For destination weddings, having a “homebase” for your friends and family is crucial. A homebase acts as a starting point for adventures out into the city as well as a place for those who would rather take it easy to chill out and wait to see what else is on offer. Overall, it allows a destination wedding trip to progress much more organically.
While such a homebase could (depending on the rental terms) be an Airbnb, hotel, or even just a convenient bar, there is a massive appeal to having the venue double as a homebase. Margaret Place has deep experience operating weekend “buyouts,” which initially constituted the bulk of our business. However, we now spend more time discouraging buyouts than selling them because we found that buyouts have some unavoidable drawbacks:
- The lack of a clear end-time meant that we frequently saw newlyweds kept awake on their wedding night talking to the most clueless guests. No one should spend their wedding night entertaining the weird uncle they didn’t want to invite.
- Vendors always need to break down and move out immediately after the event. It’s lovely to watch the setup (our bridal suite’s view of the procedure is a considerable amenity), but it’s super depressing to watch the teardown. You want to remember your florals adorning our gazebo, not at the bottom of a trash can covered with stale bread.
- Guests would be frustrated when the level of service at the venue was inconsistent. Guests want to be able to get a drink and some food anytime they are at the venue, but very few budgets can stretch to providing 24/7 service – assuming you can even find somewhere that offers that.
- It’s hard for couples to choose which friends and family get to stay on-site with them.
Buyouts were making us a lot of money, but they weren’t delivering value, so we pivoted and innovated. Of course, the best plan is still to use your venue as a venue and find separate accommodations for lodging. However, what we’ve done is implemented a multi-step program to make a hotel “buyout” feel more like what people imagine rather than what they’ve historically gotten:
Altogether, our modified offering no longer represents a conventional buyout but rather something that works much better. By allowing the public to effectively subsidize service to your guests, hosts are (perhaps paradoxically) able to deliver an enhanced sense of exclusivity and privilege to their guests. Taking a hungover dip in the pool, playing video games in the parlor, ordering a whole spread – all forgettable in the context of a quiet Airbnb but infinitely memorable in the context of a specific-to-your-event curated venue. We’re here to create memories.
To book Margaret Place and its five guest rooms for the entire weekend or longer, simply find a weekend where all three days are available and then pay for each date altogether. We’ll include all five rooms for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for free. Then, if you want to add the preceding and/or following Monday through Thursday, you can add those for a discounted rate.
Can I book just two events/nights (ie just Friday and Saturday or just Saturday and Sunday)?
Nope, it would be complex for our staff to handle a two-night buyout on the same weekend as a regular event. You’re obviously not obligated to throw an event on any specific night, so if you’re desperate to make it work, you can just get the three-event buyout and skip a night.
Can I book all the hotel rooms for just a single night?
Yes, but only Sundays. For the other nights, you only have the option to add a single room for overnight use (Lookout for Fridays and Connector for Saturdays). We do this so that every couple can have privacy during their event (we never book hotel rooms to third parties during weddings), get a full days use of the Bridal Suite and groom’s room (Downriver for Fridays, Upriver for Saturdays), and, most importantly, not have to check out of their overnight room until late the next day.
That said, most of the time, couples ask about this because they are trying to buy the privacy that we already include for free. You’ll never have hotel guests at the same time as your wedding.
Can my vendors load-in early? Late? Can they store furniture on-site?
In general, buyouts work best if you plan to use mostly our furniture, which is free, custom-designed, locally fabricated, and uniquely suited to our space. We find that the contractual load-in and load-out times are often enough to bring in any additional rentals or items but the buyout structure affords a unique flexibility to have your vendors design a full experience for the weekend.
What if I don’t want to throw an event each night?
There’s nothing requiring you to throw an event each night or requiring that each night’s event has to be a rager. Indeed, with advance notice, you can transfer the included hours between events. So, for instance, you could choose to have a shorter arrival party or rehearsal dinner and then add that time to your reception instead of paying for additional time.
Can I bring in outside catering?
Yes! All of the terms for the actual events are exactly the same as if you were only throwing a single event, and that includes allowing outside caterers.
Recommended Weekend Schedules
Consider adding an additional night of hotel rooms, prior to the big weekend to relax in the courtyard before checking out bars in the neighborhood or walking to French Quarter. Consider rental light-up bikes from our neighbor Arts District Bike Rentals.
Combination Rehearsal/Rehearsal Dinner/Arrival Party
Start your rehearsal at the same time as your ceremony will be on Saturday and then sit down with your wedding party for a catered meal on site. As the formal meal starts to wind down and the toasts are all done, switch to crowd favorite passed or grab-and-go items as a DJ plays chilled out music from the balcony.
Lord over the space and get personal service from the cafe while you’re getting ready, take an excursion to Magazine Street, or get some photos in the parks and neighborhood. Maybe you’ll take a dip in the pool or play games in the parlor. Once the cafe closes, watch the choreography from the balcony as the space is transformed for your wedding.
Ceremony / Second Line / Reception
Time your elegant courtyard ceremony so that you catch the golden hour of light before parading out into the fading light. Return to an entrancingly lit space with the bar, parlor, and dance floor wide open. Move from the sounds of the second line band into your first dances played from the stage.
Depending on your crowd, either walk over to a local bar (Barrel Proof and the Rusty Nail are the perennial favorites – be sure to let them know in advance that y’all are coming) or, more adventurously, hire your own DJ cart roll (Such as the Boogie Buggy) to parade y’all downtown in style bar-hopping with to-go drinks along the way.
Brunch and Hangout
Take full advantage of the pool, parlor, and bar to entertain guests with no effort from you. Run an open tab for guests to order what they’d like without fear of over-ordering from a caterer. Once the cafe closes, the space becomes all yours for contemplative farewells and spending some last few hours poolside with old friends.