Location, location, location.
We’ve heard it all before. When it comes to planning an event, you’re faced with endless decisions, but one of the most important and impactful decisions you can make is choosing the venue. Whether you’re planning for a wedding, a conference, or an expo, the choice of venue has the potential to make or break your event.
One of the biggest factors to take into consideration when looking at venues is whether your event is going to take place indoors or outdoors. In the age of covid-19, these conversations continue to grow in importance.
Deciding whether your event will be indoors, outdoors, or a mixture of both can be an overwhelming process. Your venue needs to align with your theme, goals, the size of your event, and the needs of your guests.
Both indoor and outdoor venues have their benefits and drawbacks, as well as extra things to take into consideration. To help you make the best decision for your event, we’re diving into the pros and cons of each!
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Pros of Outdoor Events
1. Nice Weather
Perhaps the greatest benefit to hosting an event outdoors is being able to use the weather to your advantage. Nice weather, that is. Depending on the season and the region you’re in, weather conditions might provide the ideal temperature for a memorable event.
2. Covid Safety
As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we are still very much in a pandemic. Pandemic restrictions vary by region and can be subject to change depending on case numbers or other factors. It’s a real possibility that you might book an indoor venue six months out, only for restrictions to require limiting capacity for indoor events or limiting indoor events altogether.
It’s important to mention that despite outdoor venues allowing for better covid-19 risk mitigation, your event is only as safe as you and your attendees adhere to protocol. While hosting an event outdoors is definitely safer than hosting one indoors, social distancing and other mitigation protocols such as mask wearing, handwashing stations, and ample amounts of hand sanitizer can also help keep staff and attendees safe.
In addition to taking advantage of great weather, an outdoor venue can provide a type of ambiance that just isn’t possible with indoor venues. Many outdoor locations provide breathtaking views, which can be the ideal backdrop.
4. Natural Light
Depending on the time of your event, an outdoor venue can provide stunning natural light (your event photographer’s dream!). If you’re hosting an all-day event, you’ll be able to take advantage of afternoon sun, golden hour, and sunset.
Side note: When looking at venues (indoor or outdoor), it’s a good idea to try and see the venue from your photographer’s point of view, if you’re going to have one.
Cons of Outdoor Venues
1. Bad Weather
Unfortunately, the biggest pro of outdoor venues can also be its biggest con. You can book a venue in spring or summer in a normally dry area, but no one can truly predict the weather, especially day of. It’s always smart to have contingency plans, as well as outdoor structures and amenities such as tents, heaters, fans, etc. Ask the venue if they have their own rain or weather plan too.
2. Lack of Facilities and Resources
Depending on the venue, an outdoor location may be lacking in accessible facilities such as restrooms. If there are no restrooms or if they seem out of reach, you may need to rent portable restrooms.
If your event requires lighting, sound equipment, or any other electrical needs, you’ll need to address the venue’s ability to supply power. You may need to supplement with an alternate power supply.
Music and high energy are a big part of many events. Be sure to check and see if there are any local noise ordinances, and if amplified music is allowed to be played at the venue. Additionally, if your venue is located near a busy street or other heavily trafficked area, you and your attendees can expect some outside noise to be present.
Pros of Indoor Venues
“Comfort” may be listed as one pro, but this one’s extremely multifaceted.
For starters, shelter from extreme heat, sun exposure, rain, snow, insects, and more is a major plus. Your attendees can spend less time trying to keep their heads covered and more time exploring your event. Central heating and cooling also go a long way in sustaining the comfort of your guests. In addition, you likely have control over the temperature should you need to make adjustments.
Securing an indoor event can often be easier than securing an outdoor one. An indoor facility allows you to close and lock doors when needed. There are also more defined perimeters and more easily managed entrances and exits. This can be especially helpful if you have any high-profile guests in attendance or can make it easier to check for admission.
At the very least, your indoor facility will likely have a power supply you can hook up to (not always, so be sure to check in with them). An indoor venue is also more likely to have closer bathrooms, multiple rooms, and amenities like a dance floor.
Cons of Indoor Venues
1. Covid Safety
Generally speaking, with the pandemic going on (and germs in general), it’s much safer to host an event outside than indoors. That doesn’t mean an indoor event will be automatically unsafe, however. With mitigation protocols such as limiting capacity, mask wearing, social distancing, and hand sanitizer dispensers (just to name a few), you can still protect your attendees.
2. Higher Demand
There’s often a higher demand for indoor venues, especially in colder months. Understandably, no one wants to deal with unpredictable weather. Booking a venue at least six to nine months in advanced can help avoid this.
Every indoor venue has a maximum capacity in accordance with the fire code (among other things). These capacities may vary depending on whether your guests will be seated or mingling for the duration of the event. Depending on the size of your event and the number of attendees expected, you’ll have to find a location that can accommodate your number of guests.
- Don’t forget about accessibility! Everyone attending your event should be able to access the venue and navigate it without too much issue, including your disabled guests or guests with any other special needs.
- It’s not always either or! Many venues offer hybrid options, such as offering up both a reception hall and a patio for cocktail hour. Depending on the venue, you can also consider elements such as vendor stalls and custom outdoor builds.
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