have breakfast casseroles and fruit.
Saturday lunch--sandwiches, chips and easy desserts--cookies and brownies normally. The sandwiches are made from a ham that someone always brings and also from chicken salad that someone else always brings. Oh, and one lady always brings homemade pimento cheese (I don't like hers LOL).
Saturday night--We buy bbq, beans and potato salad from that same local bbq joint. These people REALLY love their food. Everyone from out of town pools resources and buys slaw fixings, fruit to be cut up, drinks, etc.
Sunday morning--on their own because they are all checking out of the hotels
Sunday lunch--leftover bbq (if any), and whatever else people bring in. There is normally a 'new' group that drives in for the day and brings some new items.
Many items are homemade and many are store bought throughout the weekend. Every family brings a cooler. Ice and drinks are stored in there.
Some other tips:
--If you have a key to your church and it has an ice machine then you could get free ice!
--If anyone offers to go to the store to buy something because they are from out of town and didn't cook, let them! Give them a list. On Friday night, they start a list and then it goes from there. People bring buns, chips, more drinks, even toilet paper.
--You might want to decide some things ahead of time--like who will bring plates, forks, etc. because they can watch for deals now and save them. And, you'll need condiments too.
--Out of town people can bring desserts easily because they are easy to travel with.
--Most people don't even care if the food is homemade or not. LOL Just buy whatever and have fun!
--I've wanted to cook out (hamburgers/hotdogs) for years but no one ever wanted to. This year we are going to since we have access to large grills. I'm excited about that!
--You might think of giving everyone a list ahead of time (if they don't mind something like that) and then they can bring whatever they want with them and buy the rest when they get here.
--I would think about making the list include things for each family to bring like 1 pack of toilet paper, one pack of 20 plates, one bag of chips, 2 cases of drinks, etc. Or, you can be REALLY casual like we are and just show up with whatever and let it all work out. LOL
Oh, and the BIG thing in the summer is to have lots of drinks especially if there are kids coming. We go through tons of drinks when it is hot.
Also think about some games like horseshoes and corn hole.