“Will we have an indoor or outdoor wedding?” — it’s one of the biggest questions engaged couples consider as they’re venue hunting. Of course, depending on the time of year and location, the answer looks different for everyone. But if you’re struggling to decide, there are a handful of things you’ll want to consider!
Not sure how to decide? We sat down with a group of industry experts to ask them what to think about before signing on any dotted lines – here’s what they had to say.
Consider your comfort
Though an outdoor wedding can come with beautiful scenery, it can also come with plenty of troublesome natural elements. Heat, precipitation, and bugs are all things to acknowledge before deciding where you’ll tie the knot.
“An honest survey of your comfort with uncertainty should inform whether you have an outdoor wedding,” notes Maureen Cotton, coach and officiant at The Soulful Wedding. “If you love nature and can be flexible during such a highly anticipated day, then go for the outdoors! If the uncertainty of ceremony location or temperature is anxiety-provoking, then find an indoor space you love.”
Always have a plan B
A day full of sunshine is the dream, but unfortunately, it’s not always the reality. And that’s okay! If you’re leaning towards an outdoor wedding, talk to your venue about an inclement weather plan.
Jen Ganson, owner and lead planner at A Fresh Event, emphasizes, “You have to have a legitimate plan in place to ensure that your event will go on even when faced with a torrential downpour, extreme heat, etc. When touring venues with outside options, be sure to talk through the backup plans before signing a contract.”
Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss, agrees, stating, “Backup plans may add some unexpected costs, so be sure to budget for those early on. Plan for the worst and hope for the best!”
Research local ordinances
The last thing you want is to plan for an all-night outdoor party, only to find that you’ll need to cut things short due to local laws. Make sure you’re up to date on any curfews in place, and ask your venue how they typically approach these.
“In most of the world, the outside curfew for music is 10 PM, at which time you have to stop the action and take it elsewhere,” says Cathy O’Connell of COJ Events. “That can be perfectly fine and fun as you move to a new after-party venue, but it might not be the way you want your party to flow.”
Keep vendors in mind
A tent in the middle of a field provides a nice setting, but it might not come with a handful of essentials that an indoor venue provides – think electricity, restrooms, and other comforts your guests will expect. Also, keep in mind that your vendors will need certain elements to fulfill their end of the contract.
Meredith Ryncarz, owner of Meredith Ryncarz Photography, shares, “No matter if the wedding is inside or out, certain vendors will need access to facilities to perform their jobs. Catering must have access to gas and electricity for cooking. The florist needs a cooler area to place their florals so they won’t die before your ceremony. If the facilities are far away or just not accessible from the outside, this could alter your decision of where to have your wedding and reception.”
Think about the view
When you picture your big day, what comes to mind? Keeping your vision at the forefront is an excellent way to guide your decisions. Think about your photos and the aesthetic you hope to create.
“Consider the view you want for your ceremony,” recommends Jennifer Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. “Do you want something next to the water, overlooking the mountains, or something more architectural with amazing natural lighting? Do you want an urban or country setting? These factors all go back to the decisions on a venue that helps you think both ways.”
Blend them together
If you simply can’t decide, know that having both an indoor and outdoor wedding is possible! Opt for a venue that offers both, allowing you to create a day that combines the best of both settings.
Patricha Pike, venue manager and event planner at Meadows Event Center, advises, “Consider blending an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour with an indoor reception. The ceremony takes place with a stunning, natural background, and guests can enjoy the good weather during drinks. Then everyone can dine in climate-controlled comfort. And if it’s a nice night, take the dancing out to the patio.”
No matter what you decide, remember that this day is about you, your partner, and the love you share. Regardless of where you celebrate, it’s sure to be a party your guests won’t soon forget!
Image #1- Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo
Planning and Design: Carrie Darling Events
Image #2- Photographer: Jenny Demarco
Planning: Rocket Science Events
Image #3- Photography: Pharris Photos
Image #4-Photography: Cadence & Eli
Planning: Rocket Science Events
About the Author:
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.