How to Choose: Indoor Venues vs Outdoor Venues in Maryland
Your event is your big moment – hosting, celebrating, toasting, surrounded by friends, coworkers, families, and honored guests. In order for your event to go off without a hitch, you need to nail down large decisions like where your event going to be hosted and whether this will be an indoor or outdoor celebration.
Our indoor-outdoor event venue in Maryland has hosted weddings, corporate events, business celebrations, and family reunions. Our event planner has helped many clients figure out if an indoor or outdoor event is right for them – or even if hybrid is the best way to go.
Dive into the 7 questions we ask all of our clients to help them choose between an indoor or outdoor event venue. Consider your guest list, activities, cause for the event, timing, and more. We make it easy to decide, plan, and host.
Plus, get our bonus indoor vs outdoor event venue infographic that you can keep handy for all your upcoming events — find it at the bottom of our article for easy bookmarking.
7 Questions to Determine Indoor vs Outdoor Event Venue
1) How big is your event going to be?
First things first – how many guests are coming and how extravagant is your event going to be? Your event venue space will be largely determined by how many people you need to host and how many activities you need to accommodate for.
Indoor venues vary from small intimate gatherings to large venue halls that can fit hundreds of people. However, as your guest list scales up, so will your budget for an indoor venue. Outdoor venues, however, are more budget-friendly for larger guest counts in most circumstances.
Consider if you need sitting room, standing room, or a combination for your event. Take into account if this is going to require a lot of moving around or if everyone will be mainly stationary. Look at your budget to see if you can afford an indoor venue hall for all that you need or if an outdoor event venue will provide more options at a lower cost.
2) What time of the year is your event being held?
When looking at event venues in Maryland, considering the time of year your event is being held is critical for indoor venues vs outdoor venues. The weather in Maryland can fluctuate greatly, even in predictable seasons, so it’s important to take into account weather, temperature, and feasibility of backup plans.
In winter, you may need to spring for outdoor heaters or choose a venue with fire pits if you go with an outdoor event. In summer, outdoor venues in Maryland may be too hot under the sun and in the humidity, so you’ll have to consider additional tent or coverage rentals plus the possibility of fans to beat the heat. Indoor venues are a better option for seasons with extreme temperatures.
Spring and Fall, however, can be a beautiful time of year to host an outdoor event. You get the natural backdrop of blooming flowers and changing leaves plus the cool breeze and natural atmosphere. To avoid inclement weather, have tent rentals on hand and talk to your venue coordinator about their indoor-outdoor options in case of rain or wind.
With the right planning, you can optimize all of the benefits of an outdoor event in any season, but indoor event venues will offer less risk with less planning.
3) Is this a daytime or nighttime celebration?
Indoor venues vs outdoor venues offer a lot of different pros and cons based on when your event is being held throughout the day.
Nighttime events may be more suited to indoor events, as you don’t need to worry about noise ordinances or electrical hook-ups for sound, lights, and other necessities. Depending on the vibe or theme of your outdoor event, however, under the stars or by a fire pit could be a very alluring atmosphere for your guests.
Daytime events are best suited to outdoor event venues, where you can take advantage of the sunshine and outdoor activities. If you are considering an indoor event, think about windows to let in natural light.
4) What activities will you host at your event?
Just as with your guest count, knowing how much space or equipment you need for activities is going to influence what event venue you select.
Bands, speakers, and dance events will benefit greatly from an indoor event venue, where you have access to a lot of electrical outlets, coverage, and stages. However, if you are hosting multiple events at once – multiple dances or various bands, for example – an indoor event venue may not have enough space for what you need.
Seated events like dinners or speeches are perfect for indoor event venues and don’t require a lot of space. Receptions or family reunions that host a lot of yard games, however, are best suited to outdoor venues where guests can play multiple games or activities without the restriction of space.
5) How important is audio or acoustics?
Indoor event venues like dining halls or meeting conference rooms are the best venue spaces if you need to have immaculate acoustics for your event. Outdoor events can host incredible audio, but will require additional equipment to do so that your venue may or may not provide, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.
Consider if you need a lot of noise, perfect noise, or if your guests will be speaking and conversing together without the need for perfect acoustics on a stage. Many outdoor venues have the microphone hookups that you need, making smaller or quieter events simple.
In most cases, indoor event venues will be your best bet for events centered around sound, but outdoor event venues have the benefit of more space if you’re packing in a large crowd. Consider acoustics, noise ordinances, and equipment as you make your decision.
6) Are you bringing a lot of decorations for your events?
Events are all about decorations and theme – you set the theme and create the backdrop for your event that will be in all the photos and promotional videos. So, what sorts of decorations are you bringing and does your venue allow for them?
Indoor event venues can be great for decorations if your venue allows outside deco to be brought in. Always check during your tour and consultation what their deco rules are. If they allow you to bring your deco, the sky may be the limit for creating the perfect scenery.
Outdoor event venues may lack the wall space, stair railings, and other fixtures that allow for decorations. However, outdoor event venues also have a more lenient policy for bringing decorations along as it doesn’t damage the grounds. These means large sculptures or elaborate designs that you can set up to your heart’s content.
If you’re not big on decorations, look for either an outdoor venue that has gorgeous scenery to work as a natural backdrop or look for indoor venues that are already decorated in keeping with your theme or event ideas.
7) What accessibility requirements do you need for your event?
Finally, you want to consider the accessibility needs of your guests and if an indoor or outdoor venue is likely to grant you the best options.
Think about needs like wheelchairs, canes, elevators, walking distance, ground conditions, and more. Some outdoor venues may not have paved or well-kept walkways, meaning it can be difficult for guests with disabilities to get to all areas of your event. Some indoor event venues, however, may not have elevators and require access to certain flights by stairs.
Ask each venue what their accommodations are and keep track of the needs of your guests. A level event space is best for disability accommodations and while this most often is an indoor event venue, outdoor event venues may actually have more grounds your guests can access if they are properly paved and maintained.
Set Up Tours and Begin Booking Your Event Venue in Maryland
There are a lot of factors that go into picking your event venue, but these questions should get you started. Once you know your guest list, the time of year, and the timing of the event, you can begin to hone in on activities and other needs that will make or break where you host your event.
Make sure to tour each event venue space and speak with the event consultant on staff to get an idea of the benefits of each venue you tour. At the end of the day, an indoor-outdoor venue could be your perfect fit, so start touring and get excited for what is to come for your event.