While other brides and grooms are looking at hotel ballrooms and country clubs – with their credit cards and checkbooks shaking in fear over the huge price tags – as the settings for their wedding celebrations, you can get amazing advantages by skipping the cavernous blank slates of these wedding ‘usuals’ in favor of the bed and breakfast setting. Perhaps as the site for your entire wedding celebration, perhaps as the site for pre- and post-wedding parties, and certainly as the perfect place for you and your guests to stay in charming style. Here, we’ve collected the top ten benefits of bringing a jewel of a bed and breakfast into your dream wedding plans:
1. The cost. Some wedding sites, like hotels and arboretums, country clubs and museums, charge hefty fees. Some charge for use of their site (one well known spot charges $15,000!), and their wedding packages can cost upwards of $200 per person. At a bed and breakfast, you’ll likely find no site fees, and their wedding packages – including catering, décor and even the officiate– can be far less expensive, depending on the choices you make. Since a B&B is not primarily a wedding ‘factory,’ you’re very likely to find lower per-person prices and greater personal choice. With guests staying in the rooms, they often absorb the fees for use of the establishment.
2. A complete setting. Most B&Bs are so well appointed, with dramatic fireplaces, beautiful staircases, vast wraparound porches, blooming gardens with cast iron benches, tables and charming gazebos or beach, lake or mountain settings, that their existing beauty only needs a few floral touches. The place itself is so gorgeous, there’s not much you’ll have to bring in. Compare that to a blank-slate hotel ballroom that needs extensive décor to make a visual impact, and the benefit is clear: the B&B is fabulous on it own!
3. Everyone stays together. Your out-of-town guests can share this home away from home, leaving their doors open, mixing and mingling, socializing by the fireplace or out on the porch with a glass of wine or a warm brandy. Especially if guests haven’t yet stayed at a B&B, this will be a wonderful new experience for them to share with relatives and friends they haven’t seen in a while. We’re a global society, and sometimes our friends live far away. If everyone stays in this ‘house,’ it gives them far more space and a more intimate environment to catch up with one another.
4. Themed rooms. Some B&Bs have a ‘blue room’ or a ‘terrace room,’ even rooms named for flowers or artists, historical figures, colors…something unique in every room. Four-post beds, fireplaces, even Jacuzzi tubs grace some rooms, giving guests more of a vacation feel than if they stayed in a plain, standard hotel room.
5. Breakfast is included. Fresh-baked muffins, eggs benedict, chocolate chip pancakes, fresh juice, fresh fruit, a home filled with the scents of fresh-baked bread and coffee brewing. Not a bad way for your guests to start each day of your wedding weekend, served by friendly hosts and shared with their loved ones.
6. The owners know people. Many B&B proprietors offer special deals with nearby restaurants, florists, spas, even limousine companies and horse and carriage outfits. The owners of the B&B can hook you up with phenomenal perks for your guests…and for you, if you’re staying as well.
7. Limited space. While this doesn’t sound like a benefit for those who plan big, formal weddings for 300 guests, it is for brides and grooms who wish to have a smaller, more intimate wedding. As a matter of budget (and sanity), some couples choose a smaller location that only fits 50-60 people, which automatically limits their guest lists to immediate family and friends. Parents who fall in love with a great B&B location are almost always more obliging about keeping their guest lists shorter.
8. A great location. The perfect B&B for your wedding is located in a great town, such as a quaint little tourist town with museums and street festivals, antiquing, horseback riding, orchards, beaches and wineries nearby. Some provide bicycles, and some provide maps of walking tours with great restaurants and fudge shops marked. Since wedding weekend events are all the rage, the perfect location can give your guests lots to do on their own, in groups, or as part of a tour or outing planned by you.
9. Spa treatments. Some B&Bs offer in-room massages and spa treatments, or gift cards to nearby spas and day spas. So your guests will get all the pampering they could ever want.
10. The perfect setting for wedding photos. Imagine the shots you could get by the fireplace, in a rose garden, by rose trellises, or on that beautiful porch. The perfect B&B provides unique and gorgeous scenery for wedding photos, both indoors and outside.
One important thing to keep in mind is that your different groups of guests might enjoy staying in their own bed and breakfast. Some guests might love the peace and quiet of one B&B with charming, Victorian-style rooms, while other guests might love being at another B&B where they can enjoy drinks by the fireplace, or hot tubbing out in the yard. So don’t limit yourselves to just one site. And lastly, a great, unique location like a bed and breakfast makes your wedding seem like you spent more money. Guests love the something-different appeal of a B&B wedding or stay, and it makes their travels for your wedding an adventure, or a romantic getaway for them as well.