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You’ve found your person! Your best friend! You’ve gotten engaged and now it’s time to plan a celebration for this love you share with one another. One tiny problem though, the idea of planning a seating chart, deciding on a guest list, finding hotel accommodations for out of town folks… it overwhelms you, and just isn’t your vibe. Lucky for you this is YOUR wedding day. You get to make it whatever you want it to be! That’s why today we’re going to look at one of my favorite wedding trends for couples looking to do their own thing, and that’s the Airbnb Elopement!
Why have your elopement at an Airbnb you might be asking? An Airbnb elopement offers a unique and personal experience for the couple, one that is hard to come by with any other type of wedding or elopement. It’s a chance for you two to get away, either by yourselves or with a small group of those you care about most. It’s a chance to celebrate this magical love you’ve found in a romantic and intimate setting. Think of it as your own private getaway, or a getaway with some of your best friends, where the focus is completely around celebrating this next huge step in your relationship. If that isn’t magical I don’t know what is!
With Airbnb Elopements being a more recent trend in the wedding industry there are plenty of things you’ll want to think about and keep in mind when it comes to planning. Let’s take a look at all the different factors you’ll have to consider when planning your one of a kind elopement!
First and foremost you’ll want to check out the rules of each Airbnb listing to make sure that your elopement plans align with their rules and guidelines. Some Airbnb’s allow you to host events there, while others do not. Airbnb’s will have a limit on guests that can sleep there and also on the amount of guests that can be in the Airbnb in general. Following these rules means you’ll get to enjoy your elopement and all the work you’ve put into them.
Not following the rules can lead to fines or even getting kicked out of the Airbnb as your elopement is happening, talk about a nightmare! One last thing I want to mention is that even if the Airbnb allows events to take place there it’s important that you clear your plans with the owner first. Being honest and upfront will go a LONG way in making sure that your elopement goes off without a hitch!
With an Airbnb elopement you’ll have to be purposeful and particular with your decorations. You won’t be able to hang any sort of décor throughout the home as this could lead to damage that the owners shouldn’t have to deal with. Free standing structures like flower vases, floral decorations, or custom signage among other things are allowed, just as long as it again is not at risk to harm the home. It is also important that you clean up any decorations after the ceremony. So if you plan on having flower petals lining the aisle of your ceremony, be sure that they’re all cleaned up before you leave!
Believe it or not you can actually have guests present at your elopement! An elopement can have up to 20 guests present for it, so feel free to invite your closest friends and family to attend. With such a small guest list though you have to be particular with the people you invite. Another thing to consider is the officiant for your elopement ceremony, for which you have a couple options. You can hire an officiant, but I find this often diminishes the intimate feeling of the elopement. You can have one of your guests become ordained through the Universal Life Church and be your officiant. Lastly you can take care of all the legalities prior and do a courthouse elopement. From there you can still have your ceremony take place at the Airbnb, just without the added need to have someone become ordained!
When choosing an Airbnb for your elopement there are a few key things to look out for in terms of the setting that you’re looking for. First off, in my opinion, you’ll want to choose something that’s out in nature, at least to some degree. Somewhere where you and your soon to be spouse can have some time alone together, away from the world where you can enjoy one another’s company and take in ALL these emotions that you’re feeling. You’ll also want to choose an Airbnb with a smaller guest limit so that your guests aren’t staying with you. This will give you that private and intimate experience and allow your guests to come for the elopement celebrations and leave after! Of course you can have a larger Airbnb where your guests stay with you, that all comes down to preference though!
Lastly you’ll want to take into account the lighting opportunities available for your elopement space. The Airbnb being in or around nature like we discussed earlier will give us plenty of portrait opportunities. As for the indoor portions of your day though such as getting ready, an indoor ceremony, and your reception, you’ll want to choose an Airbnb with great indoor lighting. Be sure to look through the listing photos and make sure that there are plenty of windows for us to work with that beautiful natural light for your day!
We’ve been talking a lot about elopements at an Airbnb, but there’s another site that offers a similar service! If you’re having trouble finding an Airbnb that will host your event, or that fits your vision, check out Vrbo. Vrbo offers a large amount of places to stay similar to Airbnb, and on average are more open to hosting events when compared to places found on Airbnb!
The LAST thing you want is to be kicked out of an Airbnb during your elopement because you didn’t disclose an event. Even if the Airbnb allows events it is always a good idea to be upfront and transparent with them about your plans during your stay. Most Airbnb properties do have security cameras these days, so the owner will be aware if you do have more people coming into the property than you initially informed them of. I can’t say this enough, make sure your Airbnb allows events AND you talk with the owner about your planned events.
Now that we know what to look for in an Airbnb when planning an elopement, let’s take a look at some of my favorite Airbnb’s that would be perfect for your elopement! The locations listed will all be in the Central Illinois area, but rest assured there are gorgeous Airbnb’s all over the country for those of you not in my neck of the woods!
Found in Peoria, Illinois, this Airbnb is simply STUNNING and perfect for some moody elopement vibes! The space has a maximum of 4 guests, and while they do not allow events on the premises you may still be able to use it for an intimate elopement with just the two of you and me capturing it! Of course you’ll want to discuss this and clear this with the owners before booking. This space is incredible though, one look through the photos and the dark and moody décor will have you hooked and looking to book!
Elmwood, Illinois hosts our next Airbnb elopement option! This house has three bedrooms, can host up to 12 guests, and has a ton to offer in terms of entertainment. With a full size indoor gym, hiking trails, water access for fishing, hot tub, outdoor shower, and a cozy interior to enjoy, there’s a lot to love about this house! One final draw is that the Airbnb does allow small events, so as long as you clear your guest list and plans with the owners!
Our next Airbnb can be found near Bloomington, Illinois, and has a TON of character! The unique cabin can host up to 6 guests and is on 2 acres of land. This gives your elopement celebrations that extra level of privacy that you’d want for your festivities. Intimate events are allowed as long as they are approved by the owners prior!
West of Springfield, Illinois is this classic and cozy lake house! This Airbnb does not allow events, but if you ask the owner prior to booking if a ceremony with just the two of you and me capturing your photos is allowed they may let you do so! This Airbnb is the nature lover’s dream, being right on the lake and with so much nature to explore around you it’ll feel like you’re off in your own world celebrating your elopement!
What was once a train depot has now become a rustic and historic Airbnb in Champagne, Illinois! The Depot B & B is an adorable home with its classic and historic feel still very much intact. The home can be found on 5 acres of the natural wooded landscape and has a nearby lake offering a plethora of portrait opportunities. The Depot does not allow events, however like prior locations on our list you can ask prior to booking if having an intimate ceremony with me present to photograph it would be allowed.
And there you have it! The ins and outs of planning an Airbnb elopement, along with 5 of my favorite Airbnb’s in Central Illinois! I’m sure that after reading this the idea of doing an Airbnb elopement has become a very real possibility for you and your partner to do. If that is the case and you’re looking for a photographer for your elopement day, look no further. Head over to my contact page and send over an inquiry so we can get to know one another and start planning your elopement together!
November 30, 2023
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Rachael Marie Photography values inclusivity and will never discriminate against your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, body type, or abilities. You are wonderful, beautiful, and loved here.