The Great Debate: Do I Want to Say ‘I Do’ Outside or Indoors?

The pros and cons between outdoor and indoor wedding ceremonies

By: Jessi Minneci


When it comes to planning a wedding, one of the biggest decisions a bride and groom have to make is where their ceremony will take place. Will you opt for a traditional, in-church or chapel ceremony? Do you fantasize about you and your honey saying ‘I do’ outside, among the vines of a rustic winery? Have you considered exchanging vows indoors… but not exactly in a church, temple, or other religious establishment? 

Regardless of which venue you and your boo wind up choosing, either setting can be turned into your dream wedding atmosphere. Still, there are pros and cons to consider with each ceremony setting option. 

Our first piece of advice is to take your time weighing all of your options – this isn’t a split decision type thing, after all! Answering the title question will help you eliminate many of your options, getting you that much closer to finding the perfect spot to celebrate your “I dos.” So let’s start by breaking down each atmosphere:

Indoor Weddings

Some brides and grooms to be, especially if they were raised religiously, may view getting married inside a house of worship as a no-brainer. But if you're not particularly religious, or never really saw yourself as a ballroom bride, choosing an indoor celebration might not come as naturally to you. Consider these pros and cons to help get a clearer picture of what will work for you: 


PRO: No weather worries (and thank goodness for air conditioning)

For reasons that are pretty obvious, one of the biggest plusses of an indoor wedding is that there’s a lot LESS stress when it comes to unpredictable weather. We understand – most people don’t want to get married during a thrashing thunderstorm (so much potential extra mess to worry about for the couple and their guests... ugh!) regardless of whether the ceremony is out or indoors – but that thunderstorm would be a LOT more manageable if the wedding is taking place inside. 

And aside from the rain, clouds, wind and blazing sun are also non-issues, which equals a load off of the couple’s mind. Imagine your guests sitting in the sweltering sun during nuptials? Nobody’s got time for that!! With an indoor ceremony (AKA regulated temperature), you can walk down the aisle rest assured that everyone is sitting comfortable. 


PRO: Amazing design opportunities

With an indoor venue, 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.  And while this is also somewhat weather-related, you can relax knowing that the the wind won’t knock down your hand-painted centerpieces and bugs won’t attack your hors d'oeuvre table.  Chords – for the DJ/band, lighting, etc. will also be much less of a concern in an indoor venue due to the availability of outlets. 

When you envision loads of other small and fragile details, indoor wedding venues may look more and more like the best bet.


PRO: Amp up the intimacy factor

With your guests confined by the walls and restrictions of the indoor venue, your festivities will feel a bit more cozy and intimate. Plus, you don't need to worry about external distractions (like sirens, car horns, and local critters) interrupting your ceremony.


CON: Dealing with itty-bitty space restrictions

Depending on the size of you indoor wedding venue, this may not actually be an issue. However, every indoor space has a maximum capacity, and that is definitely something to consider when it comes to the amount of guests you plan to host, the number of tables you will need to seat your guests comfortably during the wedding reception, and more. 

The maximum capacity of a venue 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. IF space is a worrisome factor, you may want to consider hosting a cocktail reception as opposed to a sit-down dinner.


CON: Pricey décor options

 Filling blank, white walls and indoor spaces with décor such as lights, candles, and flowers has the potential of coming with a pretty hefty price tag. 

When it comes to doing-up an indoor space for your wedding ceremony and reception, plan accordingly, so you can design the wedding of your dreams while adhering to your budget. 

Outdoor Weddings

As we mentioned in the intro, you may be the bride that daydreams of saying ‘I do’ with ocean waves breaking in the backdrop or swapping vows amid another breathtaking landscape. You’re the perfect candidate for an outdoor wedding! But before you rent out the winery field, consider the logistics of an outdoor wedding venue:


PRO: Breathtaking backdrops            

On that clear, starry night, or that colorful, autumn afternoon, there isn’t much that compares to an outdoor wedding reception. For all that extra stress over the pending weather report, a wedding day with mild yet beautiful weather is worth every worry in the long run.  

Furthermore, you simply can’t beat or recreate the beautiful wedding opts and photographs that can be captured outside. 

Couples that choose outdoor weddings also save on design costs, since the scenery provides visual interest without much added décor.


PRO: Less is more

Since we brought up saving money on décor, we might as well drive that point home. Most likely, you’ll be able to really ease up on your décor budget when planning an outdoor wedding.  Depending on your decided wedding venue, the natural beauty suffices when it comes to creating that desired magical atmosphere.


PRO: Outdoors = family friendly

Can you picture the sugar-hyped children at your wedding weaving in and out of squeezed-close tables and chairs and all around the dance floor? We can, and we see a potential head ache and hazard!

This isn’t necessarily the case when you decide to head outside with your wedding. An outdoor setting gives children space to run around. You may even want to consider breaking out some lawn games – something exclusively available to an outdoor setting – to keep the little ones (and adults!) occupied.  


CON: Things could get buggy

Naturally, outdoor weddings can only take place during the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately, this is also when creepy crawlies like bees, mosquitos, and flies are most abundant in nature.

We hate to say it, but bugs will most likely crash your outdoor wedding ceremony, buzzing around guests, flower arrangements, and, of course, the food table (we’re just warning you!). Make preparations to ensure that guests aren't bothered by the little pests. You may want to invest in mosquito nets if you are using a tent, or accessorize your venue with citronella candles. 


CON: Where is everyone going to pee?

Sure, your outdoor venue will most likely have restrooms nearby, but those facilities might be located in a building that isa slight walk from the ceremony/reception setup.  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 – especially when you have elderly or handicapped guests attending the festivities.


CON: There’s a price for comfort

When hosting outdoors, it is pretty much crucial to provide a tent. It adds protection (even during the best of weather conditions) and assures a maximum comfort level for your guests, which is extremely important. 

You may also want to consider that there must be a floor brought in to create a flat and sturdy surface for guests to walk upon. This will prevent the dreaded sinking of heels in grass. Keep in mind that this definitely adds a large cost, which should be taken into consideration when looking at your outdoor wedding venue budget.

Both indoor and outdoor wedding venues can be beautiful, breathtaking, and perfect – the decision ultimately comes down to the style and desires of the bride and groom. 

Your wedding should come but once in a lifetime. No matter if the ceremony and reception end up being held outside or in, let your big day be one filled with happiness and pure joy.

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