Bed and breakfasts marry old world charm with new world economy

Like boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts court a faithful following of repeat customers and attract an increasing number of budget-minded couples looking for a unique wedding location. Depending on their age, boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts may have historic inn status, but to be a true bed & breakfast, a historic inn must be owner-occupied and family-run. This distinction is more than semantic. When planning a unique wedding among old world antiques, it's reassuring to have the hands-on care of an invested innkeeper who owns the antiques, grew up in the community, lives on the property, and knows the neighbors. A bed & breakfast is someone's house and reflects the personality, preferences, and peccadilloes of its owner, while a historic inn with a professional staff may convey a less quirky, more hotel-like quality. Both the bed & breakfast and historic inn boutique hotel exude old world atmosphere. But an intimate bed & breakfast ceremony in the garden or the parlor is like having an old-fashioned wedding at home without the hassle.

Photo courtesy Castle Marne

Space is Limited, but Bed & Breakfast Weddings Have Built-In Infrastructure, Service, and Décor

The majority of America's 28,000-plus bed and breakfasts are vintage Victorians with spacious front rooms and modest bedrooms, typically 10 or fewer in number. All serve a home-cooked breakfast, most offer afternoon sherry or tea, and some are equipped to host a small, unique wedding ceremony and reception among their antiques. Other than personal recommendations by loyal repeat customers, bed and breakfasts' websites are their best source of new business and typically provide detailed information about space and service capabilities, including wedding accommodations. Bed & breakfast owner-operators also depend on one another for referrals, so an innkeeper who can't take your job should be happy to refer you to a nearby property that can. Old world atmosphere, ornate antiques, and hands-on care comprise a value-package that is hard to replicate, making bed and breakfasts with wedding capacity, experience, and availability a bargain in every sense. When a bed & breakfast owner with space on the books is also an expert in wedding planning, the local or out-of-town wedding planner or couple seeking a unique wedding venue with low stress at an affordable price can usually stop shopping.

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

Course Video Tutorial: 'A Historic Inn Owner Teaches Bed & Breakfast Weddings' (26:07)

Melissa Feher-Peiker owns and operates Castle Marne, a landmark bed & breakfast built in 1889 in one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods. Together with her parents Jim and Diane Peiker, her husband Louis Feher, and their sons Louie and Charlie, she runs the house, makes guests feel at home, and hosts small weddings with built-in Victorian charm. Boasting a handsome front parlor and formal dining room full of authentic antiques, an old world side garden, and a honeymoon suite with a Jacuzzi and view, Castle Marne is a popular wedding venue for modest destination weddings, couples eloping or on military furlough, and partners who are blending two families through remarriage. Like most bed & breakfast owners, the Feher-Peikers are emotionally connected with their property. They've rescued it from neglect, preserved it for posterity, and made day-to-day business operations a full-time family affair. Each family member performs multiple functions at Castle Marne weddings, which occur regularly during Colorado's temperate spring, summer, and fall seasons for wedding parties of 2 to 20. In this course video tutorial, Melissa details for Members the benefits, procedures, and requirements for planning and booking a unique wedding at a historic inn bed & breakfast. Meanwhile Jim is officiating in the garden for a small blended-family marriage as Charlie prepares to serve the new family its first formal meal in Castle Marne's Victorian dining room.

Melissa Feher-Peiker, Historic Inn Owner

Learn 12 essential elements of planning historic inn bed & breakfast weddings:

  • Four major segments of America's historic inn wedding market
  • How to access and evaluate inns on the Internet
  • Three important questions for the initial telephone interview
  • How and when to book a modest bed & breakfast destination wedding
  • Comparative costs for weekend and weekday wedding packages
  • Customized plans, deposits, and the flexibility to make changes before the event
  • The lead time required to book the whole house for a wedding
  • Discount deals for military couples with limited time and money
  • Scheduling tips to help every wedding run on time
  • Why ethical wedding venues don't accept kickbacks or commissions
  • The value of flexible vendor policies with minimal rules
  • Six essential qualities of effective wedding planners

Back to homepage

Course Features & Cost