How do you rent a home for a wedding?
There are many vacation rental websites out there these days, and a lot of brides are going through these websites to find their wedding venue. If you are even contemplating renting out a house you found on a vacation rental site like VRBO, HomeAway, AirBnb, FlipKey, etc. then this article is for you.
My sincere recommendation is to hire a professional management company who specializes in weddings at private homes, instead of using a vacation rental website. I can go on an on about why you need a on site location manager, but the real reason for this post is to ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch.
Too many times I encounter a couple who are just a couple months away from their big day, with a sad story about their vacation rental home debacle. We want your wedding to be just as amazing as you've always hoped, so heed my advice below!
On vacation rental websites and forums, I always see this question:
Do I have to notify the homeowners that we will be having a wedding at their house?
You may be asking the same question, and here is the answer: Yes, absolutely!
Usually the renter’s concern is mostly monetary. They are concerned that their rental fee will increase significantly, or that the owner may say “no way.” If you take anything out of this article, use this piece of advice: Always ask the homeowner if a wedding or event is allowed. Yes, it may cost more, but wouldn't you rather pay it upfront instead of getting sued after the fact?
Most homes on these vacation rental websites are not terribly keen on renting out their house for any type of events. Whether or not their contract states if you may have an event/wedding on the property or not, you should always notify them of your intentions when you first contact them. Why? Let me elaborate below.
Why rent through an estate manager vs. a vacation rental website:
Damages & Liability
Events at a property, especially weddings, can be a huge liability. The risks involved with hosting events are so much higher than just renting the property to eat and sleep in. The more guests you have, the more wear and tear will happen to the property. Damages are more likely to occur, especially if guests are intoxicated. Maybe a drunk guest hits another car when they are leaving the property. Or maybe the house uses a septic system that can’t handle the strain of a large event. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, and if you don't have insurance to cover it, you could be in hot water.
The home may be located in an area that is extremely strict or does not allow events at all. Some locations only allow a handful of event permits per year. Other locations might not allow events due to their homeowner association, or local city regulations. If you aren’t familiar with the city’s laws, you may be in for an unwelcome surprise. Imagine that you are enjoying your wedding reception and the police show up to shut you down because you were playing loud music past the city’s noise ordinance.
Lack of Management
The owners may allow events, but without any event management you are going into your event blindly. The house might not be able to handle the amount of power you need for your outdoor lighting or DJ. There might not be enough bathrooms for everyone. You might not know what is permitted and what isn't. Your contract might not cover you the way you hoped and you could be liable for any problems that come up.
Do yourself a favor, and find a house with a manager. They will monitor and handle any property issues, so you or your event coordinator don’t have to! Remember, the management team is there to give you the best event possible, as well as ensuring the homeowners are happy and the rules are obeyed. A win-win situation for all!
A lot goes into a great estate venue. The homeowner might have good intentions and may even allow a wedding to take place without any supervision, but that is not advised. A homeowner is not an event manager, so even the owner might not be aware of all of the logistical matters and city regulations regarding events.
Whatever the reason, if the homeowner has said “no events” you better pay attention and follow the rules. If you violate their contract, you better expect that your deposit and credit card will be charged for any damages, and they might be hefty.
Pay it Forward:
I’ve read testimonials from homeowners who have been notified by neighbors that someone had their party at the estate when it was explicitly forbidden. While the renter may have gotten away with hosting their party without a hitch, that act of defiance can have a butterfly effect. That single party can have a devastating effect on not only the home/homeowner but also the community.
Depending on what type of person you are, you may or may not be concerned about the venue or any future rentals. If you are the type of person who cares, there is ever more reason to throw your wedding the proper way. If you cut corners, you may prevent the homeowners from ever renting their home again, vacation rental or otherwise. If you don’t follow the rules set forth, the police can shut down the venue, and then no one else will be able to have their wedding at the same house. Wouldn’t that be a shame? I can't tell you how many calls I get about cancelled wedding venues due to problems with a home they rented from a vacation rental website.
If unregulated events are overrunning a community, you might even see city or county laws change or even ban events altogether. This has happened in several popular wedding cities in California and can continue to happen if events are not controlled.
Do yourself (and the owner) a favor and tell them that you would like to host your wedding at the estate. Worst case scenario is that they say no, and if so, try searching for a private estate that does cater to weddings and events. Best case scenario is they say "yes" but they require on site management.
Don't view this as a negative. A manager is great! If they don't provide one for you, hire one. A location manager is just as important as an event coordinator. Let them take care of the venue so you can have the perfect wedding!
If you are looking for a manager for your private estate wedding, please give us a call and we would be happy to talk to you about our venues and answer any questions you may have.
Let us know about your experience with renting a home for your estate wedding below...