If you've ever considered getting married in a beautiful Airbnb, this guide is for you. You can have an intimate, small wedding and enjoy a great experience at the same time. If you're here, I'm assuming you are thinking of eloping or having a smaller wedding, and an Airbnb is a location option!
When planning an elopement or small wedding, choosing the right accommodation for you and your day can make a huge difference! Especially if you are trying to plan an event there as well. Since elopements by nature are less rigid and traditional, it can be hard to determine what kind of place you want/need to stay. There are SO MANY options: Hotels, Inns, Bed and Breakfasts, Glamping, etc. So why have an Airbnb elopement?
Choosing to book an Airbnb for your elopement can have a lot of benefits and really make your day come together. In this full Airbnb elopement guide, we are about to go through absolutely everything you need to know. Let's jump in!
What is an Airbnb elopement?
An Airbnb elopement is exactly that - an elopement at an Airbnb, or including your Airbnb in some part of your day. Elopements are now a beautiful alternative to the traditional big weddings. You get to focus on spending your money on the experiences, and the people who truly matter. Using a short term rental property to host your day can make you feel like your "home away from home", allowing comfort and everything in one place without the huge price tag.
If you're looking for something different than the typical party-time affair, this may be right up your alley.
Reasons to have an Airbnb elopement
1. Location, Location, Location!
Since Airbnbs are typically owned by individuals, you get the opportunity to stay at a spot that is totally unique and not cookie-cutter! This can even mean being closer to you where you want to explore, or where you want to have your elopement ceremony. This also means you can find some really uniquely designed spaces that match the vibe of your day! The beauty of it all is that there are generally way more options than hotels in the area.
Using an Airbnb for your elopement really gives you a more intimate feel than a traditional hotel. Depending on where you stay, there's often more privacy in the space and surrounding area that you choose. You can find some gorgeous off-grid cabins or homes with a property where you get the freedom to explore. AND, unlike hotels, there won't be anyone jumping upstairs or TVs blaring from the next room!
Staying at an Airbnb, you're most likely going to have a cozier vibe. Since a lot of Airbnbs are built to be residential dwellings (although not all.) You may have access to more amenities like full kitchens, laundry, and often unique extras like board games or movies, or maybe even a private jacuzzi! While there may not be someone coming from Room Service, you get the feeling of it being your private comfy home away from home.
How to Plan an Airbnb elopement
There are a few factors when determining how actually to plan your elopement while incorporating your Airbnb. Unfortunately, it can sometimes not be as easy as clicking "book". So let's break down a few important details on how to book the right Airbnb for you elopement!
1.Find the right Airbnb for your elopement
Over the years, Airbnb has gotten stricter with some of its rules around anything resembling a "party" or "event." Generally speaking, no host wants to be responsible for a crazy loud or potentially destructive rager in their space! While that's probably NOT what you're planning, it is important to understand that not all hosts are comfortable with anything close to a "Wedding."
However, there are ways to still book an Airbnb for your elopement or intimate wedding. It is crucial to be upfront and honest with the host from the beginning though. This means BEFORE even booking, message them and tell them your plans. If possible, AVOID saying "wedding" at all. While some hosts themselves are okay with your small gathering, the local city regulations or Airbnb themselves may be the ones not allowing such an event.
When actually browsing places to stay on Airbnb, here are a few ways to find what you need!
- Filter for important items. Things like the number of people, amenities you will want, distance from the city, etc. Also, be mindful of ALL the details. Things like Wifi, bathrooms and even parking can end up being so important to the logistics of your stay!
- Focus on high ratings. People rate for a reason! Be sure to read all of the reviews to get a feel for the space. Not only to see if the host/home was a good experience, but also other little factors that can be helpful (like noise, bugs, weather, location, etc.) Even the 5 star reviews can offer some beneficial advice in the comments!
- Look at the map view. This is a great way to see which properties may be closer to the area you are wanting to explore! It is so nice when you don't have a long drive in the dark after a hiking ceremony.
- Look at the TOTAL cost. This can be a real kicker, when you get to the final payment and find you the extra cleaning fees and taxes put you wayyy over budget. Always check the dates and look at the cost before getting your heart set on a specific place!
- Check the dates. Some hosts require a minimum or maximum # days stay. Double check ALL the about info and look at the calendar view to make sure it's available when you need it!
If you can't find something that works for you, I also recommend checking out VRBO as well! They have been known to also be less strict with events, and some hosts even list their property on BOTH sites.
Script example to message Airbnb Host
(customize to your plans)
I'm so excited to have found your place! It looks exactly like what I envisioned for my upcoming visit to (area)! I have a couple of questions before booking though. I'm planning to celebrate my marriage with (#) of our close friends/family. The only people in attendance will be those of us staying the night, no one else. We will be going out for a hike at (location) and then coming back to make dinner together and have some cake. Just wanted to be upfront and ask if you have any issues with our plans. Also wondering if you have any local recommendations for places to explore nearby! Looking forward to the possibility of staying at your beautiful space!"
2. Choose your vendors
Choosing the right vendors will be some of the most important decisions on your day. Intimate weddings are different - they are intimate! Which means that every vendor you choose needs to feel like you'd love for them to be a part of your day. Here are some key vendors you will want to search for.
- Photographer (I may be biased :))
- Hair and makeup
- Officiant (could be a friend!)
- Elopement planner/stylist
3. Find your locations for each part of the day
This is the fun part - deciding where you want to be throughout the day! This can go in so many ways, but that's where your elopement photographer or planner can come in and help! You can have your ceremony, adventure, or after party in different locations, or everything in one place (hi airbnb!). Think outside the box and create a day that fully feels 'you'.
4. Create your timeline
Don't stress, your elopement photographer or planner can also help you do this. The timeline will be important to help with the flow of the day. Make sure that you are giving yourselves plenty of time for each part, to avoid any unnecessary stress - your day should be stress free, friends!
5. Have the best day ever!
With less people, means more fun planning, and the BEST time on your day. There's no stress. At this point, you've done everything you needed to do, and now it's time to sit back and simply enjoy.
When to use an Airbnb throughout your elopement day
The focus of an elopement varies so greatly, including the accommodation space! Sometimes it barely even plays a role. Whether you live nearby and don't even need to book a place, or you don't plan on staying very long at the accommodation, everyone has different plans. It's important to consider the varying factors, and to determine how much time you will be spending at the space. Here are a few ways that Airbnbs/any accommodation can be included in your elopement day.
Getting ready. The time you and your fiance spend prepping (hair, makeup, getting dressed, etc.) Determine whether you will be getting ready together, separately, in the same space, or apart. A lot of couples don't think the getting ready portion of the day is important, but this is the time leading up to the best moment. All of the simple in between moments are just as special. So find somewhere cool for these memories!
For the ceremony. If you get the okay from the hosts, and you want to have your vow exchange on the property (or it ends up being Plan B due to the weather!). The ceremony at the Airbnb can be awesome because there's not many logistics that need to happen. You can just simply walk outside and get married! Everything in one place definitely has its benefits.
For dinner. If you want a cozy and private space to enjoy a meal, alone or with your friends/family, this is a great place to do it! Look for Airbnbs with plenty of space, an outdoor sitting area, and even a big kitchen for your private chef! It's such a great way to have all of your loved ones in one place, and end the day on a good note.
For the after party. A mini reception of sorts, cake, toasts, games, whatever you want! I absolutely loved how Julie and Jeff did this for their day. Before their dinner out at a restaurant, they gathered everyone back at their super cool Airbnb to have cake, snacks, and have their first dance. It was perfect.
TIP: I always recommend booking your Airbnb for at least two nights. That way you have somewhere to get ready, AND somewhere to relax afterward. That way you're also not stressing about check-in times, or cleaning up and packing on your wedding day!
What to look for when looking for Airbnbs
In addition to the important tips above, here are some things to keep in mind when browsing Airbnbs for your elopement or wedding. These are tips coming from a photographer, keeping in mind the images we'll be creating together (assuming we will be spending time at the Airbnb, aside from it being just a place to sleep.) While some of these things may not be a priority, they can really uplevel the photos!
- Lighting. We looooove all the windows in a space! Natural light is our best friend! Look at all of the photos to see how many windows there are and how dark it looks. Also pay attention to the paint of the rooms, or if they are all wood.
- Decor. You can find some really cute and bougie spaces to book. Think about your style and the vibe you want for your photos, and book a space that reflects that! Even just avoiding the overly cluttered spaces.
- Space. Depending on how much you need, it can be really nice to have enough room to move around, and also if you're planning on getting ready separately! Having outdoor space is an added bonus too!
- Unique + fun features. The cool thing about private rentals; the're all so different! Unlike some of those old repetitive, stale hotel rooms. You can find some really cool properties that will make your day extra fun!
How much does an Airbnb wedding cost?
The cost of an Airbnb elopement depends on a lot of factors, so it’s hard to say exactly what you might pay until you start looking at locations. One thing is certain though: the more guests you invite, the higher your final bill will be (but that's with any wedding!).
One thing to note with an Airbnb wedding is that the cost can still get pretty high, and that's mainly how you decide to eat. If you plan to hire a caterer/private chef, it could still be around $100+ per person. Or you could go the more simple route and have a family member cook, or just simply get take out somewhere!
Here's a breakdown on what you could expect in terms of cost. And just a reminder, this will absolutely depend on location!
- Airbnb: $400-$1000 per night
- Photographer: $5,000-$8,000
- Caterer/Private Chef: $100+ per person
- Florist: $1,000-$3000 (depends on what you are hoping for in terms of decor!)
- Rentals: $1,500-$5,000 (tent? chairs? napkins? plates? etc.)
- Hair + makeup: $300 per person
With an Airbnb elopement, you could spend around $10k-$20k depending on your priorities, and where you decide to invest your money.
Here's my favorite part though - this money doesn't just give you ONE day like a big wedding does. Having an Airbnb can create an entire multi day experience for you and your loved ones. You can spend quality time with those you love most, or split up the days having different groups of people all weekend.
Looking for more info on planning the perfect elopement? Head on over to my elopement resource page and get all the free content from an elopement pro!
A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.
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