Indoor vs. outdoor weddings

Lindsey Schwarck

You’ve had the big day planned ever since your first kiss in kindergarten. You probably didn’t know the guy — only a minor detail — but you could picture your dream gown, flowers and even the ceremony location. Whether it’s in a traditional church or along the beaches of Mexico, here are some elements you may not have considered for your wedding day.


If you choose to get married in the Ames area, an indoor ceremony is probably for you. With unpredictable wind, rain and snow nearly any time of the year, most Iowan couples need to opt for a destination wedding to satisfy their open-air fantasies. Even still, such outdoor weddings can mean afternoon heat and humidity, so a morning or early evening ceremony is common.


Indoor ceremonies offer room for elaborate decorations to create a mood. However, outdoor settings provide so much natural beauty that little added decorations are needed. No matter which you choose, candles and flowers utilize any intimate space.


This standard should be set in the invitation, especially for black-tie occasions. For wedding guests, outdoor settings typically require more casual dress, but there are some things to keep in mind: seaside breezes can easily flow up loose dresses, high-heels are practically a sand trap, and hats can block the view of other attendees.

Sound & Visibility

No matter the location, arrange microphones at the altar so that all attendees can hear those sacred vows.

It may also be a good idea to provide sunglasses and fans as party favors for outdoor services. This way, the sun doesn’t get in the way of watching that special “here comes the bride” moment.

Food & Drinks

For outdoor meals and receptions, extra precautions may need to be made in order to ensure hot foods remain hot and cold stay cold. There may be very few outlets — if any — so providing extra extension and power cords can help with cocktail hour.