Wedding Venue Decisions

Couple praying holding hands during ceremony at their wedding venue

Things to Consider When Picking A Wedding Venue

Choosing a wedding venue is one of THE most important decisions you have to make when it comes to your big day. There are so many factors to consider when it comes to picking a place to host your nuptials. The biggest—outdoor or indoor? Lots of venues offer a combination of both options. Picking a venue where you can enjoy the benefits of both indoor AND outdoor spaces is ideal, but, if you can only swing one, let’s break down the pros and cons. 

Venue Space

Outdoor : Outdoor spaces offer a blank canvas! Hosting outside gives you the freedom to do just about anything! That’s a serious pro! But, you will want to think about how you can best accommodate guests. Where will you set up seating? What kind of seats will work best with the climate/ground? Is there a space for you to get ready? Or take detail shots of your dress and shoes? If not, you might want to think about booking a hotel room nearby to get all the pictures you need before the ceremony.

Indoor : If you choose to host indoors, space is limited. It can get a bit tricky to find a place that matches your own personal style AND the number on your guest list. Even if you find a place you like the look of, it may not have enough room for all of your needs. Think about where guests will hang out during transition time between ceremony and reception. Think about where you will take family, bridal party, and couple photos. One pro of having an indoor venue is that most will have everything you need for your ceremony and reception—tables, chairs, a dance floor.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider a venue;

– Is there enough room for all of your guests to fit comfortably at tables (think about whether circular or rectangular will work best) and still have room to dance?

-While looking at the ceremony site think about the following: Will your bridal party be able to stand next to you at the altar? Is there enough room? Will you be squished into a small gazebo making it difficult for guests to see you?

– Is there anything that might obstruct the view of you and your partner during the ceremony, or your grand entrance into the reception? 

– Are there bathrooms easily accessible for guests? Does the venue cater to elderly or handicapped guests?

– Bridal Suite : Is there a large mirror so you can get a full view of your dress? Is there a private restroom? Are there enough seats/mirrors for you and your bridesmaids to get ready? Is there an area to hide everyone’s bags/belongings for pictures?

Couple holding hands during ceremony at their wedding venue
Couple dancing inside their wedding venue at the wedding reception


Outdoor : Those gorgeous outdoors views always come with a chance of rain. Before you decide on hosting outside make sure you consider how all weather circumstances might affect your big day. Will there be dry heat? Pick a dress that’s light and breathable. Humid? Make sure to prepare for the sweaty glow. Strong winds? Check to make sure your veil is attached securely so it doesn’t get snatched away. Weather is always unpredictable, but constantly checking the forecast the week of can help with planning. And always (ALWAYS!) have a plan B in place just in case. Also, keep in mind how your back option might fit within your budget.

It’s a great idea to let out-of-state guests know about typical weather patterns. That way, they can know what to pack to stay comfortable. Depending on the area and season, there might be uninvited critters that greet your guests. So, it may also be a good idea to provide things like bug spray for guests if you are anticipating any creepy crawly crashers.

Another pro for hosting outside is an open area for lawn games! Not to mention it’s very kid friendly. Littles can roam around and have plenty of space to play games to keep entertained!

Indoor : Choosing an indoor venue gives you much more control over the unpredictable elements. It’s a huge pro to not have to worry about coming up with an alternate plan.


Outdoor : Lighting is everything when it comes to your venue. It is the key to having beautiful photos of your big day. Keeping that in mind, NOTHING beats natural lighting! As a wedding photographer, I know how to adjust in all lighting situations, but all professionals would agree that natural lighting is a blessing. Outdoor spaces come chalked full of it.

Indoor : Every indoor space comes with artificial lighting—this means dim and dark areas. If you can find an indoor venue with lots of natural light, that is SUPER beneficial for photos. Large windows that bring in sunlight are wonderful for a scenic ceremony—especially if the windows come with a view! When you are deciding where to place your altar, keep in mind that the light coming in may create a flashy effect, drowning out the window view in pictures. It will light you up, but not the incredible view behind you (check out what I mean below).  As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen it all. No matter what the lighting situation is, I can turn out some amazing pictures of your big day. Ask to see a gallery here! It might help you with your venue decision!

Venue Restrictions

Outdoor : When it comes to booking the great outdoors, you’ll need to ask about permits and restrictions. You’ll have to do your research on this. Not all national or state  parks require  a permit, so you will have to check. And some permits have limits, depending on the amount of people attending your event, or the types of equipment you are bringing in. If you choose an outdoor venue, make sure you are on top of checking permit rules and restrictions beforehand. It’s always better to check earlier rather than later, especially because some permits take time to process, and some you’ll need to pay in advance. 

Though the complications of permits could count as a con for an outdoor space, when it comes to decor, you’ll have it easier. A gorgeous celebration on the beach, or in a lush green garden counts as a serious pro! You don’t need to add much when you are surrounded by natural beauty. If you do choose to add some decorative elements, be careful about what you choose to work with. Pieces have been known to fall over if they are too large, or aren’t held down/secured properly.

Indoor : Most indoor venues have outlets, restrooms, and kitchen facilities! This is a huge pro—it means you won’t have to worry about searching for any!

However, there can be decor restrictions. If the space is already decorated, then in most cases, they won’t let you alter the decorations. Many venues have rules against poking holes in the walls too, which might mean you can’t hang stringing lights. A lot of places don’t allow candles either because of fire hazards. Make sure you check with the venue about their decor restrictions beforehand. Express your vision, and maybe they can help you bring it to life! You don’t want any surprises, so always be sure to check in first—nothing worse than spending money on a venue that can’t live up to your expectations.

Couple praying holding hands during ceremony at their wedding venue
Couple praying holding hands during ceremony at their wedding venue


Outdoor : Choosing an outdoor space might mean rethinking some of your food—especially if it will be out in the heat during summer months. Buttercream treats and cake might melt in the sun! Try fondant instead, or think about alternative ways of cooling outdoors.

Indoor : Climate-controlled spaces are perfect for food! Everything can be kept cool and safe. You should feel confident that not only your cake will survive, but that you can leave out the charcuterie table too!


Outdoor : Depending on the space, you may need to bring in rentals. The more private and remote the location, the more you’ll need to bring in. This might include everything from an archway, tables, linens, chairs, silverware, and flatware. Larger items (for more secluded areas) might include a sound system, portable restrooms, and generators. 

Indoor : Most indoor venues have their own chairs, tables, and even linens. You probably won’t have to rent anything, which is a huge pro! They often even have their own decor which will save you time and money with decorating.

Bridal party celebrating and cheering at their wedding venue

Decisions, Decisions…

Picking a venue is one of the toughest decisions you have to make for your wedding. Weighing the pros and cons of indoor and outdoor spaces will help you choose the option that best fits your vision! There is a lot to consider, but always remember that it’s your day. So, do it your way. Finding that perfect venue is something you will never regret!

Looking for someone to help you all along the way with your wedding? Let’s chat!

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