Planning elopements & intimate weddings at Airbnbs is one of our absolute favorite things to do and we have been doing it for years now! These types of weddings used to be for our non-traditional couples and Airbnbs served as basecamps for their adventurous ceremonies or secluded and intimate places to gather with their closest friends and family! Smaller weddings have become more popular in the last few years (even more so with Coronavirus temporarily putting the kibosh on larger events) and Airbnbs are becoming more popular as “venues”. If you’re wanting to host an elopement or intimate wedding at an Airbnb, keep reading!
Start by picking your general location:
- If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start planning your Airbnb wedding, we suggest choosing the general location you want to hold your ceremony and take photos
- Is it particular city, state, region, national park?
- Choose an Airbnb within an hour of your chosen ceremony/photo location
Have respect the property/owners/neighbors:
- Find a place that allows parties/events
- Ask for permission, even if the property says it doesn’t allow parties/events
- Be honest with the host but avoid the words “party” and “wedding”
- Make sure your Airbnb profile is complete and you have good reviews from other hosts–We’ve had hosts cite our good reviews as a reason for bending the rules for us!
- Sample message to host:
We are visiting Mount Rainier National Park in June. We are planning to get married, elopement-style, in the park with our closest friends and family and are hoping to host a small dinner afterward to celebrate! Most of the guests will already be staying onsite but we wanted to ask your permission before inviting any additional guests to dinner. We want to be respectful of your home and any neighbors! To be sure of this, we have also hired a professional planner that specializes in intimate celebrations at Airbnbs. Please feel free to check them out or contact them at www.thegreatestadventureweddings.com.
Thank you so much,
- If you choose not to ask the host’s permission, we don’t recommend big setups (chairs, arches, lighting, etc.) or having more people on the property than the listing says it can accommodate
- If there are neighbors nearby, keep the noise level down (a bluetooth speaker is plenty) and keep any county noise ordinances in mind! In most Washington counties, it’s 10pm. This doesn’t mean the party has to stop but turn it down and move it inside!
If possible, visit the Airbnb before the wedding day:
- Scout the property for ceremony and photo locations, check out the kitchen, see if there is electricity outside or if you’ll need generators, etc.
- If you’re coming from out of town or the host won’t allow this, don’t worry too much–We don’t get a chance to visit most Airbnbs in advance, you just have to be a little flexible day-of with layout, etc.
Book your Airbnb for at least 2 nights:
- If you weren’t able to visit the Airbnb in advance, this gives you time to scope out the property, gives you more time for setup + you’ll want to have the Airbnb the morning of your wedding day to get ready. If you only book your Airbnb for the night of the wedding, you won’t have time for all for this as check-in isn’t usually until 3 or 4pm.
Keep in mind how far the Airbnb is from big cities, airports and vendors:
- If you and/or guests are flying in, how far is your Airbnb from the airport?
- Will you and/or guests have rent a car or are ride shares available in the area?
- How far will your vendors have to travel and what are their travel fees?
- What other sites/activities are in the area for guests to see/do?
If guests aren’t staying with you, be sure there are other accommodations in the area:
- Make it easy for guests by sending recommendations for other Airbnbs and hotels, in a range of prices!
Consider the logistics of the Airbnb & property itself:
- Look for big decks or flat lawns for any dinner setups
- Make sure there is enough indoor space, just in case weather doesn’t cooperate
- Even if you don’t plan to hold your ceremony on-site, it’s nice to book a property that has a suitable plan B option
- Are there bathrooms onsite?
- If not, you may need to rent portable restrooms
- Be especially careful with septic systems–We’ve seen a septic tank overflow because there were 25 people using a restroom meant for 2 (portable restrooms were recommended) and the catering team was running the water in excess of what was normal for this property to rinse dishes and equipment
- Make sure there is plenty of parking onsite
- Don’t forget about vendors–They’ll need on-site parking and will likely be driving separately from one another
- Ask guests that are staying off-site to carpool
- DO NOT block or park on neighbor’s properties
- Make sure there is enough space for both of you to get ready. Multiple bathrooms are a plus for this reason too!
Play off of the style, decor and layout of the Airbnb:
- Before bringing in rentals, see what’s available in-house
- Are there patio tables you can cover with linens, instead of bringing in tables?
- Ask the host how many place settings they have and what they look like?
- Ask the host about cooking/serving items like crockpots, serving platters, etc.
- RESPECT the host’s time–They aren’t a venue or your wedding planner
- RESPECT the hosts furniture–Use coasters, cover tables w/ linens, etc.
- If you move anything, PUT IT BACK
Hire a professional team:
- If you didn’t consider or don’t want to worry about the details above, you should absolutely hire a professional planner!
- If you don’t want family slaving over a hot stove (even though it can also be the cutest thing ever, see above) or washing dishes, busing tables or removing trash from the property (instead of being guests), you should absolutely hire a professional catering team!
- If you don’t want to fly with 15 pieces of luggage, rent a truck to pick up and return tables, chairs, and crates of dishware and glassware or hang bistro lighting, you should absolutely hire a professional rental company!
This is major! There are more and more awesome vendors hopping on the intimate wedding train and they can be worth every penny! No matter the location or size of your wedding, there are important details to consider and you shouldn’t have to be the one stressing about them on your big day!
Need help planning your Airbnb elopement or intimate wedding? Contact The Greatest Adventure Weddings & Elopements to set up a complimentary consultation!
Cheers & happy planning!