Airbnb Tips For Your Honeymoon by Vanessa Larkey

If you're a budget conscious bride, you're probably a budget conscious traveller.

While staying in hostels is a great way to meet people, a honeymoon calls for something a bit more private. Hotels are expensive, which is why Airbnb is a great alternative. If you've never used the online vacation rental service before, you've probably read that it's wrecking havoc on the hotel industry, and driving Toronto condo boards crazy.  Bad press aside, everyone has at least one friend that swears by it. 

Peter and I had used Airbnb a handful of times before our honeymoon. A day here, a couple nights there. But, our honeymoon was the ultimate Airbnb test - almost 3 weeks of staying at other people's places. We definitely learned a lot along the way, which I will share with you now! 


A five star hotel comes with certain expectations. Friendly concierge, a workout room, hotel bar, and perhaps a pool. A five star rating on Airbnb can mean anything because it's user generated. What do I mean? Both the guest and the host have the opportunity to rate and review one another. To ensure fairness, both parties do not receive their ratings/comments about one another until the other party has reciprocated. 

Me? I think this leads to skewed ratings. Travellers are generous with the stars because they want a good rating for future Airbnbs. Hosts are generous with their reviews because they want a good review to ensure more guests. While most of the places we stayed were great, our most disappointing experience involved a cockroach - and that was at a 4 1/2 star location. The hosts response? "This is an island. It happens." 

If you found a cockroach at a hotel, you KNOW there would be action taken! So! What do you do if a place is not what it seems, and the host does not seem to care? 


Contact Airbnb immediately. They resolve all disputes between host and traveller, and will refund money so you can stay in a hotel for a night or two. 


La cucaracha aside, we realized there is a code travellers use when rating other Airbnbs. When someone says, "This place is exactly as described" it generally means, "This place is okay. Nothing special - you will be underwhelmed when you arrive." 

If there is even the slightest whiff of negativity in a review, do not stay there. Run. Leave. The same goes for anything less than a 5 star rating. Anyone can get a 5 star rating. If there's a place that has less, there must be something seriously wrong with it. 


While searching for a place to stay, you'll notice some of the places/people are designated as 'Super Hosts'. This. Means. Everything.

Other travellers have gone out of their way to recommend the Super Host. The Super Host takes pride in their accommodation, and will try to make your stay as awesome as possible. At a Super Host Airbnb we stayed at, our hosts left out a welcome basket that included local fruit from their garden, coffee, pancake mix, and snacks. The welcome basket also helped us stay on budget, as we didn't need to buy any fruit or granola bars/snacks while we stayed there. 


Super Host locations book fast. If you want a great place to stay, you need to book early. The place with the cockroach? That was the last Airbnb that we booked, and it was almost 2 months after we booked our other accomodations. 


Google street view is your friend when booking on Airbnb. Take a virtual tour of the neighbourhood. Are there grocery stores nearby? How close is the bus stop? What is the parking situation like? All of this is very important, and can make or break your trip. 


Not all Airbnb's offer the same amenities. If you're staying in multiple locations and unsure of what to expect, bring a towel, facecloth, and toiletries. Most places we stayed at had shampoo/conditioner, but not all. Luckily, we came prepared. 

And that's all we have! Would love to hear other people's advice/comments about booking with Airbnb. 

RAINBOW! One of the coolest things we discovered on honeymoon. All will be revealed in a future blog post about honeymooning on a budget! 

RAINBOW! One of the coolest things we discovered on honeymoon. All will be revealed in a future blog post about honeymooning on a budget! 

*Final budget for the wedding is coming - still tying up some final details.


V is for Venue by Vanessa Larkey

Thumbs up for venue hunting!

Thumbs up for venue hunting!

If you want to instantly sound and subsequently feel like an asshole, say this:

"We aren't banquet hall kinda people." 

Unfortunately that translates to, “We think we’re individuals! We like art! We listen to Father John Misty!”

What I really meant to say was, “Traditional banquet halls are expensive and don’t offer great vegetarian options. Plus, in my initial research, most have a myriad of fees.” Much more eloquent, right? Unfortunately, when tempers flare eloquence goes out the window. 

So! Who was my unfortunate slip of the tongue directed at? My parents, of course. They are part of a select group of people that get to witness my fabled short fuse. Lucky, right? 

We were discussing venues over dinner and my Dad kept insisting I “use the Google” to check out the Liberty Grand and Rosewater Supper Club. After dismissing both options multiple times I barked, “We aren’t really banquet hall kinda people.”

My Mom chortled and sarcastically replied, “You are an individual. Can’t wait to see the venue list you come up with.”

Obviously I deserved that.

Really, it doesn’t matter WHERE you get married. If you want a banquet hall, go for it! If you want a non-traditional venue, go for that to! For us, a banquet hall just isn't the right fit. 

So! What venues are the "two individuals" considering? Take a look below. This is just our initial list. There will be more to come. And if you have a suggestion, we will gladly take it. 

Enoch Turner Schoolhouse

PRICE TAG: $2, 750

What we like about it: The price! Also, it's charming interior. It's an old school! Adorable! The Schoolhouse is on Trinity Street just south of King -- very accessible by public transit. Also, it's in the East End of the city (where we live). Ideally we'd like a venue in an area we are familiar with incase there are any last minute purchases we need to make. 

What do you get? The site from 1 p.m. – 1 a.m., 150 chairs, 1, wired microphone and PA system, 1 podium, grand piano, 2 easels, a screen, AV cart, coat racks + hangers, eight 8 foot long rectangular tables and six 6 foot long rectangular tables. 

Our Verdict: Worth a visit to check out the space. 

Purnia Pawsways

Price Tag: $2000/day

What we like about it: Don't let the name fool you, this venue is also for two legged creatures. The Pawsways price is great and it's located near the Harbourfront Centre. 

What does that get you? They have 20 6ft tables and 90 chairs. 

Our Verdict: Unfortunately there are no photos of a wedding that's taken place there. Bummer. Also, it took the venue coordinator a few week's to reply to my email. Not a good sign. Depending on how our visits to other venue sites go, we may visit. 


Price Tag: $3,800 Saturday rental

What we like about it: Although it's a bit pricer than what we've allotted for in our budget, the space looks hella cool. It's also located near the Distillery District, which is a great place to get some wedding photo snaps taken. 

What do you get? 150 chiavari chairs (whatever those are), indoor & outdoor lounge furniture and bar furniture. 

Our Verdict: Even though it's a bit pricer than what we've budgeted for, I want to check it out and see if it's worth the extra coin .