Hosting Weddings and Events at Your Vacation Rental Property

    vacation rental bookings for weddings and eventsYou might be fortunate enough to own a vacation home in a beautiful and romantic destination sought out by wedding parties. Or perhaps your home is a destination all on its own if it is large enough to hold big family barbecues or reunions. In either case, you might receive inquiries from groups looking to hold a family gathering, rehearsal dinner, or even an actual wedding at your property.

    Many vacation homeowners find that accepting bookings for group events or weddings turns out to be worth their while. Then again, you should strongly consider the implications of hosting such events at your own home before committing to a larger-than-average group.

    Event Fees

    Because more people generally means more wear and tear, it is wise to increase your security deposit. With a higher number of guests comes greater risk of damage, so you should cover your bases by requesting a security deposit that is appropriate for the number of people that will be in attendance.

    In addition to an increased security deposit, it is also reasonable to charge an event fee. If a wedding was held at a hotel, the couple would be charged not only for their rooms, but also for the banquet space. So, if your home is serving as a reception hall as well as accommodations, it is fair to charge for both, and renters should expect this.

    Some preparation and cleaning costs to consider when calculating your event fee: 
    • Extra time (for you or your housekeeper) to allow wedding planners, caterers, florists, and others involved in the party to visit the site and prepare for the event
    • Carpet cleaning
    • Trash removal
    • Pumping of septic tank/portable toilet rental
    • Extra housekeeping services
    You might also want to require your guests to purchase event insurance to cover potential damage. Some owners even choose to lump this into their event fee to make sure everyone is covered. Insured events must have bartenders manning the bars at all times and will ensure that events end at the time designated by the town or county.

    Some Concerns

    Before deciding whether or not you want to allow a wedding or group event at your property, you should check your local laws to determine whether you can host the event. Many counties will require a permit for parking, etc. If you can, in fact, host the event, remember that your neighbors will have to deal with the noise and added congestion on the street. Sending your neighbors out to dinner on the night of the event would be a nice gesture. The guests will leave, but your neighbors will still be there after checkout — if you want to keep hosting events in the future, it is important to keep them happy.

    Events or weddings at vacation properties are held predominantly outside. If your home has a deck or patio, make sure to check the weight capacity and warn your renters about this limit as a safety precaution. A pool will also pose some safety risks that should be weighed heavily before accepting the reservation for the event. Either way, proper communication about rules and safety concerns is key for allowing a large group in your home without supervision. If possible, you might even consider requiring that your housekeeper be present during the event — and this should of course be built in to your event fee.

    While it is difficult to determine the exact number of people that will be at your property, it is important to remind guests if you have restrictions as to how many are physically allowed to sleep at your home. It is also wise to address the noise level and remind the renters that you have neighbors with which you would like to remain friends! Most renters that are using your home to host an event will be respectful of your requests if you present your concerns in a fair and professional manner.

    Many owners will agree that, in the end, it is worth allowing a group event or wedding to be held at your home, both for the boost to your income and the overall appreciation from your guests. Plus, scores of owners will attest to receiving future bookings from other guests in attendance. Still, this type of rental is not for everyone, so consider the pros and cons of hosting an event at your vacation home before committing to a group.

    © Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2008