Go behind the scenes: Meet the real families in Vrbo’s ad campaign celebrating togetherness

Nothing is more important than being with the people you love and it’s the perfect time for families to be reunited again after many months apart and missed milestones. In Vrbo’s ad campaign that’s all about togetherness, we surprised the stars of our commercial with their families. Get an inside look into the surprise reunions and read more about their unique stories:

Tomas and Hugo

After spending 12 years together, Tomas and Hugo exchanged their vows in an intimate setting in 2020 with just the two of them and their pup. Due to the pandemic, their family and friends were not able to attend or celebrate in person.

For the ad, we asked Tomas and Hugo to recreate their intimate wedding ceremony and surprised them with their family and friends in the final shot of the day. Shocked and overjoyed, they shared with us: “Being able to touch, smell, breathe your loved ones is a sensation that connects and runs through your soul. This past year, we've been living with uncertainty and now, suddenly, out of nowhere, we could hug our friends and family.” Tomas even expressed how recreating their wedding for the ad felt like something they weren’t able to experience during the pandemic, and turned to Hugo to say, “Is this how it feels to get married in public, in ‘real life’? If so, I want to marry you every possible time, I want to feel these emotions always.

Molly and family

Molly and her husband found out they were pregnant in early 2020 and planned to share the news with her parents (and soon-to-be-grandparents) during an upcoming family vacation, but the trip was canceled at the onset of the pandemic. She still found a creative way to announce the news, sharing that they’d have to book three plane tickets for Thanksgiving, but they still weren’t able to fly by then. Molly’s family watched her bump grow over computer screens and continued to cheer her on after baby William was born.

After 17 months apart, the special moment finally came on the set of the ad when Molly, her husband and William turned the corner to discover her parents waiting to meet William for the first time. Molly shared with us: “Seeing them hold Will for the first time reminded me just how much we have to be grateful for. I’ve never gone this long without seeing my parents, so turning the corner and having them here, completely unexpectedly, I was elated and couldn’t stop crying. I never realized just how much William looks like my dad.”

Heather and aunt Zelika

Heather shares a treasured relationship with her favorite aunt Zelika. She wasn’t able to see her aunt Z during the pandemic because Zelika serves as the primary caretaker for her uncle Donald, who survived a lifechanging heart transplant. In fact, before Zelika married Donald, she worked in media and always dreamed of moving to LA to pursue acting.

Then, Vrbo came knocking. We got Zelika in on the surprise and special opportunity to share the stage with her unsuspecting niece Heather. While cameras rolled, Heather opened the door on set to find her favorite aunt on the other side. In the emotional moment, Heather told us: “Opening the door and seeing my sweet Auntie Z standing there was an answer to prayer! Some things you just can't put into words...” Equally excited, Zelika shared with us: “I felt such comfort to actually see Heather in person, to hug and kiss her. It's been such a long time since we have seen each other. I felt like I was floating on top of beautiful mountains.”

Melissa and grandfather Staton

Melissa shared with us just how much she missed her family including one person in particular: her grandfather Staton. Over the past year, Melissa and her son Noah have not been able to see Staton due to the pandemic.

For the ad, we knew we had to bring together Melissa, Noah and her family with a memorable reunion. On set, Melissa and Noah turned their backs to find Staton standing followed by the rest of their family. Overcome with joy and such shock, Melissa shared with us about the unforgettable experience: “I thought the idea for the commercial had changed since my son and I were the only ones to have been ‘booked’ or so I thought. When I turned around and saw my grandpa’s face it was unexplainable and surreal. For lack of words, marvelous.”