Grand Gawith Gatherings & the Value of Family Reunions

Christopher | Jul 14 2023

Party Houses

I believe that family holidays and reunions are the cornerstone of childhood memories. They present such a beautiful and unique opportunity to discover new places with your loved ones. No matter the season or style of holiday, you can be sure that the experience will be unforgettable, leaving you with some beautiful anecdotes to treasure for the rest of your life. In celebration of the summer holidays, I decided to break away from my usual content and share a story of my own, about the Grand Gawith Reunions and how they shaped not just my relationships with my extended family, but also who I am today.

The Grand Gawith Reunions:

My name is Leah, and I grew up on the beautiful coasts of Cape Town. My family has always been passionate about travelling, so every school holiday meant a different destination… with one exception. The bi-annual Grand Gawith Reunion. My mum comes from a rather large family and is the third of four daughters. Her sisters live between the UK and Australia, but every second year for as long as I remember, the whole family would come together to celebrate Christmas in South Africa together. There were 19 of us then. Without fail, we would load the car up to the brim, pile ourselves in, and make the great journey to the breathtaking mountains of the Drakensberg.

This tradition started as far back as I can remember, and it has allowed us all to forge such beautiful bonds that we still maintain. As all of us have grown up, the dynamics have shifted, with my older cousins marrying their partners and having children, and the younger ones introducing lovers to the, admittedly, intimidatingly large group of us. Our tradition of meeting in the Drakensberg each year has shifted now, with weddings replacing Christmas as the primary motivation for our reunions, and our destinations expanding to other parts of the world. The nature of our holidays may have shifted with time, but they remain an integral part of all our identities. From capsizing kayaks on the Orange River to sipping champagne at a cousin’s wedding in France, I would not trade these memories for the world.

Building lasting connections:

These experiences are also what forged the connection I share with my aunts and cousins today. I am a true believer of the fact that family holidays have the power to shape who we are and build lasting bonds with our relatives. If, like me, you come from a large troop of extended family, getting everyone together can be a real challenge, but failing to do so leaves you with a contact list of relatives whom you’ve never really known. This has always been one of the greatest parts of the Grand Gawith Reunions. Preparations for the next encounter start two years prior, at the current reunion, and the determination of my mother and her sisters is nothing short of admirable.

These days, with my brothers, cousins, and me scattered even further around the globe, our reunions are more treasured than ever before. But there has been another side to all of this, which is the independent relationships that we have all forged with one another. Our reunions lefts us all with a strong familial bond, the result of which is that we make an effort to see each other wherever we are in the world. We keep in touch, look out for each other, and all do our best to attend every reunion.

The Grand Gawith Reunions were actually one of the primary reasons I joined Party Houses. Looking over the listings of fabulous houses and estates, I thought fondly back on all of those unforgettable memories and felt excited at the prospect of helping other families to find places that would allow them to build memories like mine. You don’t really need to have a specific reason for a family reunion, in my opinion. We have typically centred ours around Christmas and weddings, though this is only because we all live on opposite ends of the earth. The way I see it, if you can get everyone under one roof… why wouldn’t you?

A personal touch:

I love the personal touch of Party Houses. I am involved on the writing end of things, but one of my favourite parts of the day is listening to my colleagues, cheerfully greeting potential guests, and helping them find venues for their events. They never cease to amaze me with their extensive knowledge about all of the places to stay in the UK. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a family reunion, or perhaps… lucky enough to have regular reunions like me, I’d suggest sending them an inquiry.

At the end of the day, the most important part of any of this is getting everyone together. It’s so easy to miss a text or forget to call, but reunions enforce that connection with your extended family and allow you to build treasured memories together. If you’re thinking of getting out of town anyways, why not take it one step further and strengthen all of those bonds?