A whole new crop of wedding venues are popping up — in the form of seriously dreamy Airbnb properties. If you’re looking for something a little left of center from the traditional, you may consider an Airbnb wedding the *perfect* answer. From cabins to desert retreats to yurts to good old fashioned homes, there are tons of unique options to say your vows.
But with a new avenue of wedding locations comes a whole new set of rules. Just exactly HOW do you host a wedding at an Airbnb? Where do you start and what questions do you ask?
We decided to talk to some Airbnb-wedding veterans to get the answers. Say hello to designers, Wild Heart Events and Ashton Events, and former Airbnb-bride, Bridget. They’re sharing the low-down from their own experiences so that you’ll know exactly what to do after clicking book now!
Real Wedding: Boho Wedding at an Airbnb in Joshua Tree
Tips from planners + designers Wild Heart Events:
Try to See the Property in Person: Pictures can sometimes misguide you so we highly suggest checking out the property prior to booking. Even if you are having a small elopement, you need to make sure you are fully transparent with the owner. Usually, they can help guide you in how to host a successful event at their property.
Check Your Surroundings: You will want to make sure there are other nearby rentals or hotels to accommodate your guests as well.
Think of Decor + Location: With interior design at the forefront of modern event inspiration, the style of the Airbnb can really dictate the vibe of the wedding! Lean into the decor and location to help curate your look. We have done events at Airbnb’s in Joshua Tree that read modern and bohemian all the way to a woodsy wedding in Sandy Oregon and a modern soiree in Palm Springs!
Consider Rentals: While the style of the venue is already decided based on its location and decor, you can really make your wedding your own by bringing in rentals and decor that reflect your personal style. Whether the property is large or small, we try to separate the event space from the living space where the couple may be getting ready or guests may be staying.
Look into Local Food + Drink Options: If the Airbnb has some constraints such as kitchen size we love to bring in food trucks or bar carts!
Make the Most of Location: Additionally, we try to use the surrounding area for portraits so the couple can take full advantage of the geographical location they have chosen. For instance, we may schedule a first look at the Joshua Tree National Park or photograph our couple at the windmills in Palm Springs.
Trust a Planner with the Details: While Airbnb’s are seemingly more of an at-home feel for a wedding, we still advise that you entrust a wedding planner to produce your event so that your friends and family can enjoy their time together for such a special occasion!
Real Wedding: Backyard Marsh Wedding at a Florida Airbnb
photos by Mari Sabra Photography at an Airbnb on Diego Island, Saint Augustine, Florida
Tips from planners and designers Ashton Events:
Get Insured: Make sure you get vacation rental insurance to cover any damages and catering insurance to cover food + alcohol-related damages.
Don’t Forget Neighbors + Noise: This is a huge one! Christina said, “We only had 3 neighbors on the island where we got married so we wanted to make sure to stay in their good graces. We created ‘date night’ goodie baskets for each of the neighbors. We basically said enjoy a night out on us while we make a lot of noise.”
Consider a Private Stay: Stay alone and stay for a week! Enjoy the build-up for a few days and enjoy winding down for a few days. You might be tempted to split the cost and have friends or family stay at the house with you, but it’s so much fun to just be alone and enjoy newlywed life after a big celebration.
Consider Where You’ll Get Ready: Make sure there’s a place for both of you to get ready. When (at the very least) the bride can get ready in the house, it is really magical to watch your vision come to life at the same time. Take it in and appreciate all of the details and work it took to get there.
Be Open With the Owner: Most importantly, be honest with the owner – tell the owner it’s for a wedding. I can’t imagine anything worse than someone crashing your party because you weren’t honest about it. Be patient! It’s worth it!
Real Wedding: Cosy Wedding on an Island in Lake Superior
Tips from the bride, planner, and designer Bridget:
Bridget’s Experience: We loved the idea of having a really home-y casual vibe for our wedding day without a strict timeline and having the venue be an Airbnb really allowed for that. It was great knowing we could keep the wood-burning fireplace going and the cocktails flowing as into the evening as we wanted. Guests could retire when they wished into their own rooms without having to worry about transportation.
It created such a sense of family and community all being able to stay together in the same large cabin. We made a jambalaya dinner the night before as a group before celebrating the big event. The morning after, we cooked brunch together with mimosas in our pajamas without having to leave once.
Our host was a local expert and was able to connect us with many local businesses for our day. He had a good friend who owned a local farm-to-table restaurant on the island who ended up cooking us a private dinner in the Airbnb kitchen. He also had a friend who owned a sailboat charter company. We were picked up on the dock right at our Airbnb for a sunset sail all because of his connection and his friend’s familiarity with navigating to his dock before!
Get the Property Details: When searching for a place the biggest things, of course, are room count and your guest list if you plan on having guests stay with you. Secondly, see if there are potential areas for a ceremony set up either outside or inside. We were very fortunate as our host had actually hosted his own wedding at this cabin back in 1998 so he had assured us there were some good spots outside for a setup.
Arrive Early: We arrived Thursday evening for a Saturday wedding, this gave us ample time to walk to the space and scope out where we wanted to do the ceremony in advance. If you can tour the Airbnb ahead of your stay, even better. There was something fun in the spontaneity of not have it 100% planned out until we got there. But having that extra time took some pressure off the whole weekend knowing that our actual day could be carefree.
Edit, Edit, Edit: We rearranged some of the furniture in the Airbnb (of course check with your host to make sure that’s allowed) to create separate “getting ready” spaces for the bride and groom as well as to figure out all of our sleeping arrangements in the cabin. There were also a few items we selectively hid just because we didn’t necessarily want some of the decor in our wedding photos.
Meal Plan: Make sure you communicate with your host on what the seating and dining setups are at the Airbnb if you aren’t planning on bringing anything yourself. Our host was gracious enough to give us the dimensions of the dining table and a full seat count of the chairs he had at the cabin along with photographs.
Think Ahead: This goes for dinnerware as well, most Airbnb’s don’t have the most stylish plates and cups available. We ended up purchasing our own plates, napkins, silverware and vintage wine glasses to use on our big day and brought them to the Airbnb. We had just bought a new house and it was great to be able to use all the items from our wedding at home afterward as our new set and as a cute reminder of our day.
Questions to ask when you’re hosting an Airbnb wedding:
- Are there enough restrooms for your guest count? Is it well water? (If so, flooding could be an issue. So make sure you check with the owner on what the plumbing situation is!)
- Can you install a tent on their property?
- What’s the kitchen situation? Can the it accommodate a catering staff? Will your caterer need a generator? Is there enough room or refrigerator space to store food?
- Can you move inside if the weather is bad?
- Is there enough parking? Are there Ubers in the area and/or do you need to arrange transport?
- Is the property handicap accessible?
- Are there good spots for photos?
- How will trash be disposed of?
- What time is the city’s noise ordinance?