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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Vacation Rental for Your Wedding

Words by HomeAway.com

When it comes to planning your big day, think outside the box for the most unique and memorable experience possible. For both accommodations and ceremony locations couples are increasingly considering vacation rentals as a budget-friendly venue for wedding ceremonies, receptions or both.

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According to HomeAway, a leading online vacation rental marketplace with more than one million listings in 190 countries, each year more than 20 percent of travelers use vacation rentals for a special event, including weddings (29 percent).

Bride Lexi Lenhart from Austin, Texas found her dream venue in a private home along the shores of Lake Travis near Austin. Here she answers our questions about finding an unforgettable space to host your wedding.

Why was renting a vacation rental appealing to you?

Both of our families are from out of state, and the majority of our wedding party doesn’t live in Austin like we do. It was not only important to us that we have a unique wedding that reflected our personalities, but we also wanted to spend time with our favorite people on the most important week of our life. My husband actually had the idea of, “How cool would it be for all of us to stay at the same place for a weekend and host a ‘staycation’ wedding?”

We looked at some local venues that have onsite lodging and they just didn't feel right for us (and were insanely expensive). He had the idea to rent a big house so we started looking online and found some great options. When we came across the waterfront estate in Lago Vista on HomeAway.com, we absolutely fell in love with it and just knew it would be perfect! 

Why should other couples look at renting a vacation rental?

We really enjoyed the privacy, flexibility and intimacy of having our wedding at a home instead of a traditional wedding venue. We found that many venues were charging the same price for six hours of use as we paid for a whole weekend at our vacation rental. Many venues also require you to use a vendor they partner with; with a vacation rental we were not limited to those options. We were able to use our own cost-effective food, beverage, photography and DJ vendors and then use the money we saved towards things that were more important to us.

What were the pros and cons of having your wedding at a private home?

Pros: More cost effective, flexible, unique, intimate, private.

Cons: Many homeowners are leery about hosting events. Sometimes there are ordinances or limitations about the number of guests that may make hosting an event tricky. At times it was challenging to find someone who would work with us. We had to be very clear that we were booking this rental for event purposes.  In addition to the rental fee, most homes required a pretty hefty deposit for events. Also, there are no packages or inclusions, so I had to plan, purchase and organize everything myself.

Do you have any tips for brides looking to book their wedding venue through HomeAway?

I would definitely recommend hosting your wedding this way. Everything turned out perfectly for us and I never felt pressured or frustrated, unlike many of my friends who worked with venues. I would say that hiring a coordinator for the actual wedding day or appointing a friend or family member you trust is helpful so you can enjoy your day. There were small things that came up that I hadn't thought of which someone with experience would have handled easily.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): HomeAway.com and Brittany Dawson Photography

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