The Pros and Cons of Choosing and Outdoor Wedding Venue

We sat down with Annie McLeod, Event Coordinator at Red Butte Garden, to chat with her about the pros and cons of renting an outdoor wedding venue. Because Utah is such a beautiful state, it provides newly engaged couples with a lot of gorgeous outdoor options for their wedding. Although outdoor venues can bring so much beauty and happiness to a wedding, it can also be very unpredictable. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.

First, the pros.

So, let’s start with the positives. I think we can all agree that there are so many pros about outdoor venues, which is why they are so popular. Choosing any wedding venue can be a very stressful thing to do with many factors to consider. According to Annie, people are often attracted to outdoor venues because:


There is a larger variety of atmospheres with outdoor venues.

Mountains, gardens, courtyards, a ranch… you name it, Utah has it. We are so lucky to live in a state that can offer such a variety of outdoor atmospheres when it comes to wedding venues. Each one is so unique and offers something that you can’t achieve with an indoor venue. Annie specifically mentioned plants and how they tend to make a space more inviting. Because they are often already a part of an outdoor setting, it is already very lively before adding any extra decorations.


There is more flexibility with how you use the space of outdoor venues.

Because of the different atmospheres you get with an outdoor venue, you are also able to be more flexible with how you use the space. Something that starts out as a spot for the ceremony can later transition into a photo area, cocktail hour space, and even a dance floor. Throughout the duration of the event you can “change the definition of the space”, according to Annie. Even if you are using the same spot for many different purposes, outdoor venues are very adaptable and can take on these new roles while still feeling fresh and new.


You often need less decorations with outdoor venues.

As mentioned above, outdoor venues already have interesting aspects that are already there. Plants, surrounding structures, the sky, and other aspects of nature provide a beautiful background that you could not achieve otherwise. Flowers are a classic element of wedding decor that people often pay a lot of additional money for. But, if you are already outside, there is really no need.


Outdoor venues provide unique guest experiences.

There is always something of interest and beauty to see in nature. These settings can bring more of an appreciation to people who don’t normally spend a lot of time outside. Most venues allow this to be achieved without a lot of extra work from the client.


Outdoor venues are beautiful backdrops for all of your photos.

Today it seems like every engaged couple is going outside for at least one photoshoot. Whether that is for their engagements, bridal photos, or their day-of wedding photos, outdoor photography sessions are very popular and all over the wedding magazines. This makes outdoor destinations quite the hot-commodity, and then tend to book up quickly.

Now, onto the cons.


The weather can be unpredictable.

This one is an obvious answer, but we wanted to know more about how you can handle the unpredictability of weather, and what questions you need to ask up front. When you choose an outdoor venue, we assume you do that because you want it outside. Annie suggested picking an outdoor venue that, 1. Has a backup plan provided (ideally, at no additional cost), and 2. That you like the backup plan almost as much as the outdoor option. Annie also suggests that you ask the venue what their rules are surrounding tents and space heaters. Understanding and accepting that the weather is out of your and the venues control will save you stress and frustration down the road.


You might have some unexpected wildlife make an appearance.

For some couples, this might not be a con. But, for those of us who do not love snakes and bugs, it is definitely something to consider, depending on where your outdoor area is located. In Annie’s opinion, it is most important to consider this con in regards to catering. Think about where you are having the food be served, and whether or not this is creating easy access for bees, flies, and other little creatures. Always ask the venue coordinators how they handle situations like this.


Outdoor venues might have more policies and restrictions on decorations.

This con relates back to one of the pros about not needing so much extra decor. In Annie’s experience, outdoor venues might have restrictions on things like open flames, sparklers, confetti, etc. for obvious reasons. But, one might choose to look as this is a pro because it automatically eliminates some things that could save you time and money. Annie suggest looking at outdoor venues for what they are, and focusing on what is already there, rather than what you can and can’t bring in.

Maybe it’s a bias, but Annie believes that if you truly want to enjoy your outdoor venue, look at each con as a pro instead. She states that “there is always going to be something out of your control [with weddings]”, so don’t dwell on the negatives. After all, as long as someone gets married, we’d call it a successful day.


So, we asked Annie to answer our initial question: are outdoor venues worth it? Her answer.... YES! Thanks for sharing your experiences and information with us, Annie! We had a blast chatting with you


Let us know your favorite outdoor wedding venues in the comments below!


See you soon,

Kim and Nat

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