In the wake of the pandemic and a rise in popularity of simpler and more intimate weddings, it’s no secret that Airbnb and VRBO weddings have become the idyllic vision for a wedding day. Whether you’re planning an elopement or an intimate wedding with a backyard feel to it, an Airbnb or VRBO as your venue could be the perfect option for you! There are definitely some tips and tricks you’ll want to know though, which is why in this blog I will walk you through the basics, what to expect when planning an Airbnb or VRBO elopement, and everything you’ll want to do as you’re planning your big day!
When planning your Airbnb wedding or elopement, from the get-go you’re going to want to look over everything that is in writing very carefully. Rules from Airbnb the company, house rules, contracts, and every other piece of paper or checkmark you have to make, you will want to read over twice, maybe three times to be sure you have seen and are aware of everything. This process can be overwhelming from the get-go, which is why I’ve broken down some of the specifics when in the early planning stages.
If you haven’t heard, Airbnb has been under fire lately for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest reasons though is reliability. Whether it is breaking contract, having outlandish rules for the space, or just providing poor customer service, there seem to be quite a lot of risks lately. This is why I have started pointing my elopement and intimate wedding clients towards VRBO and independent vendors for their elopements and wedding celebrations rather than Airbnb. VRBO and independent vendors are great alternatives to have that homey feel for your elopement or intimate wedding without actually using an actual Airbnb. If you have not heard of VRBO, the website is very similar to Airbnb except they have a lot more options when it comes to spaces.
In addition to VRBO just overall being a solid company, they also have the option to filter spaces depending on whether or not they can host events. Choosing a space that allows events will allow you to breathe and relax a bit, knowing that you’re on the same page with the owner for why you are there.
Airbnb also has banned all events, so if you do plan to have more than just the two of you at your elopement and you are wanting to decorate, have vendors there, etc, VRBO will probably be the better option.
One of the first things you will want to filter through when looking for a venue for your elopement or wedding, regardless of whether you go with VRBO or Airbnb, is how many people are allowed in the space. Please note that this number may include your vendors. So if you have a hairstylist, a photographer, and a videographer for your elopement or intimate wedding, those three (or more) vendors would be included in the headcount.
Once you have the filter set to the number of people you plan to have at your elopement, like I mentioned above, if you are searching on VRBO, I would also start by switching on the “events allowed” filter. With these two filters and a general area you want to stay at, you can begin to start checking out the different listings.
Once you have created a vision for your elopement or wedding day, you will want to start looking through your narrowed-down list of Airbnbs and VRBOs. As you look through the listings be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom, past the reviews so that you can look over the house rules. There you will want to take note of the following:
Check-in and Check-out Times: This is important to note as you will have to be sure that your event can fall within these times. The last thing you want is to be frantically cleaning your ceremony space the morning after your wedding if there is a larger setup.
Quiet Hours: If you are planning a bit larger of an event with a handful of friends or family members, you will want to take note of the quiet hours. Quiet hours is the evening time you need to calm things down through the morning time when quiet hours end.
Maximum Amount of Guests: For Airbnb, this will often be the maximum amount of people that can be at the Airbnb at all times. For VRBO, there might be two numbers, the number of people that can be there during the day, and the number of people that can spend the night.
Photography Rules: Though this does not happen often, there can be rules against photography or videography within an Airbnb or VRBO space. It is always important that you are transparent with the host about every vendor that will be going in and out of the space.
If you only take one thing away from this blog post, let it be that transparency is a MUST. Be sure to be transparent with your Airbnb or VRBO host on what your plans are for your wedding or elopement date. The rules for events are important for these hosts, and they are there for a reason. Trying to hide an event from the host, or disregarding the house rules are practically the worst things you could do when hosting your event at a VRBO or Airbnb. It’s not only disrespectful but could have you end up in some serious trouble, so again be transparent!
It’s important to note that an Airbnb or VRBO can cancel your reservation really at any time. When you work with a venue, there is typically a cancellation policy that is put in place that gives you more assurance that your date is good to go and locked in. If you are planning an intimate wedding or an elopement with a handful of guests at your VRBO, be sure to communicate with the host of the VRBO, that you are planning an event there. You can ask if they have an event contract, as many of them do for larger parties, or bigger events during a stay. Be sure that there is a cancellation policy in this contract and know the risks before planning your wedding in this space.
One last important thing to note for your wedding celebrations is the decor you’re allowed to have within the venue. When planning your decor for your wedding or elopement you will want to make sure you’re planning all of your decor to be based on the floor or another surface such as a table within the Airbnb or VRBO. You will not be able to hang anything on the walls or ceiling so be sure to plan for that!
If you find an Airbnb or VRBO with a catchy name and professional-looking photos, it’s worth doing a google search of the name to see if the space has an independent website. This might help you to avoid any Airbnb fees and allow you to book directly with the owners of the space. This isn’t an option for every location, but is definitely worth looking into to save a bit of money when it comes to booking your space!
As mentioned above one of the main reasons I have been recommending VRBOs over Aribnbs recently for both weddings and elopements is that some VRBOs allow you to host events at the location. This is true for almost all the VRBOs in Illinois which makes finding one that fits your vision incredibly simple! Keep in mind the difference between the guest limits for people allowed to sleep there, and people allowed to attend the celebration itself. Below you’ll find a list of some of my favorite VRBO options I’ve found as alternatives for you if you were looking into having your wedding or elopement at an Airbnb originally!
If you’re looking for a unique space to elope with a homey backyard feel but would like to work with a small business directly, here are some of my favorite spots in the US that would be great for intimate weddings or elopements.
Hopefully this article got you excited not only for a wedding or elopement at an Airbnb, but also gave you some insights as to options outside of Airbnb that allow for a more smooth and overall better experience than what Airbnb is currently able to provide. Time will tell if Airbnb begins to come back around as an option for wedding celebrations, but for now, VRBO and private small businesses are both incredible options! For more tips on planning your wedding day or elopement celebration check out my blog and if you’re ready to book a photographer for your day head to my contact page.