How to decide on an indoor or outdoor wedding

June 21, 2017. Category: advice, tips, venue, wedding planner, wedding tips, weddings

One of the hardest decisions a couple has to make while planning their wedding is the venue. Some couples really love the idea of having part of their celebration outdoors, but in the DC area, that can be tricky.

For some, the thought of not having an outdoor ceremony and/or tented reception is heartbreaking, and for others the risk of an outdoor soirée seems too stressful. If you are a couple who is still going back and forth, we have put together a list of Pros and Cons for both which we hope will make the the decision and planning process a little bit easier.

Indoor Wedding

If you have always dreamed of having your wedding in a gorgeous ballroom or at an iconic historic location, such as a museum, having an indoor wedding is the perfect choice for you. However, if you are still on the fence below are some Pros and Cons to an indoor wedding that might help sway your decision.

Pro: Weather is not a concern – With an indoor wedding, there is no need to worry about the weather. It doesn’t matter if it there is an unexpected down pour that day or if it is unseasonably warm or cold, the weather will not be an issue. Also, your guests will not have a problem packing the dance floor with good air conditioning.

Photography: Jodi and Kurt  Floral: Edge Floral    Venue: The Hay-Adams

Con: Windows and natural light – If you find a venue with windows, this is not an issue, but many ballrooms are built on the lower level of a hotel or in interior rooms of a museum and do not have any natural light.  This can be an issue if you want light, dreamy photos or hire a photographer who only shoots in real film.

Photography: Abby Jiu   Floral: Amaryllis  Venue: Decatur House

Pro: Endless décor options – Depending on the space, most if not all indoor venues will allow you to manipulate the space in some way or another, especially if you have selected a venue that has blank walls which will provide the perfect backdrop to customizing your wedding.

Photography: Sam Hurd   Floral: Southern Blooms

 Venue: Pippin Hill Farm &  Vineyards

Con: Unexpected décor costs – While having a blank space is very appealing and exciting, this can also get very expensive very quickly. As you may have to consider all the elements that will be needed to bring your vision to life from lighting to flowers to draping to all the rentals. Just make sure that when you are looking at the space, you are also adhering to your budget.

Photography: Abby Jiu     Floral: Amaryllis    Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

Pro: Intimate Dinner Party – With all of your guests in one room, depending on the size of your event, indoor receptions can often feel like an intimate dinner party.

Photography: Abby Jiu    Floral: Amaryllis

Venue: National Museum of Women in The Arts

Outdoor Weddings

Have you always envisioned yourself getting married at your parents house or sitting in a lush garden under a tent surrounded by your nearest and dearest? If so, then an outdoor wedding is for you. However, one of the biggest challenges with an outdoor wedding is the weather. An outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception, though beautiful and often breathtaking, can sometimes be logistically a bit more challenging, especially if the weather does not corporate. If you are up for the challenge or still find yourself on the fence here are some Pros and Cons to an outdoor wedding that might help you decide.

Pro: Beautiful scenery and backdrop – Outdoor weddings offer beautiful settings for a wedding and as a result, couples that decide on an outdoor soirée often save on design costs. Since the scenery is so lovely you really don’t need to add too many additional decor elements.

Photography: Eric Kelley     Venue: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Con: High rental costs – Most outdoor wedding venues will need you to be tented, which can be expensive depending on the type of tent to want. Also be prepared to budget for items you may not necessarily have thought of, such as portable restrooms, flooring, a dance floor, tables, chairs, and lighting.

Photography: Kate Headley    Venue: Private Estate

Pro: A bit more relaxed atmosphere for your guests – An outdoor venue is also a great option for cocktail hour. Your guests can enjoy cocktails on the lawn while also playing lawn games or and taking in the view. Also, if you are allowing guests to bring their children, an outdoor wedding allows children space to run around.

Photography: Jen Fariello

Con: Unknown Weather – If you decide to have part or all of your celebration outdoors, be sure to have a plan B for bad weather.  There is no way to know how hot, cold, rainy or windy it might be.  If you don’t have a back up plan that you love (tent/interior space), you will make yourself crazy in the lead up to your wedding checking the weather.

Pro Tip: Most importantly, try to remember that no matter what location or venue you decided on be it indoor or outdoor, your wedding day will be beautiful and one of the best days of your life. Once you have logistically come up with the plan, all the other pieces will fall into place. Enjoy it – it’s your wedding day after all!

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