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Hey trailblazer! You’ve started your wedding planning process and have probably had this crazy idea to find an Airbnb or VRBO or another vacation rental to use for your intimate Airbnb wedding or elopement. With a little planning, you can plan a memorable and cozy getaway for you and your guests! Keep reading for all the questions you need to ask yourself when planning an Airbnb wedding and check out my blog post here on How to Plan a Hiking Elopement in Washington State!
***disclaimer: as of Aug 20, 2020 Airbnb changed their event policy for large gatherings and no longer allow events, and only allow a max of 16 onsite. However other vacation rentals may not have this policy. Use this as a guide for vacation rentals in general. 🙂 If you decide to incorporate any vacation rental into your plans, remember you’re choosing an intimate gathering for a reason whether it’s just you and your partner or you and a few family members. Don’t throw a wild party and always be upfront and ask permission about your event before you book. If you want to use the Host’s home for your activities and bring vendors onsite, they have a right to know. Please respect the property and neighborhood!
Read on to look at more information on logistics and things to consider!
Ultimately, property owners get to decide whether you can or cannot host these types of events on their property. They also get to decide who has access to their property. My best advice is to simply send them a message explaining what you are hoping to do and who you are hoping to bring onsite BEFORE you book! Especially with cancellation policies, you want to be sure you’re allowed to host what you want to host before you book so you don’t accidentally spend the money and can’t get it back. Honesty is super important when it comes to this so we make sure your elopement can happen without a hitch!
Do you want something with views of mountains, river access, a farmstead, desert, vineyard, house, acres, etc? Regardless of what you are looking for, always try to find an option where you have the entire place to yourself for privacy! I personally LOVE a good cabin elopement!
Think about how you will use the space before, during, and after your intimate wedding.
Make sure the rental will accommodate your needs and wants!
This might be a no brainer if you have pets, but some places don’t allow our furry friends, and some places do! Be sure to search for this specifically when looking for your Airbnb! I’m a dog person, and couldn’t imagine getting married without my dog with us.
Additionally, think about what happens to your animals too when you need to leave them to adventure for part of your day. Do you have to kennel them? Are they joining you on your adventure? Make sure your furry family members have everything they need as well, while following the rules of your host!
Look for a big backyard without houses behind you! Many times listings can deceive the size of the property, but you can get a good idea of a potential backdrop. Ask your potential host this question as well! Don’t forget, you can always include an epic nearby hike to go up and say your vows!
With having an intimate wedding or elopement, it’s definitely less stressful than having to deal with all the facets of a big wedding. However, you can still involve some of these elements if you want.
You CAN splurge in many unique and fun ways because you aren’t inviting 300 people.
Remember, whatever you choose to splurge on will need coordination of some sort. Consider if you’d like to hire an event coordinator or get the help of your family or friends! Whatever you decide, make sure you and your party can handle whatever amazing thing you come up with!
In my opinion, the smaller the better- especially if you get to choose exactly who you want there. Less drama, more love! Be sure to coordinate this with your Airbnb host and then book accordingly!
Do you need an airbnb with ADA accessibility or one that makes it easier on elderly guests? If you are inviting family or friends with disabilities, it’s super important to make sure that they feel comfortable and are something to take into consideration.
Airbnb makes it easy when you’re searching for this. Just click on “More Filters” and scroll until you find Accessibility under “More options”. Here you can choose features of your stay from everything to no stairs, wide entrances, disabled parking spaces and more!
On a personal note, during my wedding, my partner and I thought it was super important to make our guests feel comfortable, especially those in wheelchairs and who couldn’t walk very well. We are really happy we did – they came to celebrate with us, so especially for them, we wanted to make their experience easy and comfortable so they could celebrate with us. We made sure that all spaces with activities were available to them and their needs!
Will it be just you and your partner staying onsite, or are you booking a larger cabin/house/lodge for you and your families or friends? Be sure to let your airbnb host know which people are sleeping onsite and coming to the event!
Before choosing your Airbnb for your adventure elopement or intimate wedding, I suggest starting out by thinking about what’s more important:
A certain area or park (like Mount Rainier, North Cascades National Park, or Olympic National Park)
This will help you decide the location where you can book your Airbnb. If you book first, then you can find an adventure nearby using hiking websites like AllTrails or WTA. If you choose a general area or Park first, then you can book your Airbnb accordingly!
For example if you want to get married at a specific area in Mount Rainier National Park, you can find super cute A-Frame cabins nearby.
Nature + Mother Nature are always an adventure, to say the least! While you can never predict the weather months in advance, you need a Plan B, C, or even D! Always keep your fingers crossed for sun, however if mother nature decides to throw a lot of curveballs, you can and should plan for alternate options.
How does Airbnb fit into this alternate plan? If you have a hike planned but it’s going to pour (or even snow) where your hike location is, you could opt to have your ceremony at your airbnb, either outside or inside. Keep this in mind when booking your airbnb!
This is where I can come in as an elopement photographer! I’ll help you develop those alternate plans so if we need to put one into action, we can switch gears without a sweat. We’ll have a few different options for locations so we can make your day stress-free! Ask for my help here!
Contrary to popular belief, elopements/intimate weddings can be booked out several months or a year in advance. This question really depends on the property. In Washington, gorgeous A-Frame Cabins are everywhere but if they are well taken care of and designed, they can book up very quickly, so you may be booking at least 6 months out!
Weekend vs Weekday? What should you do?
There are pros and cons to both, but for any adventure elopement, I always suggest a weekday. People vacationing or just looking to get away will book weekends first, so weekdays are always more available. If you’re going on a hike during your festivities, trails are also less crowded and will give you a more private experience. Remember, you’re choosing exactly who you want to attend your wedding, but do you really want 30 other hikers there too?
Time to think about how this plays into your overall intimate wedding or elopement budget! Price depends on your location. It may feel expensive, but compared to the cost of a wedding venue where you pay X amount for 8 hours only, you get your Airbnb for the duration of your stay where you can sleep, get ready, have your ceremony, all onsite if you choose! Many times the prices of traditional wedding venues can cost even more for just a single 8 hour period.
Take a look at the pictures and get a feel for the following things:
If you’re getting ready at your Airbnb, you’ll want to make sure you have at least 1 room to hide away in as you’re getting ready (if you don’t want to see each other before!) I personally have coordinated “sneaking around” for many couples so you don’t have to see each other! Usually, it involves sending someone into a separate room, outside, or a good ole, close the eyes.
When you message the host, this is something else you can ask. If you are able to have your ceremony onsite, you’ll want privacy!
What is natural light like in space? Is there enough window light where we could turn off the overhead lights? If you’ve ever stood up in a wedding, we sometimes ask couples if we can shut off all the lights – natural and artificial lights are colored a bit differently and not ideal for indoor photographs. Photos are beautiful when you have a ton of natural light in the space. If the space has a ton of windows in the area you’re getting ready in, that’s perfect!
To add more light, I would suggest bringing extra string lights to add around the space for a romantic ambiance!
What vibe are you looking for on your wedding day and does the Airbnb space fit into it? What is their decor like? What is the design like? Do you want to decorate anymore? Finding a space that will fit your vision will enhance your day!
You don’t want a quiet house, do you?
In this elopement, they made cast iron pizza and ended up bringing the cast iron pan + other utensils they needed!
Airbnbs are such a unique element to add to your intimate wedding day to make it special and really just adds to the overall adventure for your day.
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