Airbnb has already proven itself to be a powerhouse in vacation rentals, but did you know that it’s also a serious contender for your micro wedding venue as well?
Booking an airbnb as your wedding venue opens up a whole realm of possibilities – imagine desert lodges, a tropical oasis, or epic mountain homes serving as the backdrop to your magical day. Locations that would normally be out of reach suddenly become highly accessible when booking through Airbnb. Not only that, but if you find the right property, you can also house many of your guests, ensuring that the party doesn’t end at 10PM.
Here, we’re walking you through exactly how to throw an airbnb micro wedding, so that you can book the wedding of your dreams.
Find Your Rental
While finding the perfect Airbnb for your micro wedding might seem overwhelming in the beginning, we encourage you to lean into the process and have fun with it.
The first thing you need to do when venue searching on Airbnb is to choose your location. If you already have your heart set on one specific location then that’s great. But if you’re still unsure then pick your top three destinations or cities and start there.
Now is the fun part! On the Airbnb site, put in your desired location, estimated dates, and the number of guests that you plan to host there. Airbnb’s guest count gets maxed out at 16, but don’t worry, you can potentially host more people than that. If you’re looking for the larger properties, then simply put in 16 guests and you’ll get results for properties that can accommodate far more people.
We also suggest making a ‘list’ on the Airbnb site so that you can save your favorite properties. You can also use the ‘More Filters’ option to get very specific about your search and narrow results down. Within the filters you can choose ‘Lux’ properties, villas, beachfront, pets allowed, etc.
Some important things to consider when choosing a rental include:
- Getting permission – this is the most important factor when booking an Airbnb for a wedding (and be sure to do this before you book!). Be open and honest with your host that you plan to host your wedding at their property. While some rentals are specifically designed for hosting events, many are not. This doesn’t mean that they won’t allow it, but it could. If you’re not transparent about your plans for the space, your host could choose to shut the event down at any time.
- It may also help to note the fact that you’re planning a micro wedding. Some Airbnb hosts will hear ‘wedding’ and think of an extravagant 150+ person affair, but assuring them that your guest count will be on the lower end may ease their concerns.
- Also be sure to check the description of each property as some state that it’s a great location for weddings!
- Room count vs guest list – make sure that each of your guests that you plan on staying will have a comfortable place to sleep. While some Airbnbs state that they can accommodate x number of people, sofa beds and bunk beds are often included in that count, which might not be the appropriate sleeping conditions for some of your guests.
- Surrounding accommodations – if you don’t plan to house all of your guests at your chosen location, then make sure there are good options for lodging close by.
- You can also consider renting out surrounding Airbnbs that are near your chosen property. This gives family and friends a way to be close by but also allowing some healthy distance if needed.
- Consider the Cancelation Policy – not all cancelation polices on Airbnb are created equal. Policies vary from relaxed (getting a full refund if you cancel x amount of days out) to strict (0-50% refund with cancelation), which is important to consider if you’re booking an expensive property.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration then check out these 20 Airbnb Venues for a Wedding or these 16 venues. You can also do a quick search for Airbnb Wedding Venues in your area (or your desired location) and see if someone has already compiled a list of suggestions for you.
Read the Reviews
We recommend thoroughly reading the reviews for each property that you’re considering. Helpful tips, hints, and warnings are often located in the reviews section and can easily help you weed out bad properties and locate gems. Look for reviews that talk about not only the property itself, but the responsiveness of the host, the surrounding area, and getting to the property itself. Keep an eye out for any red flags which could include the actual property not matching up to photos provided, safety issues, plumbing issues, or a non-responsive host.
Consider Decor + Extras
Depending on your desired location, decor and the look of the house may play a large role in deciding if it’s the right one for you. If you’re hosting a wedding on the coast, then you may lean towards somewhere with a light color scheme and nautical vibes, if a rustic cabin look is more your style, then a lodge or cabin rental will be the perfect backdrop in your photos.
This is also an area in which you can strategically save some money. If you’ve always dreamed of twinkling lights in the backyard, then renting a spot that already has these installed will save you a lot of hassle.
Once you’ve chosen your location and get an idea or what decor already exists, then you can flex your creative muscle and decide what additional decor you’d like to add. If you’ve decided on a destination wedding, then remember that you’ll be transporting everything you’d adding.
You should also take into consideration the extras that your Airbnb will have to offer, and how those will factor into your event. This might be day of or for additional activities before and after.
Some extras to look for in a rental include:
- A fire pit or fireplace
- Backyard lighting
- Personal chef
Another thing to consider is booking the property for the dates before and after your event. Booking a couple of days before your guests arrive will give you time to relax and explore, and having a few days after will give you time and space to enjoy your newlywed status.
Communication is Key!
Like we said before, being transparent with your host about your event is crucial. After you’ve cleared hosting your micro wedding with your host, continue to keep a consistent line of communication going leading up to your event.
Some questions you may want to ask about the property include:
- Are there any extra fees to host your wedding?
- What seating options do they offer? – some Airbnbs will have plenty of seating available, and additional options for ceremony set up etc. If not, you might have to bring in an outside vendor.
- What does the parking situation look like?
- How much kitchen/food storage space is there?
- What dish ware/utensils do they have available? – If you don’t like theirs, consider bringing your own!
- Do they have any recommendations for photos? – This could include within/on the property or close by.
- What’s the plumbing situation? Old pipes could mean water/sewage backing up with a large number of people using toilets, showers, etc.
- What do you do with trash/recycling at the end of your stay?
- Does the city require any event permits?
Map Out the Space
Once you’ve booked your Airbnb venue, it’s time to start envisioning how each space will be used. If visiting the property is an option, we highly recommend doing this. Pictures do a good job showing the basics of a rental, but an in-person tour will truly allow you to plan how to maximize your space.
Make sure that your Airbnb has space for all the things you plan for, including:
- Pre-wedding prep
- Ceremony – be sure to consider your Plan B if your preferred ceremony space is outside.
If possible, try to keep the event spaces separate from the living spaces. You can also consider rearranging furniture (with your hosts permission!) to fit the purpose of each space, and don’t be afraid to take some of the decor down if it doesn’t fit your theme. A good tip is to take pictures of each space you plan to alter so that you can be sure everything finds it’s proper home in the end!
Consider a Separate Ceremony
If the Airbnb that you’ve chosen isn’t quite right for your ceremony, or perhaps you’ve envisioned something slightly more intimate (aka just you and the groom), or maybe you just want your cake and to eat it too, then consider having your rental be just the site of your reception and take your ceremony elsewhere.
If you’re the adventurous type, then this might look like hosting your ceremony on the top of a mountain, or on a boat, and then brining your reception back home. You might also want to get married on the beach, and then head back to your rental for the afterparty. The great thing about hosting your wedding at an Airbnb is the flexibility, and the ability to make it exactly the wedding you dreamed of.
Choose Your Food
One of the many great things about hosting your wedding at an Airbnb is the fact that you don’t have a required list of vendors that you need to choose from. This allows you ultimate freedom when it comes to what food you want to serve at your event. However, keep in mind that bringing in a local caterer or chef might not work if your property only has a tiny kitchen space.
If an epic 7 course meal is something that you have your heart set on, then make sure the property that you choose has the space and equipment needed.
If your priority is look and location, rather than kitchen space, then consider bringing in a local food truck and/or bar cart. This is especially fun when you’ve chosen a location that’s well known for their food. It also lends the opportunity to find a truck or service that fits perfectly with your desired theme.
You can also look into asking a local restaurant to cater your event, and if you’re feeling extra low-key and cozy, you could even do a potluck.
It’s important to remember that even though your micro wedding is a smaller event, it’s still important to reach out to companies early and book them with plenty of time before your event.
Oftentimes your Airbnb host will be more than happy to recommend incredible local businesses to assist you on the big day and the days before/after.
Consider using a local catering company, bakery, florist, and rental companies, as well as a wedding planner (some hosts actually offer these services, so make sure you ask if this is something you’re interested in!). Your host may also have some great recommendations for fun activities for the days leading up to (or after!) your wedding. Take advantage of your location, and try to book some local experiences to make your trip extra memorable.
Consider the Neighbors
If you’ve booked a secluded Airbnb then this may not be an issue, but if your planned property is close enough to neighbors that they may be affected by your wedding, do your best to reach out beforehand to give them a heads up about your plans. They may have helpful suggestions to offer, and are less likely to be upset about excess noise or traffic if they know beforehand.
Some couples choose to give the surrounding neighbors a pre-wedding gift like a handmade date night basket (not feeling crafty? Etsy sells pre-made baskets here) or a gift card to a local restaurant. A followup ‘Thank You’ card is also a thoughtful way to show that you appreciate their understanding and patience.
You can also consider giving close-by neighbors a phone number they can call or text if they feel like the noise levels are too loud or someone has blocked their driveway. Simple gestures like this can mean all the difference when it comes to neighborly cooperation, and preventing a visit from the police or a tow truck.
Delegate the Tasks
One goal for hosting your wedding at an Airbnb is to avoid feeling like you’re doing exactly that – hosting. We all know how stressful it can be to host a party (all of those little tasks add up fast!), much less the most important party of your life.
A beautiful thing about having a micro wedding is the fact that you’ve inviting your nearest and dearest, meaning they’ll likely be thrilled to be a part of pulling off your big day. Think through all of the things that need to be done and decide which things you want to have full control of, and which ones you feel comfortable passing off.
A few elements to consider when you’re hosting an Airbnb wedding include:
- Ceremony set up (this may include coordinating chair rentals)
- Catering (food and drink)
- Decor set up – this includes any decor you might be bringing in yourself
- Flowers/candles/lights – if you’re bringing these in from an outside company then this includes coordinating with the company as well as set up
- Rentals – tables, chairs, dish/glass ware, dance floor, etc.
- Making sure food/drink stays stocked
- Clean up
- Meals before/after the wedding (this is especially true if you and your guests are staying for a while – many couples love having different guests bring different meals for each day)
You can also consider hiring a planner, even though you’ve chosen a less traditional venue. Just make sure your planner has experience coordinating weddings in rental homes or small spaces. Another option would be to hire some outside help (servers, clean up crew) to keep everything moving seamlessly.
Wedding insurance is an important consideration for any wedding, but it’s especially important when you’re choosing an Airbnb as your venue. First, check with your host and see what coverage they have. Then, look into a plan that fills in any holes that you might encounter. This is especially true if you plan to have alcohol at your wedding, and any expensive elements that you want to have extra protection.
Hosting an Airbnb at someone else’s rental home is always a bit tricker when it comes to getting insured, so make sure you communicate with both your host and the insurance company to get your bases covered.
In addition to having insurance for your wedding, it’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in mind if for any reason your rental falls through. Search properties that are close by, and save a few that you love just in case.
Hosting your micro wedding at an Airbnb is the perfect way to ensure that you check all of your wedding boxes. From epic location to relaxed schedule, all the way to partying until 2AM, and Airbnb venue gives you flexibility with variety all rolled into one.