Should I get Married in an Airbnb?

When you’re window shopping for venues, Airbnb is a sensational storefront. Discover everything you need to know about Airbnb wedding venues here.

By The Zola Team

Should I get Married in an Airbnb
Photo by Unsplash

The First Look ✨

If you’ve ever stayed at an Airbnb on vacation, you understand the platform’s many perks. In an Airbnb rental, you enjoy all the amenities of a fully furnished apartment or house, often for less than the price of a hotel.

Your past positive experiences with helpful hosts, fascinating neighborhoods, and luxe locales might leave you wondering, should I get married in an Airbnb?

Airbnb is home to hundreds of stunning potential venues, many of which are large enough to accommodate your entire wedding party. But because a wedding requires more planning and foresight than a weekend getaway, it’s worth weighing your decision to rent an Airbnb carefully.

In this guide we’ll cover:

The Positives of Airbnb Wedding Venues

When you’re window shopping for venues, Airbnb is an inspiring storefront. If you don’t know exactly where you want to get married, the world is your oyster on Airbnb.

And beyond exotic locales and stunning grounds, Airbnb provides several other potential perks.

Airbnb Can Help You Find Your Dream Venue

Maybe you’ve been assembling your wedding book for years and know exactly where you want to get married. Or maybe you’re just looking for a venue with enough room for your entire family.

Whatever’s on your list of requirements, you can probably find a suitable wedding day venue on Airbnb.

But before you get too excited, remember to browse only through listings marked “Suitable for events.” While this will return a slimmer list, you’ll avoid endlessly scrolling through infinite options.

From there, use Airbnb’s other tools to browse by capacity, availability, and of course, price.

Airbnbs Come at (Comparably) Affordable Prices

Most couples spend between $2,000 and $10,000 for the wedding venue rental.

Keep in mind that this reflects the price for the wedding reception venue alone. If you choose to stay somewhere other than your home on your wedding night, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of your hotel room.

  • In contrast, Airbnbs can serve as the site for your ceremony, reception, and wedding night.

  • You could even lengthen your stay and host your rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch all in the same spot.

  • And while some Airbnbs cost up to $3,000 per night, others clock in closer to $500. That means a four-day stay could come at a lower price point than a single evening at a traditional wedding venue.

And that’s just the money it will save you two as the lucky couple. Beyond that, staying at the wedding venue could make travel more affordable for your guests.

A Large Rental Can Accommodate Your Guests

If your chosen wedding venue doesn’t have guest accommodations on-site, you’ll need to book a hotel suite and reserve a block of rooms for your guests.

Beyond where guests will sleep, you’ll also need a plan for transportation from their hotel rooms to your venue, perhaps renting a bus or golf carts.

But, if you’re having a small wedding, a large enough Airbnb could potentially accommodate all of your guests. Even if your guest list is as long as your arm, having your wedding party nearby could be convenient and downright fun.

If you’re comfortable asking guests to split the cost of the Airbnb (rather than paying for their hotel rooms), you could save on the overall cost of your venue, too.

You Can Enjoy the Space for as Long as You Rent It

If you rent a conventional venue, you’ll receive strict information on when you can start decorating and when you need to clear out.

At an Airbnb, you make your schedule. As long as the venue has calendar availability, you can check in early and start fine-tuning your decor and figuring out where you want to take photos.

And without a set time for the venue’s closing, you have the freedom to eat when you want, dance when you want, and let guests linger over drinks, snacks, and conversation.

You can also extend your rental for a day or two after the wedding so that you don’t have to rush clean up right after the big event.

The Negatives of Airbnb Rentals for Weddings

Don't click “Instant Book” just yet!

When you book an Airbnb, you won’t have the support that comes with a tried-and-true wedding venue, which means lots of extra questions for your host and tasks on your to-do list.

You May Not Be Able to See the Venue in Advance

Many couples visit a variety of venues before picking the perfect spot for their nuptials. After all, a location that looks great in photographs could have plenty of issues, from terrifying winding roads on the way to grimy bathrooms on site.

But you may not be able to see your Airbnb venue in advance of booking it.

And since that amazing estate isn’t primarily a wedding venue, so it could be booked wall-to-wall with other families enjoying their vacation. They may be less than willing to have you interrupt their stay to scope out the bedrooms and survey the grounds.

There’s a Greater Risk of Cancellation

Sure, there are some circumstances when a traditional wedding venue might have to cancel your event—say, a major natural disaster or a change in public health laws—but the risk is very low.

In contrast, Airbnbs are individual people’s homes and investment properties, and a host might need to cancel their stay for personal reasons. Maybe they’re selling the property and it turns out they’ll close in advance of your wedding—or maybe they need a place to stay while their primary residence undergoes repairs.

Airbnb’s penalties for host cancellations are relatively low, and in some cases, the fee is even waived.

  • Hosts often pay just $50 to $100 for cancellations.

  • Hosts can cancel unauthorized parties, so if you haven’t been crystal clear about the purpose of your stay, you could end up without a venue.

  • Likewise, hosts can cancel you in response to negative reviews on your profile. If you have any other vacations lined up, you need to be a five-star guest.

While “SuperHosts” cancel less than 1 percent of reservations, some couples don’t need the extra nervousness that comes with considering the possibility of a cancellation.

You Could Face Penalties if You Cancel

Beyond the risk of being canceled on, you might need to cancel or reschedule your wedding and Airbnb stay. If this happens, you might not be able to get your money back (depending on the host’s cancellation policy). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some wedding parties had to fight for their money back, even though weddings had to be canceled due to the virus.

You’ll Face a Lack of Logistical Support

We can’t stress this enough—your Airbnb rental is not primarily a wedding venue.

In some cases, your host might advertise the rental as a great event space. They may even have supplies like folding chairs and tables, decorations, or place settings. But in others, you may need to do all the planning from scratch.

Besides seating arrangements, consider the following potential issues with your prospective Airbnb venue:

  • Accessibility and Transit: Public venues are usually ADA compliant and accessible to guests of all ages and abilities. In contrast, a private residence could pose barriers for some of your family members. Likewise, your venue may not be accessible by public transportation. If it’s not, you’ll need a plan for transporting any guests who are staying off-site.

  • Lack of Bathrooms: How many bathrooms are in the residence? It may be enough to accommodate the number of guests who are staying there, but if you’ll be welcoming a much bigger guest list for the big day, there might be an extensive line at each door.

  • Small Kitchen Space: You’re probably hiring caterers to help feed your friends and family. The catering staff needs space to prep, organize, and breathe. Just because the kitchen seems huge to your wedding party, doesn’t mean that it’s adequate for a larger event.

  • Local Noise Ordinances: Besides checking to make sure your host allows events, make sure that the local authorities give you the okay. Otherwise, you could end up with a visit from the police on your wedding night—not anyone’s fantasy.

You Incur Liability Issues

The last thing you want to imagine is a family member getting injured on your happy day. But there’s always a risk of incidents like the following:

  • Injury to One of Your Guests: Private residences are host to several potential perils, from structurally unsound floors to slippery poolsides to potential allergens. When you rent an Airbnb, you usually check a box to “accept the terms and conditions” of your rental—and these usually involve accepting liability for anyone’s injury.

  • Damage to the Property: Likewise, one of your guests could damage your host’s home, whether by breaking a lamp, spilling a glass of red wine on the furniture, or driving right into the bird fountain. You expect everyone to be on their best behavior, but your hosts can hold it against you if they aren’t.

For these reasons, you might want to consider taking out wedding insurance or special event insurance to cover the liability you take on when hosting a large event on someone else’s property.

The Need for Cleanup

Many Airbnb hosts charge a cleaning fee when you book the venue. But that doesn’t mean you can leave the place in shambles.

Creating a mess or improperly disposing of waste can lead to other liability issues. Therefore, it’s important to communicate with your host about their expectations in terms of the following:

  • Linens
  • Trash
  • Overall cleanliness

Planning Your Airbnb Wedding

If you do decide to book a venue on Airbnb, how can you best enjoy its benefits while avoiding its pitfalls?

Check to See if the Host Okays Events

As we’ve noted throughout this guide, some Airbnb rentals are marked as “suitable for events.” Others are not. Make sure to use search filters, so that you’re only looking at venues that allow weddings. If you’re not sure, the answer is probably no. Trying to deceive your host could result in a cancellation and a ban from the platform.

Visit the Venue and Book Your Stay

Now you know you can host your wedding at your chosen venue. The next question is whether you want to. To make this decision, go see the venue in person if at all possible.

How?

  • Message the Host: Ask if it would be possible to set up a short visit to look over the home and grounds. Even if the calendar is booked solid, you could always slip in at the same time as the cleaning crew.

  • Book the Venue for the Night: In some cases, this might be a major expense, so you could always try splitting it with a few friends for a quick getaway. Whatever the price, knowing whether or not it’s the right site for your wedding is invaluable.

Once you’re 100 percent sure that you’ve found your dream venue, it’s time to book your stay. Checking in early can give you extra time to iron out the details of the decor while extending your stay for a few days beyond the wedding can give you time to relax and unwind after the big day.

Choose a Planner (or Not) and Formulate Your Plan of Attack

There’s no way around it—planning a wedding at an Airbnb can be more work than booking a conventional venue. It’s the furthest thing from an all-inclusive venue, considering in most cases, you’ll need to completely organize the space and celebration on your own.

That is unless you have the help of a wedding planner.

While a professional can add significant expense, they’re often worth their weight in gold when it comes to identifying and troubleshooting potential issues. If you’re traveling to the venue, a local wedding planner can help connect you with nearby vendors, saving you precious time on research and vetting.

Whether you plan to DIY your wedding or hire a planner, check off the following to-dos to ensure success on the big day.

  • Plan the Guestlist: Do you want everyone to stay on-site? If so, you may need to plan a smaller wedding. Make sure you know the venue’s total capacity. If you’re determined to host a big event, find suitable accommodations at local hotels for the rest of your guests.

  • Contact Local Caterers: Before you send out wedding invitations, figure out guests’ meal options, so they can fill out their preferences accordingly. If the kitchen is too small to host a caterer, you might need to get creative by hiring local food trucks and setting up an outdoor bar station.

  • Make Your Wedding Website: Start assembling the basic information about your wedding, including your love story, date, venue, and wedding registry. Zola’s free wedding website builder offers customizable templates and intuitive website-creation guides. From there, answer FAQs to save you countless emails and phone calls.

  • Send Out Invitations: Eventually, you’ll need to send out paper invitations and start getting a sense of your headcount. That way, you can make plans for organizing and decorating your Airbnb rental.

  • Assign Rooms: You don’t want your wedding weekend to start with a fight. Pre-assign rooms to any guests staying at the venue with you. If you clearly label the rooms in advance, there’s a greater chance your guests will be gracious rather than fight over the suite with the jacuzzi.

  • Plan Decorations: Hopefully, you’ve booked a gorgeous venue that requires minimal decoration. But if a little extra pizazz is needed, try leaning into your venue’s vibe. Are you at a scenic mountain wedding venue? Embrace the country environment with tartan and lace. A beachside villa? Think tropical flowers and light, airy fabrics. And wherever you are, get in touch with a local florist who can deliver to your Airbnb.

  • Hire Other Vendors: Beyond a florist and caterer, most couples find it’s helpful to hire a photographer, videographer, and DJ. If you’d prefer to keep it intimate, you could always assign these roles to guests. To view pre-approved wedding vendors, check out Zola’s vendor marketplace. Search by service, price, location, and more to score the perfect vendor match.

  • Research the Area: You don’t want to have to play tour guide to your guests in the days leading up to your wedding. Make sure your website features a list of fun activities in the area, whether that means hiking trails or well-curated museums.

  • Anticipate Your Supply Needs: If you’re staying at the Airbnb for a few days before or after the wedding, you won’t have the advantage of a continental breakfast—unless you pack the supplies yourself. Make a thorough list of necessary groceries and supplies for anyone staying at the venue (or put a member of your wedding party in charge).

  • Create a Schedule of Events: We’ve all been on group trips where we never seem to leave the hotel. One perk of an Airbnb is a loose schedule, but it’s still important to create and share a schedule for the big day so that you don’t end up eating at midnight.

  • Get Insured: As we noted, there’s additional liability associated with hosting a large event. Take out the appropriate wedding insurance and review the policy terms.

Assemble Your Week-of Checklist

Finally, with your Airbnb wedding planned, you can sit back and relax. Almost.

Sure, some couples can trust in the universe (plus their wedding planners) and hope that the big day goes off without a hitch. But most want to double-check everything to maximize the chances of a beautiful day.

When you’re hosting your wedding at an Airbnb, there are even more details to keep in mind—from getting your guests settled in their rooms, to managing the arrival of rental equipment, to finding time to practice your vows.

That’s why it’s incredibly helpful to create a week-of checklist. Then, don’t forget to delegate, delegate, delegate! Your friends and family are more than happy to make sure your special day is as stress-free as possible.

Whether Your Wedding is Airbnb or All-Inclusive, We’re Here to Help

No one ever said that planning a wedding was easy. Whether you’re hiring a wedding planner or relying on the help of a few trusted friends, the months and weeks leading up to your wedding require countless decisions, constant communication with your guests, and plenty of checklists.

At Zola, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re still looking for your dream venue, assembling your registry, or building a website to make sure guests have all the relevant details of your Airbnb wedding, our free tools streamline the process.

Find Your Wedding Vendors at Zola, All Pre-Screened for You