Deciding between an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception and a wedding ceremony or reception held indoors?
Regardless of which you both choose; both types one can be turned into your dream wedding, though there are pros and cons to either situation.
You should be careful to weigh all of your wedding venue options, thinning them down as you go. Answering the title question will help you reduce many of your venue options, getting you both that much closer to finding the perfect spot to celebrate your “I dos.”
To help you with your decision, we have assembled a positives and negatives list that better lays out the choice between an indoor wedding and an outdoor wedding.
The Indoor Wedding Venue
No Weather Issues: One of the biggest pluses to an indoor wedding is that there is no stress or worry over unpredictable weather. Rain is not an issue, neither is snow and clouds, wind and blazing sun are all non-issues, which equals a load off of the couple’s mind. Granted, weather will play a small role in wedding photos and perhaps transportation, but weather at an outdoor reception is such a huge worry—especially for brides—that indoor weddings are often chosen because of this reduced risk factor alone.
Plenty of Décor Options: There are little to no restrictions—sans any fire hazards or code violations—that would restrict you from decorating your indoor venue just the way you want. Again, this is somewhat weather-related, but the wind won’t knock down your hand-painted centerpieces and bugs won’t attack your giant heart cookie. When you envision loads of other small and fragile details, an indoor wedding is sometimes the safest bet.
Temperature Control: Is the groom notoriously warm, even in the cooler months? Is Grandma always cold, even in the summertime? When you’re outdoors, there is little you can do about temperatures, except to provide hand fans to guests and/or encourage them to bring sweaters. You control the temperature from the beginning when you’re hosting an indoor wedding reception. Plus, you can seat your guests under vents or next to fans depending on their affinity for getting chilly or overheated.
Space Constraints: This will always be a factor for indoor venues. Depending on the size of your wedding, this may not be an issue for you. Every indoor venue has a maximum capacity, though it will vary slightly if you’re having a cocktail reception or a seated dinner. This number is non-negotiable, as per fire codes and other safety restrictions, and must be taken into account before booking (or even looking at) indoor venues.
Location Issues: Most indoor venues have tried to address location issues for larger events such as weddings, but, especially here in Houston, there are so many old, charming buildings that just don’t have the most convenient parking, delivery ramps, docks, etc. This can prove challenging for vendors trying to load in equipment and décor for your wedding, but that isn’t necessarily your concern. Vendors are professionals, many of which deal with logistical challenges every day. They will be the ones to figure out this “con” for you.
The Outdoor Wedding Venue
Atmosphere: On that perfect, clear, starry night, there isn’t much that can compare to a beautiful outdoor wedding reception. Outdoors is truly where the majority of our most breathtaking receptions have taken place. For all that extra stress over the pending weather report, a night like this is worth every worry in the long run. You simply can’t recreate that kind of beauty indoors.
Less is More: Often times you can ease up on the décor budget when planning an outdoor wedding. Depending on your venue, the natural beauty of the landscape and gardens is more than enough to create that desired magical atmosphere.
Best of Both Worlds: There are many venues that offer the beauty of an outdoor wedding or reception and the refuge of a roof and four walls. Though the indoor space associated with an outdoor venue isn’t typically large enough to host your entire event inside, it would offer shelter to Grandma when she gets cold or a quiet, semi-private place to sit and catch up with an old friend from college during the reception. Often times, there is some shelter on the property that might include a small greenhouse or boathouse that isn’t big enough for more than a few people. But again, the spontaneity of talking a stroll down to the boat house or to visit the greenhouse garden is entertainment enough for many guests in need of a break from the dance floor. It all adds to the charm of your guests’ wedding experience.
Costs: There are a few extra costs that you must consider when hosting your wedding outdoors. If your outdoor location does not include a tented area, for example, we recommend you rent one for your reception to cover the tables and dance floor—both of which you might also have to rent separately. But this could be less cost if your tent is $3000 and your inside option is over $5000. Tent reception can me magical when done at an outside venue.
Restrooms: Sure, outdoor weddings and receptions will have restrooms nearby, but those facilities might be located in a building that is a slight walk from the party. For many, this is a non-issue, but for those few outdoor venues with a hike to the main building, this is enough of a concern to ask about while visiting each site.
Wildlife: Ok, maybe the term “wildlife” insinuates wild animals crashing the party, but that’s not exactly what we mean. The outdoor wedding reception—and this is especially sensitive to the temperature, proximity to water and time of year—will occasionally have to deal with a bug situation. Mosquitos are the most common “wildlife” to show up uninvited to an outdoor wedding. If you have a game plan for those little creatures, or they’re not an issue at your venue, then this might not be a con to consider after all.
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