As a Colorado wedding photographer, I've had the pleasure of capturing countless couples as they prepare for their big day in all sorts of locations - from hotels to homes and everything in between. But there's something undeniably special about an Airbnb wedding day prep. The cozy, homey vibes combined with the uniqueness of each rental make for an unforgettable experience and incredibly beautiful getting ready photos.

If you're considering an Airbnb for your wedding prep, you're in for a treat! But there are a few key tips I always share with my couples to ensure their Airbnb getting ready experience is seamless and stress-free. Keep reading for my insider advice! First, let's take a look at my top picks in Fort Collins!

The Saltbox: Downtown New Build

From the Owner:

"Welcome to The Saltbox, your home away from home in the heart of Fort Collins. 2 blocks from CSU + a 15 minute walk to downtown.

While the Saltbox itself is a quiet oasis, the neighborhood is dynamic, with coffee shops, vegan food, + a historic liquor store all within walking distance. Not to mention, the Lincoln Center, + HQs for some of the largest employers in the area.

We hope you’ll find the perfect spot to experience the best that Northern Colorado has to offer."

Cutest Spot in Old Town - The Loft

From the Owner:

"This 400 sq ft tiny space is located in the heart of Fort Collins, known as The Loft in Old Town.

Only a 15 minute walk to The Square - enjoy the best local restaurants, breweries and shops! Walking distance to CSU Canvas Stadium & CSU campus. Easy access to the Poudre Trail & a 20 minute drive to Horsetooth Reservoir.

We put our heart & soul into renovating The Loft, and we love sharing our space with others. Feel like a true CO local while staying here!"

Top Floor Loft in Old Town

From the Owner:

"Updated Modern Comfy Flat. Top floor Luxury Studio with Large Relaxing Patio that has Spectacular Views of Downtown Fort Collins. Enjoy GREAT Local Restaurants, Breweries, Live Music or Theater - All just a Short Stroll or Bike Ride away (corner of College Ave / Oak St).

Perfect for a Romantic Getaway or just be the Envy of your Kids at CSU when you come for a visit! Secured Lobby entrance, Very Private and Completely Furnished with all the Amenities."

Rich Greens

From the Owner:

"Solar powered farm style carriage house located right off the Cache le Poudre River & Trail between Old town and Horsetooth Mountain. Private access and parking on my property right off HWY 287, and just minutes away from Old Town!

1 Cozy queen bed with extra pillows and blankets. Private bathroom with sink and shower. Roku smart tv so you can log into Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime and Cable tv."

Loft on Mountain (in Old Town)

From the Owner:

"Boutique luxury in beautiful Old Town, Fort Collins. Located one door West of The Melting Pot; enjoy the best dining, shopping & nightlife that Fort Collins has to offer - right out your front door!

The entire space is yours.

Entry Party Room: TV, bar, sink, beverage frig, table, sitting area

Laundry Room: Washer/Dryer

Upstairs Living: Full Kitchen, Living Room, Powder Bath, Master Bed/Bath, 2 TVs, Electric Fireplace"

The Perfect Airbnb for Wedding Prep

Location, Location, Location

When searching for the ideal Airbnb to get ready in, location should be a top priority. You'll want to find a rental that's conveniently situated near your ceremony and reception venues to cut down on travel time and transportation costs.

But don't just consider the distance - also take into account potential traffic patterns, road construction, and anything else that could cause delays. As a rule of thumb, I recommend my couples budget for the commute to take 1.5-2x longer than Google Maps estimates, just to be safe!

See what working with me looks like!

Light & Airy Spaces are Best

Gorgeous, well-lit getting ready photos are an absolute must! So when evaluating potential Airbnb rentals, pay close attention to how much natural light the spaces get. Plenty of big windows and bright, airy rooms make all the difference.

You'll also want to keep an eye out for any funky artificial lighting situations like harsh overhead bulbs or colorful LED accent lights that can create weird casts on skin tones. Ask owners about being able to turn off or dim unflattering lights during your stay.

Check out my favorite outdoor wedding locations in Northern Colorado!

Size it Up

How many people will be getting ready with you? Having an accurate headcount is key to ensuring you book an Airbnb with enough space to comfortably accommodate your whole crew. Cramming hair, makeup, photography, videography teams PLUS all your loved ones into too small of a rental leads to chaos!

I always suggest choosing a rental with an extra bedroom or two beyond what you think you'll need. That little bit of extra breathing room makes everything feel so much calmer.

Check out my full Fort Collins Wedding Guide!

Prepping the Airbnb Space

Clear the Clutter

When I arrive at an Airbnb for getting ready coverage, the first thing I do is a quick sweep of the main rooms to clear away any stray personal items, small decor accents, etc. Having a blank canvas space creates a clean, editorial vibe for your photos.

But before moving anything, I'll quickly check in with you or your planner to make sure there aren't any sentimental items you want left out. Family heirlooms or special decor can absolutely stay put for meaningful detail shots!

Consider Hair & Makeup Stations

Speaking of clean canvases - chat with your hair and makeup crew to see if they'd like any special setup for their work stations. Many appreciate having a clean, clear dining room table or large countertop to use. You can also bring in a roll of craft paper to create a simple backdrop behind their chairs!

I always prioritize getting early getting ready photos of hair and makeup happening, so having a pretty, polished set up makes those images extra editorial and swoon-worthy.

Hanging Garment Racks are a Must

You'll likely have your wedding attire, plus countless dresses, suits, and accessories for everyone in your party. Do yourself a favor and pick up an inexpensive hanging garment rack to keep everything elegant, wrinkle-free and off the floor during the getting ready process.

I'm a huge fan of positioning the racks near a window for spectacular dress and suit detail photos with beautiful natural backlighting. So chic!

Getting Ready Day Timeline Tips

Build in Buffer Time

If there's one piece of advice I share with every single couple, it's this: always budget way more time than you think you'll need on your wedding day. Even if you're an incredibly punctual person who is never late, delays always seem to creep their way in on the actual day-of.

I suggest padding your Airbnb getting ready schedule with at least 1.5-2 hours of extra wiggle room beyond what your hair, makeup, transportation, etc. times state. You'll be able to relax and actually enjoy those precious prepping moments - and even if everything runs ahead of schedule, you'll have freedom to slow down and soak it all in instead of feeling rushed.

Consider a First Look

Want to maximize time with your guests and soak up more of those fun Airbnb getting ready vibes together? Instead of doing separate getting ready locations, have your and your partner meet up for a first look! That way, you'll both get to hang out together while still keeping things traditional by not seeing one another until you're fully dressed.

A first look also frees up more time for couple's portraits beforehand, so you can quickly hustle off to cocktail hour after your ceremony. I'm always an enthusiastic yes for first looks from a photography perspective - the lighting and photo opportunities tend to be endlessly better!

Don't Skip Out on the Details

I always allocate a decent chunk of time during Airbnb getting ready coverage for thoughtfully capturing all the tiny, meaningful details you've worked so hard on. This includes things like jewelry, shoes, invitations, floral pieces, and any other accessories or keepsakes you want photographed.

Some of the most visually compelling detail shots incorporate textures and scenes from the Airbnb rental itself, so having ample time to scout out perfect nooks and crannies makes all the difference. I absolutely love weaving in distinctive design elements of the home's decor for tones-on-tones effect or beautiful contrast.

An Airbnb getting ready experience is truly something special that you'll reminisce over for years and years to come. These final, quiet moments before you tie the knot deserve to be savored and celebrated through joyful photography. By planning ahead and following this advice, you'll be able to start off your wedding day feeling calm, relaxed, and absolutely radiant!

Let's chat about your wedding!