How to Host an Intimate Michigan Airbnb Wedding

June 4, 2022

If you love to daydream about hosting an intimate Airbnb wedding near the Great Lakes with never-ending sunsets, you’re in for a treat. First, let’s talk a bit of terminology!

michigan fall elopement ann arbor

What are intimate weddings?

An intimate wedding is a small wedding, typically with no more than 50 guests. Intimate weddings can feature a few staple traditions you’d see at a more standard wedding, but on a much smaller scale. This type of wedding favors simple but personalized approach, hand-picked designs and sustainable food options over a large scale generic wedding event with hundreds of guests.

intimate airbnb wedding

Can you elope in an Airbnb in Michigan?

Yes, you absolutely can! It is always a good idea to share your plans with the Airbnb host before booking to ensure there are no restrictions that could affect your day. If you book the property for an extended weekend or an entire week, you’ll have time to set up for your wedding day and also enjoy the property after the festivities. Look for an Airbnb with a lakefront location facing West, or a quintessential Michigan woodsy property with a firepit. 


intimate airbnb wedding in michigan

How to have an Airbnb wedding in Michigan?

Your Airbnb can be a “1 stop shop” for your entire wedding. Depending on the specific property, it can accommodate your ceremony as well as your reception:

  1. When you’re planning for your ceremony location on the property, make sure the background looks flawless (lake, tall trees, woods, etc. are fantastic for ceremony backgrounds).
  2. If there is a specific elopement spot dear to your heart nearby the Airbnb property, you can elope in that location and host an al fresco dinner at the Airbnb.

intimate wedding

Michigan Airbnb wedding and al fresco dining

The phrase al fresco is an Italian word for dining outside, or in the fresh air. There’s no better way to take advantage of summer months in Michigan than to dine al fresco, enjoying local farm-to-table fare and libations under the moonlit sky overlooking the dunes of Lake Michigan in Saugatuck.

Let’s dive into the most important part of planning an intimate Airbnb wedding in Michigan with 10 tips on how to make it an unforgettable intimate wedding affair.


michigan wedding in a cabin

10 tips to throw an epic intimate wedding at an Airbnb

The sky is the limit, so celebrate wildly!

Take advantage of the fact, that you can literally get married anywhere. With your family and most cherished friends, without the pressures of a large wedding with a tight timeline. Imagine the bonding time with your loved ones witnessing your ceremony and sharing a meal under the stars with them in a lakefront cabin or a backyard of an A-frame. 

michigan airbnb wedding

Keep the guest list short

One of my observations shooting large traditional weddings for several years, is that the bride and groom rarely have the time to interact with all of their guests. Spending thousands of dollars to invite hundreds of guests without having the opportunity to connect with seems like a major waste of money and energy. If you are having a hard time figuring out who to invite to your intimate Airbnb wedding, here are a few tips:

– Invite your closest friends and family who have been cheering you on from the very beginning.

– Invite people that have played a big role in your life and you simply can’t imagine your wedding day without them.

– Invite only the ones you deeply care about and sharing your day with them will bring you much needed comfort!

intimate airbnb wedding

Music, wedding food and libations!

Music, food and drinks set the tone of any event and are the magical trifecta that makes or breaks your intimate Airbnb wedding! Music has a magical power to transform the mood of your event, so choose wisely! Do you enjoy deep house? Hire a DJ to dance the night away on the deck of the property with the lake in the background. How about dancing the night away to melodies of a brass band? There are so many options, so make sure to avoid the generic. Imagine yourself in a movie and envision what you’d like to see. Personalized vows, carefree dancing, candle-lit dinner table, toasting with glasses filled with Michigan wine, sharing fresh, vibrant, local foods family style, laughing at your uncle’s stories you’ve heard hundred times…?

airbnb wedding in michigan

Splurge on what you care about and skip what isn’t important

Your finances will go further with fewer guests, so use those extra funds to enhance the elements that matter most to you. Create a truly unique and immersive experience you and your wedding guests will treasure forever. Upgrade your standard dinner to a fine dining experience catered by Michigan local Amor Comida, paired with great wines and craft cocktails from a mobile bar Simply Unstabled.

airbnb wedding venue

Wedding design is everything

Making your Airbnb feel intimate provides an opportunity to get creative with seating, lounging areas, table layouts and food stations. If you’re using the beach at the lakefront property to create a modern evening vibe, add lanterns, candles, flower arrangements, pillows, carpets.

For your dinner, you can consider an extra-large community table to fill more space with custom made stationery, placeholders and table settings to add to the ambience. Incorporate family heirlooms like vintage china, silverware, or hand-embroidered napkins. Make sure your guests have enough elbow room at their place settings and the centerpieces don’t prevent them from seeing their dining partners.

intimate wedding in michigan

Dress up in your wedding attire

Get gussied up in your wedding attire that makes you feel amazing! If you’re planning an intimate wedding or adventure elopement, you might be looking for a beautiful, flattering dress that will allow you to move freely without feeling constrained all day. You are most likely not wildly interested in a fairytale ballgown from a traditional bridal shop, but a wedding dress that simply makes you feel you. But don’t forget the one-of-a-kind accessories. For more inspiration, visit my blog post about elopement dresses for intimate weddings.

intimate wedding in michigan

Create a personalized wedding experience for your guests

Instead of sending out invites, personally call each of your guests to invite them to your intimate Airbnb wedding. You can also consider hand-painting each invitation instead of having them printed. To add more personality to your event, write handwritten notes and place them at each guest’s seat. It’s much easier to add the unique touches for 30 people than it is for 300! And since you’ve gone through narrowing your guest list down, you’re guaranteed to have a close connection to every guest, making those little details more meaningful.

intimate airbnb wedding

Make your intimate Airbnb wedding meaningful in every detail

I’m a huge fan of personalized vows in any setting, but especially at intimate micro weddings, when the couple feels comfortable sharing their words with a small audience. Don’t skip the chance to share promises with one another, surrounded by the people who are truly closest to the two of you, it will mean a lot to them! Include sentimental details, like wearing your grandmother’s veil or including your dog in the ceremony as the ring bearer. If you’re not into spending your money on a luxury venue and a seven course dinner, opt for having an intimate wedding affair in stunning Airbnb.

michigan intimate wedding

Hire a team of wedding pros!

A team of wedding professionals can really make your wedding stand out. Think about hiring a wedding planner, florist and a cake maker. If you like cocktails, make sure to hire a master mixologist that will develop concepts specifically for your wedding.


michigan wedding photographer

Hire a wedding photographer that gets you

No matter how small your wedding is, hire a wedding photographer who believes in your values and captures your intimate wedding day in an authentic and candid way. Invest in a documentary wedding photographer who specializes in capturing candid moments, who will be a fly on the wall without directing your day and will capture the laughter, tears, toasts and the overall atmosphere. You’ll want to document this day, no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you need an entire shot-list with family formals and a second shooter. Talk to your photographer about creating a custom package for your event that will reflect the unique vibe of your micro wedding.


airbnb wedding in michigan

11 handpicked Airbnb wedding venues for your intimate wedding or elopement in Michigan

Why not make a vacation out of your micro wedding? For some inspiration, I have hand-picked 10 gorgeous Airbnbs to host your intimate wedding or elopement in Michigan with clickable links.


airbnb wedding

1. Charming A-frame Airbnb cabin in Indian River

2. Lakefront cabin in Holland with stunning sunsets

3. Tiny Bay City designer loft for private roof elopement in Bay City

4. Woodsy cabin Airbnb in Pentwater

5. Cozy Alpine Airbnb in Boyne Falls

6. Modern Airbnb in the woods with a firepit near Glen Arbor

7. Fall wedding dream lodge near Traverse City

8. Mad Men style mid-century cottage for an intimate elopement

9. Lakefront Cabin in Suttons Bay

10. Large private house with stunning views


Other locations for an intimate Michigan Airbnb wedding

Grand Rapids, Saugatuck, Holland, Ludington, Suttons Bay. Grand Haven, Manistee, Traverse City. Charlevoix, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Silver Lake Sand Dunes and Marquette

intimate desert wedding

Hi, lovely, I am Yana, a Michigan wedding and elopement photographer! When you book me as your wedding or elopement photographer, you’re also booking my knowledge of stunning locations in Michigan and beyond. But that’s not all. I spend hours scouting new locations, researching activities and vetting vendors to be able to provide my expertise for a unique experience. I will also become your sounding board to consult ideas about your dream wedding or elopement adventure. Through all of this, we will most likely become friends and I will silently shed a tear hiding behind my camera when I witness you exchange your vows with your one and only. To book your complimentary consultation and chat about your mountain elopement planning with me, fill out the form below.