How to plan an Airbnb Elopement/Wedding

May 23, 2021

Lately elopements and intimate weddings are gaining popularity and so are airbnbs. A lot of people are using them not just for stays but also to host events. Many couples are also looking for alternatives to weddings venues. There are some amazing airbnbs popping up all over the world and if you are looking for something little less than traditional, an Airbnb can make a perfect venue for your elopement. So keep reading to for all the tips so you can plan your own Airbnb elopement.

Airbnbs can add a unique touch to your elopement day! They make for a great place to get ready, to come back and have dinner outside, cuddle up inside with your boo, or even have your ceremony there! Whether you’re eloping by yourselves, and want to stay in a well styled home rather than a generic hotel room, or you’re inviting your people and want to celebrate without going to a restaurant, an AirBnB wedding might be the solution you’re looking for. The ways to utilizable an airbnb for your elopement are endless.

Rental properties offer so many benefits that most traditional wedding venues simply can’t, including a cozy atmosphere, flexibility when it comes to your planning your wedding or elopement and a place to crash after your reception. An airbnb wedding is a great option for couples who want an at-home feel without having to host their wedding in their own home.

Do you dream of a low-key, DIY, or intimate wedding that steps outside of the typical wedding venue? Maybe you want to save money, curate your wedding in a non-traditional location, or have the ease of less travel between rehearsal, ceremony, and reception locations? The best thing about Airbnb weddings is that everything is so flexible—you can do it any way you want!

picture of the dress taken at a cabin airbnb elopement

Can I have my wedding or elopement at an Airbnb?

Many couples at the beginning stages of wedding planning wonder if they can rent an Airbnb for a wedding. The is, heck yes! But there are some things you’ll need to consider. Choosing an Airbnb or VRBO venue can provide a less expensive and more intimate location for your elopement. The Airbnb can be a place for a nearby ceremony or used just to get ready for the day. It can also be used for a mini reception after your ceremony. Airbnbs can be a great fit for both options whether it’s just you two or not!

Some reasons why you might want to consider an airbnb for your elopement
  • There are tons of options when it comes to Airbnbs. They can offer a homey feel where you can add your own personal touches. OR if you’d rather have a spot that is as close to the style you are going for as possible!
  • You can either use your Airbnb for a reception, or just a place for you and your guests to stay near your elopement location. Or you can even do everything at the Airbnb from getting ready to having a celebration. 
  • Airbnb provides a place for all of you to stay together, get ready before the ceremony and spend time!
  • Airbnbs can often be right in the middle of where your elopement takes place [think a super cute boho desert house in Joshua Tree], which will greatly reduce your travel time from one location to another and coordinate everything under one roof for a smooth process.
  • They provide you with the freedom to do whatever you wish for your elopement day. This way you can make it a unique experience. There are so many Airbnb options to choose from when it comes to keeping in line with your elopement vision.
  • An Airbnb can provide variety for your intimate wedding or elopement! From getting ready on your big day, to having a cozy day-after session with you + your partner or doing a steamy photo sesh in the bathtub with your boo.

bride and groom standing back to back and holding hands taken at an airbnb elopement in georgia

Questions to ask before you book an airbnb elopement or wedding venue:

WHAT IS THE LOCATION LIKE? WHAT DOES THE SCENERY LOOK LIKE?

Location is a big deal. Whether you are using it to get ready or just to have a reception after. It’s even more important if you want to have your ceremony there as well. A beautiful view will make for an amazing ceremony location. Ask these questions when booking a place:

  • How much property does the Airbnb come with?
  • Will you have access to the whole property?
  • How private is the Airbnb? Are there neighbors close by?
  • How far is your Airbnb to your ceremony location or to the spot you want to go explore?

Pro tip: We recommend choosing your elopement location first, then deciding on your Airbnb. That way you + your partner will be able to get married in a place that is close to your heart.

DOES THE AIRBNB ALLOW WEDDINGS?

Before you book an Airbnb, be sure to check the host’s policies to make sure they allow events. Not all Airbnbs allow events! As a precaution, maybe get the host’s permission in writing outside of Airbnb or VRBO outlining all of the details. If possible have a contract which also states that they cannot cancel your event within a certain timeframe . It’s always best to cover all the bases to avoid any issues in the future. Some other great resources to check out are VBRO, GlampingHub, HomeAway, Boutique Homes, Under Canvas and Book a Treehouse if you’re looking for an international location. 
Pro tip: When searching for an Airbnb, you can sort results by “suitable for events”. This ensures that your Airbnb will be able to host your wedding! If you’re unsure, or if the listing information seems vague, you can always message the host to confirm! 

WHAT DO THE REVIEWS LOOK LIKE?

Be sure to read a lot of reviews to make sure you know what you are getting from the place. You definitely don’t want to show up and be surprised or shocked by something unexpected.

HOW MANY GUESTS ARE PERMITTED?

Confirm your guest list with the host. Get it in writing that the number of guests are permitted on the property at any given time.
Is there parking available on-site?This is a big detail to consider if you are planning a wedding with friends and family members. Be sure to talk to your host before booking. This way you can ensure no one is having to park their rental car far from the Airbnb. If you have guests driving in separate cars, check that there will be sufficient on-site parking. Ask the host where overflow parking should be held to avoid damaging any land or intruding on a neighbor’s property.

IS THERE A NOISE ORDINANCE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD? WHAT ABOUT NEIGHBORS?

You may not find the answer to this question on the online listing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the host. If it’s just the two of you then this probably won’t be an issue. But if you’re having 10-20 people and playing some music, it may be a good thing to check! Be sure to personally check city and county regulations for noise ordinances or other event restrictions to avoid any issues. 

Whether or not there is an official noise ordinance, you of course want to be courteous of neighbors. Ask the host about any nearby neighbors so that you can respect their space. 

CAN YOU MOVE INSIDE IF THE WEATHER IS BAD?

Be sure that there is a shaded area. Or a bigger area inside to move your ceremony. You can also bring a bunch of clear umbrellas and get married in the rain. Trust me it’s romantic as heck!

IS PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY ALLOWED?

Some properties don’t allow commercial photo and video shoot. Be sure to confirm that there won’t be any issues with photo and video. Double-check that the host is okay with their property being photographed and images being shared online or publicly.

bride and groom kissing their puppy taken an airbnb elopement in north georgia

Tips for a Perfect Airbnb Elopement or Wedding

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect Airbnb venue for your wedding.

DECOR

  • Choose an airbnb that is styled to your vision to cut down the decoration costs. Renting a blank canvas that might cost more to decorate. For example, rent a house in Joshua tree for a boho desert wedding.
  • Consider renting (instead of buying) decorations like tableware, centerpieces, and styled decor for photoshoots.
  • Work with a wedding coordinator. They can handle the styling and vendor coordination so that you can solely focus on your wedding.
  • Get creative! You can use outdoor space for one aspect, the dining room for an intimate dinner, or the deck for the reception. 
  • Consider renting chairs for outdoor ceremonies instead of bringing the airbnb furniture out. If the place allows it, you can even rent a tent & some space heaters and have your entire wedding outside. 

SIZE of the PROPERTY

  • Just the two of you eloping? You can do so much! 
  • If you are wanting to invite your friends and family, you might want to rent a bigger house to share with them. Or rent a group of nearby places so that your guests don’t have to drive too much to get to your elopement festivities.
  • Make sure to ask these questions to your host: Can you use the outdoor space? Find out what’s allowed and what isn’t. 
  • Is there plenty space for all guests to move around? Is there a backup plan for bad weather, big enough indoors or a covered space perhaps? Will there be a party tent or outbuildings?

FACILITIES/AMENITIES

  • Does the kitchen come with the appliances or cookware that’s needed for dinner and drinks? Or will the caterers or bartenders bring everything?
  • Is there enough space for dining, and is there enough tableware, or will that need to be brought in? If there isn’t enough table space, consider renting one from an decor rental place instead of buying one. 
  • Consider your guest count. Are there enough bathrooms for all your guests? For a larger outdoor wedding, you may consider renting a few portable bathrooms. 

LOCAL VENDORS

  • Food & Drink: If the Airbnb has some constraints such as kitchen size consider bringing in food trucks or bar carts! You can even hire a private chef to make a meal for two or a caterer to cater food your intimate family dinner. If you want a private chef, make sure that the AirBnB’s kitchen has all the amenities you need to prepare a meal.
  • Check with your Airbnb host for recommendations. Especially if the host has done weddings on their property before, they should be able to recommend trusted vendors. 
  • If you are not a DIY kind of person, consider hiring a wedding coordinator. They can help you making sure your day runs smoothly. This will take a huge load off of your shoulders. 
  • Photography & Videography: A photographer & videographer who is experienced in wedding photography and someone who is well versed in shooting in low light situations because chances are the inside on an airbnb may not always be perfectly lit.
bride and groom portrait taken at a cabin elopement in blue ridge georgia

Pros and Cons of Having an Airbnb Elopement or Wedding

It’s a little bit of work upfront: checking for event restrictions, and choosing your wedding vendors. But when it all comes together Airbnb weddings are great. 

Pros of having an Airbnb Wedding

  • Cost: Airbnbs cost less than traditional wedding venues. 
  • Unique locations: Since you are not limited to wedding venues, you have a ton of options when it comes to location, type of property, and scenery. This can be great if you’re looking at getting married in a specific location but there aren’t wedding venues available to book in that area. 
  • Great multi-use options for less travel: Having a place to get ready and have your wedding reception as well as having sleeping accommodations all in one place can be a great stress reliever and save you a lot of time. You might choose to stay overnight with your wedding party the night before your wedding and/or extend your stay after to spend some time with your love.
  • Freedom to choose your own vendors: You have complete freedom to choose your own wedding vendors which may not always be an option with a traditional wedding venue. 

Cons of having an Airbnb Wedding

  • Event restrictions: Not all Airbnbs permit events, so there’s a chance that the one Airbnb you really want doesn’t allow people to host weddings on the property. 
  • Additional rental costs: Depending on the Airbnb’s amenities and the size of your guest list, you may need to rent things like chairs, tableware, cookware, or additional portable restrooms to accommodate guests.
bride and groom sharing their first kiss taken at a cabin airbnb elopement in north georgia

Pro Tips:

Try to See the Property in Person: Pictures can sometimes misguide you and sometimes airbnb website doesn’t have the best pictures of all aspects of the property so I highly suggest checking out the property in person prior to booking. 

Check Your Surroundings: You will want to make sure there are other nearby rentals or hotels to accommodate your guests as well if they are not staying in the same place as you. 

Think of Decor + Location: The style of the Airbnb can really dictate the vibe of the wedding! Lean into the decor and location to help curate your look.Or look for a place that already has the decor and the theme you have been dreaming about. 

Make it your own: Even if you use the existing decor of the house, really make it your own and personalize by having a kick ass floral installation. Florals can really add a little something extra to your wedding decor.

Consider Rentals: The location and the decor has already dictated the style of the venue. You can still personalize your elopement by bringing in rentals and decor that reflect your personal style. Whether the property is large or small, try to separate the event space from the living space as in separate the place where the couple may be getting ready from where the guests are staying.

Make the Most of Location: Try to use the surrounding area for portraits so you can take full advantage of the geographical location you have chosen. For instance, you can do a first look at the Joshua Tree National Park or get your photos at the windmills in Palm Springs

Trust a Planner with the Details: While Airbnb’s give more of a cozy at-home feel for an elopement, a planner can really help you figure out all the details so that you can concentrate on enjoying your day with your friends and family without having to worry about everything else. A planner can handle all the design and the set up if you’d like to come back to a styled reception. This way you don’t have to plan your own Airbnb elopement.

Get Insured: Cover food + alcohol-related damages as well as other damages by getting a vacation rental insurance and a catering insurance.

Consider a Private Stay: While staying with family and friends can be so much fun, consider staying alone and for a week, if you are up for that! Enjoy the build-up for a few days and enjoy winding down for a few days. It may be tempting to split the cost and have friends or family stay at the house with you. It is just as much fun to just be alone especially after your elopement and enjoy newlywed life. Your friends and family can stay at other places nearby.

Consider Where You’ll Get Ready: Make sure there’s a place for both of you to get ready. If you are staying with your friends and family, have them get ready with you. It could be a great hang out or a bonding experience. 

Be Open With the Owner: Most importantly, be honest with the host – tell them it’s for a wedding. There is so much bad advice out there telling couples that you should lie to your vendors so you don’t get charged extra. There is nothing worse than someone crashing your party because they didn’t know you were having a wedding. 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.

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. 

Arrive Early: Book the place couple days in advance and arrive a day or two early. This gives you plenty time to walk the space and scope out where we wanted to do the ceremony in advance, especially if you aren’t able to tour the place in advance. You can also use this time to rearrange some furniture if need be and hide any decor that doesn’t go with your theme. Just take photos of what it looked like before and make sure to put it back to how it was before leaving.

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. Ask them if they could give you the dimensions of the dining table and a full seat count of the chairs so that you can plan ahead and make other arrangements if need be. 

Think Ahead:This goes for dinnerware as well, most Airbnb’s don’t have the most stylish plates and cups available. You can either rent tableware or bring them from your home if you have enough. You can even buy some if you are planning to reuse them in your home later but renting might end up saving you some money.

photo of a cabin taken during an airbnb elopement in blue ridge georgia

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed. There are tons of amazing Airbnbs out there. That’s why I have compiled two giant lists of various places all over US and you can find them here & here. I hoped this has helped you decide whether or not an Airbnb elopement or wedding is the right choice for you. Part of my job as an elopement photographer is helping you find a location that fits your vision. I can also help you craft the perfect timeline, talk through logistics and make your day the best one yet! Reach out to me & let’s plan your perfect Airbnb elopement!

Xoxo,          Ruzin

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