Think about what your dream wedding feels like for a second: what’s the atmosphere like? What people are surrounding you (if any)? How are you celebrating? What will be the most special to you? If you pictured an intimate celebration at a beautiful, private location away from your hometown, where you can celebrate just the two of you or with a few of your closest loved ones, then you should consider having an Airbnb wedding or elopement!
If you’re not fans of the limitations that come with renting traditional wedding venues and would rather have the freedom & flexibility to use a beautiful space as you’d like, then finding an Airbnb may be an amazing option for you. Whether you find an Airbnb that allows wedding ceremonies and you hold your official ceremony there, or you simply want to find an incredible space to serve as a home base to come back to during your trip, there are SO many opportunities for every type of couple!
This guide is going to walk you through what an Airbnb wedding is, how to plan an Airbnb wedding, why you should have an Airbnb wedding, and then I’ll be giving you 5 of the best Airbnbs in Northern California for weddings & elopements. Enjoy!
An Airbnb wedding is simply a wedding or elopement that takes place at an Airbnb instead of a traditional venue, a national park, etc. I typically use “Airbnb wedding” as an overarching term, no matter if the actual ceremony takes place at the Airbnb or the Airbnb provides a home base for getting ready, an evening gathering after the ceremony, etc.
It depends on the Airbnb! A majority of Airbnbs state on their listings that parties & events are not allowed. Sometimes, an owner will allow small weddings, elopements, or gatherings with express permission/an additional fee, even if that’s what the listing says, whereas some stick to that rule and don’t allow any sort of “events” on the property.
Because every Airbnb & host is so different, it’s important to reach out to the hosts of Airbnbs you’re looking at for your wedding so that you know what is & isn’t allowed at each of the places you’re considering! I recommend narrowing your search down to 4-5 Airbnbs so that you have room for hosts to tell you no, without all of your plans being upended because you set your hearts on one specific Airbnb that you can’t host your wedding at.
Don’t host your wedding at an Airbnb if the host has told you they specifically don’t allow any sort of event – be respectful of their rules, because there are plenty more options out there that you can look at instead.
They can be, simply because you won’t be paying to rent a venue space for the day. It totally depends on what your day looks like, though, and what elements are most important to you + have the most room in your budget!
The main benefit of having your wedding (or, at least, your evening party/gathering) at an Airbnb is the freedom & flexibility you’ll have to use the space as you want to, as opposed to the typically strict, limited rules in place at traditional wedding venues. Booking a spacious Airbnb also obviously gives you an amazing place to stay during your wedding, especially if it’s a destination wedding at a location you’ve never visited & want to take the time to explore!
Additionally, instead of planning a strict timeline that you have to follow for the whole day, you can plan loose times & locations and let your guests know that you’re going to go with the flow of the day. Invite your friends to join you for a morning-of brunch, followed by your ceremony in the forest nearby. Then spend some time just the two of you, enjoying the Airbnb and the space, before your guest re-join you for an evening around the campfire & a relaxed dinner in the backyard. The possibilities are endless!
While Airbnb weddings & elopements do offer much more flexibility than traditional wedding venues, there are still some logistics you need to think through!
First off, you need to decide whether you want to invite guests along, or you want to keep your wedding private, just the two of you. Would it be most special to celebrate with your closest friends & family and to spend time exploring the area with them, or would you rather bask in the newlywed bliss in private with your love – then meet up with your guests later on, maybe when you’re back home? It’s 100% up to you, and you should only invite guests you truly want to be there, not just because you think you “should” or “have to.”
I’d say that’s the biggest thing to figure out first – once you’ve done that, here are a few more of the most important things to consider & questions to ask yourselves when planning your Airbnb wedding:
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what Airbnb weddings are and how to plan one, I wanted to give you a headstart with 5 gorgeous Airbnbs for your Northern California wedding or elopement! These are 5 jaw-dropping homes that would be perfect to host you and your partner, and a small number of guests if you’re inviting any, and are sooo dreamy I doubt you’ll ever want to leave.
This 8-acre mountain top wine country escape is an absolute dream come true for eloping couples who are inviting just a few guests to celebrate with them. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Santa Rosa, the home sleeps 8 people (perfect for you two & three other couples) and offers a variety of lovely amenities you can take advantage of, such as the rain shower, the redwood hot tub, and the most charming outdoor garden areas! Just by looking at the photos on the listing, you can see how much space this house has to offer, and the decor + aesthetic is just top-notch. The garden area is perfect for an intimate dinner after your ceremony, with twinkle lights strung between the trees and a wooden table just waiting to be decorated!
Note that this Airbnb does NOT clearly list that it’s available for weddings, so be sure to contact the host about holding your ceremony here, and ask how you can be most respectful of the space with your guests.
I know I said that last Airbnb was one of the most beautiful Airbnb’s in Northern California for Airbnb weddings, buuut I might have spoken too soon. Truthfully, every one on this list is pretty incredible and you can’t go wrong with any of them! This eclectic, modern bohemian chalet located right next to Deer Creek is a stunning option for couples who want to elope in private, or only invite two of their closest loved ones. The a-frame house features massive floor-to-ceiling windows, bringing in all that glorious California sunshine, and embodies everything chic + boho with “a touch of Moroccan mountain vibes,” as the host describes it. Every corner is filled with intentional, adorable details, and the long table out on the deck is just PERFECT for an evening dinner to celebrate your wedding. You can end the night stargazing on the deck or roasting marshmallows over the fire while listening to the sounds of the river right next to you – what more could you want?!
This Airbnb doesn’t allow parties with any extra guests, but you can contact the host to talk about holding your wedding here
If you love being by the water and want to celebrate your marriage with some swimming, kayaking, or just plain time at the beach, this waterfront cottage will blow you away! Sitting right on Tomales Bay, this home offers stunning views of the bay + direct access to the water, whether you want to enjoy some R&R in the sun on the private beach, take the 2-person kayak out for a ride, go paddle boarding with your partner, or relax on the dock with a good book in hand, you and a few guests will NOT want to leave this cottage. All of that plus plenty of natural light, an outdoor shower, and a private hot tub = a phenomenal stay!
This Airbnb also does not allow events with more than the permitted number of guests, so if you want to meet more guests somewhere to celebrate, I’d recommend hitting up a local restaurant or public beach nearby.
This stunning cabin on the Mendocino coast is a freaking phenomenal space to stay for your wedding with your partner and up to 7 other guests. Just look at the photos of the listing and you’ll see how HUGE this property is, and the unreal coastal scenery you’ll get to wake up to. If you’re visiting during the right season, you might even be able to see whales from the Airbnb, as well as seals and eagles! It’s truly located in an amazing spot for couples who value exploring the great outdoors and want to spend time adventuring through beautiful scenery & wildlife areas. Just picture yourselves spending the day after your wedding relaxing in the hot tub, exploring the trails at Navarro Point Preserve, and then coming back for s’mores around the fire, with nothing but the ocean breeze & birds chirping in the air all day. A dream!
The Airbnb host specifies that weddings are not allowed here, so I would recommend you simply use this Airbnb as a home base for you and your guests to enjoy, then have your ceremony/evening reception elsewhere.
Finally, retreat to the mountains and relax in a beautiful cabin that you will NEVER want to leave. This house is situated right outside of Yosemite with a stunning backyard to hang out – a private hot tub to enjoy after a day of hiking, the firepit and outdoor space are just perfect for morning coffee, evening games, or a cookout with a handful of your humans on the day of your wedding. Yosemite’s North Entrance (Big Oak Flat) – is just a 30-minute drive giving you close access to Yosemite National Park – but you might not even want to leave this stunning home with its giant windows, gorgeous aesthetic, and cozy furniture!
Once again, the listing says that parties & events are not allowed at this Airbnb, so it’s a great space if you want to invite just 4-5 guests to celebrate with you, since any more would go over the allowed limit.
I hope this blog post got you excited about the possibility of having an Airbnb wedding or elopement, because I am so passionate about how amazing of an option they are. I would absolutely love to help you plan your dream Airbnb wedding in Northern California – you can reach out to me on my website!
Want some more free tips & resources to help you plan your Northern California wedding? Check out the guide I recently published on How to Plan An Epic Micro Wedding in Northern California!