Wedding Venues: Indoors or Outdoors?
Some favor the beauty Mother Nature can offer, while others prefer taking matters into their own hands
By Sara Doerrier
August 8, 2011
As soon as you get engaged, you need to act swiftly. Your wedding may be a year away, but if your heart is set on a certain venue in a certain locale, early booking is key. First off, decide on the season of your wedding. Then, ask yourself: Indoors or out?
Both options come with a fair share of advantages and disadvantages. This list of pros and cons can be a useful resource during your venue selection process.
If planning an outdoor fête, the choices are endless. Consider getting married in a lovely backyard garden, urban rooftop, remote beach or mountaintop. Literally, the sky's the limit!
Mother Nature can offer an impressive backdrop for your important day. It can also provide the fresh scent of flowers or pine trees, a warm sun or the sound of soft waves crashing along the shore. The effect: your senses drunk with excitement. Let's face it, the recession has hit us hard and we are all running on a tight budget. An outdoor wedding is budget-friendly. This, however, doesn't mean it's free. Many companies, such as vineyards, hotels and even the government, own venues favored for scenic, open-air nuptials, so you do need to shop around. Some outdoor venues are very affordable; others, such as a backyard, do not require a fee.
An outdoor function also presents a myriad of themes. Inspiration all around. The yellows, browns and reds of fall foliage may excite you. A ceremony in a redwood forest is to die for. A rose garden offers a romantic, Victorian feel. The great outdoors is at our fingertips. Allow Mother Nature to unleash your creativity.
The weather, when it is agreeable, is a godsend. The weather, when it is pouring, windy, frigid or humid, feels like punishment. Our meteorologist may predict one thing, but nothing is certain. If you do plan to wed outdoors, you may have to consider a less ideal back-up location. This may require additional costs, such as putting down a hefty deposit just to secure Plan B. To prepare for wind or rain, talk to the venue staff about having back-up tools available, such as a tent to cover the reception.
Additionally, an outdoor venue may compromise the comfort of your guests. Do you really want your 96-year-old grandmother to struggle under the scorching sun? Humidity and seasonal allergies are also huge irritators. An outdoor ceremony could also attract uninvited guests: Creepy, crawly bugs! If guests are constantly shooing insects away from the salad, or having a hard hearing the vows over the symphony of cicadas, you're bound to hear complaints.
Depending on what package you negotiate, an indoor venue usually offers all the furnitureneeded for your event. The venue may also provide a sound system, catering, a kitchen, stage, projector, screen, lighting equipment, dance floor, restrooms, and full-service staff.
An indoor wedding, for these reasons and more, can simplify the planning process. You can also control and create the lighting, mood and ambiance. The weather will have little effect on the event itself; therefore, the wedding can take place on any given date.
There are many options when it comes to décor. If you like the look Mother Nature provides, but want to skip the hassle of predicting weather conditions, you can create a nature-oriented aesthetic indoors. Or, rent a venue encased in windows; your guests can enjoy a view of mountains or falling snow, while feeling warm and comfortable from their seats.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to hosting your indoor wedding. Consider a historical building, banquet hall or revamped greenhouse.
If an indoor venue provides many amenities and services, expect a high fee. (If you book your wedding on a less popular date, however, you can request an "off season" discount.) Many of these indoor venues require payment for services you may not even want or need. And if you choose separate venues for the ceremony and reception, rental fees will build up quickly, along with the additional transportation and décor costs.
Your indoor venue may also dictate the number of guests you invite. You want people to move around freely and comfortably. If guests are crammed into a small space, the reception will feel uncomfortable, especially for the older folks. The event will feel poorly planned. But if you don't invite enough people to fill up a large space, your wedding will look poorly attended.
The most significant drawbacks to hosting an indoor event involve booking and availability. Many popular sites are booked years in advance and require a deposit. You might not always get the indoor venue you want.