Tips for Renting a Private VillaWords by Sharon Naylor
Photos courtesy of Jumby Bay
Why bother with a large, busy resort when your wedding group can ‘own’ a million-dollar estate home or lavish villa for your destination wedding getaway? Rather than wheel their luggage through a resort’s lobby, your guests can arrive in style at a breathtaking mansion and have the owners’ private butlers serve them a frosty tropical cocktail as their luggage is whisked away by the staff for the weekend. Now, that’s a sensational start to your wedding weekend!
While not all villas have a private chef and butler staffs, you can’t beat the privacy of your own ‘home’ for your stay. Even in a modest villa, you get to share time and celebrate with your nearest and dearest, and if your wedding will take place on ‘your’ grounds, beach or by the pool, you won’t have any other vacationers stumbling into your photos or into your buffet line.
Here are 10 top tips for renting a villa or estate home for your wedding:
- Decide on how many days you need. You might want to arrive a day or two early to meet with your wedding coordinator or stay on just the two of you after your guests depart.
- Decide on how you’ll foot the bill. Will you pay for the home rental yourself or will you configure an amount for each guest to pay as their lodging fee?
- Ask about capacity rules. If the contract says ‘up to 15 people,’ stay within that range, even if you think you can sleep 20 comfortably in the house.
- Get a layout of the estate home or villa so you can plan out which bedroom you’ll claim as your own and so you can help your guests arrange for their room-sharing plans. Another benefit of layouts and photos: you’ll see the home’s potential dream features like a tennis court, fitness center, wine cellar and outdoor bar.
- Ask about permission to hold your wedding and reception at the estate home or villa. Many homeowners have requirements for permits and insurance, so you have to get the okay before you book and plan.
- Ask about bringing in outside chefs or any other professionals. Again, the homeowners will need to sign off on any pros using their kitchen and property before you book any nonrefundable deposits.
“One of the questions we’re asked most often in rentals of our resort’s many villas and estate homes is which types of household staff will be in attendance,” says Ashley Smith, sales manager at Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort. “They’ll find butlers, housekeepers and chefs employed by the home’s owners.”
- Ask if pets are allowed. You may want your dog to be ring bearer or you may have a fabulous friend who brings her Maltese on trips with her.
- Ask about smoking rules. Can the guys enjoy cigars out on the terrace, or does the home have open-air rooms the owners’ don’t want to smell like stogies. If the owners say no, cross those cigars off your list. Any resulting bills for cleaning and damages can be astronomical.
- Find out about special events at the resort your villa is connected with. At Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort, for example, the resort holds a regular Friday night ‘White Party’ on the beach where guests dress in white, dance to steel drum music, enjoy a lavish buffet and close out the evening by the bonfire. Your villa’s parent resort may have guided hikes or snorkeling trips and activities for kids (who may be bored at the house with all of those adults around).
- Ask about item retrieval. If you or guests leave any personal effects at the villa, can you make arrangements to have them sent back to you?
If you are granted permission to marry at the estate home, it’s a lovely idea to send photos to the estate home or villa’s owner, with a note saying how much you appreciate them allowing you to hold your very special day in their gorgeous home.Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding planning books, including 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding.
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