Organizing wedding venue details of any sort can be a stressful task, let alone at a country cottage in a region you’re unfamiliar with. But renting a cottage for special events is becoming more and more popular. So how do you know you’re renting the right one? Here are some expert hints and tips for finding the perfect cottage rental for your event.
Location, location, location:
This should really be your go to mantra for finding the perfect cottage rental for your event. You need to keep in mind who is coming and where they are coming from. A good rule of thumb is to choose a destination within two hours driving distance of a metropolitan centre so that it is accessible for guests. You may not know exactly where you want to rent a cottage, but if you keep in mind your starting location and the location of the majority of your guests, you can search all regions within a two hour radius from “home base”. The Driving Distance Search Tool on Cottagecountry.com is a great way to discover regions and properties you may not have previously known about or considered.
When it comes to choosing a location, keep in mind regional fluctuations in rental costs. For example, while Muskoka is a household name and the go-to region for many event rentals, choosing a property there will cost you more per night. Consider instead renting in a region outside of the household-name hot-spots in order to save some cash.
Seating: When it comes to hosting a wedding, try to find a cottage with ample outdoor space that can be filled with guest seating for eating, resting, and relaxing. Tables, chairs and other outdoor furniture can easily be rented if the property isn’t equipped with enough.
Lifejackets: If the property is on the water, availability of life jackets needs to be a consideration given recent changes in watercraft laws. Are kids going to be in the water? Are the adults going to be boating? Some cottages have life jackets at their property, but they may not be the right size and there may not be enough. You may want to ask that all guests bring their own life jackets.
Bathrooms: What about bathroom logistics? How many people are going to be at your event and how many bathrooms are on-site? Large groups, especially when drinking, tend to cause large line ups for bathrooms. If you think this may be an issue, look into renting a portapotty or two: they will be delivered, placed where you want them, and then picked up at the end of the weekend!
Parking: This is another aspect that takes some planning. Are guests driving to and parking at the event? How much driveway space and overflow is required? If you have plan to have guests park on the lawn, be sure to run this by the property owner, as each owner is different when it comes to his or her property and grounds.
Nitty gritty details:
Every event is different, so when it comes to renting a cottage it is a good idea to make a master list of unique event details.
- Are you doing the cooking or have you hired a cook or caterer? What are their requirements for space and appliances?
- Are your guests carpooling or are you providing group transportation? How much parking space will be needed?
- Are you hosting the event indoors, or outdoors? Is there space for every one inside if it’s raining? Do you need to rent an event tent or canopy?
- Are guests staying overnight? What bedding is available at the cottage? Are linens included or should guests bring their own? Is there space for air mattresses, or tents?
Once you can digest the “big picture” of your event, your search for a rental can be much more directed.
If your guests are drinking, there are some specific details you need to consider. You will need to obtain a liquor licence in the respective area of your rental and keep in mind that many special event licenses require you to apply 60 days prior to the event. Also, having people drinking around a lake can be dangerous, so you may want to be a sober host to keep an eye on your guests. Lastly, if your guests are drinking, what is your plan to mitigate drinking and driving? Will you have all guests stay the night? Will you collect car keys in the beginning of the evening or supply group transportation at the end of the evening? It is important to keep these details in mind to avoid any liability issues for you or the cottage owner.
Keep the owners informed:
Make sure you communicate transparently with the owner about what exactly is happening at their property during the rental period before you rent. This will give you a better chance of receiving your full deposit back, and keep you on good terms with the owner for future use of their property.
Plan for success:
When it comes to finding the perfect cottage rental think about your event from start to finish and see if the property works with all your needs from set up to clean up. The right property will make all the difference between success and a party flop. Take your time when it comes to booking a property, and engage the property owners as they can be helpful in so many ways and they are the local experts!