An indoor or outdoor wedding? Or both?

An indoor or outdoor wedding? Or both?

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We have put together a list of pros and cons associated with indoor and marquee weddings which we hope will be a useful guide…


Please do point out anything that you think we have missed, and do let us know if you have any thoughts or experiences on the subject – we would love to hear from you.

Get in touch any time via the comments box below, our website: or by email: To keep up to date with our latest news, special offers and other publications, do follow us on Facebook:


Take care and happy planning from the Sound Events Team!


Indoor Wedding Marquee Wedding
Location Many indoor venues are situated in beautiful and sprawling grounds – a bonus if the weather is good and you are able to make the most of the landscape. Of course, the more beautiful the venue, and extensive the grounds, the more expensive it is likely to be. A marquee can be constructed almost anywhere, so you can be married or have your reception at your favourite beach, in the grounds of a stately home, in a clearing in the forest or in your own back garden!The price of the marquee would remain the same, no matter how beautiful the location (but you will need to check whether the landowner will want to charge a ground rent for the use of his/her land), and, provided that the field or grounds are big enough, a marquee can be built to accommodate any number of guests.
Seasons You could get married any time of year if you opt for an indoor venue. Availability of venues in the winter can be low due to high demand, but the security of knowing that your guests will be comfortable is probably well worth the jostle. The prospect of frozen guests is not an appealing one! But do remember that marquees can be heated (inexpensively) to create a cosy shelter from the elements, as you watch the winter sun set through panoramic windows.
Number of Guests You can find some beautiful and excellent value wedding venues all over the country – although if you plan to have a larger gathering, you may struggle to find inexpensive venues that are nearby. As most marquees are modular, you are able to grow or shrink the marquee depending on how many guests will attend the wedding.If, at the last minute, you choose to invite an additional 10, 20 or even 50 guests, then your marquee supplier need only add more bays of marquee to the existing structure.Equally, if you are disappointed to find that a large number of guests are unable to make it to your big day, then the marquee can simply be shrunk to a more appropriate size.
Versatility of Space Certain venues can offer cosy or quiet rooms for older guests or children to play in. It is always sensible to have a “chill-out” area for people to escape to periodically.You should make sure there is a room big enough to accommodate a revelling crowd of dancing guests with a dancefloor and stage large enough for a band and DJ.Some venues offer an indoor area for the ceremony, and have a marquee set up in the grounds to accommodate the evening guests. This is often an excellent way of getting all the benefits of an indoor venue, and all the flexibility and space of a marquee. With a marquee structure, you can choose the exact size and location of separate retreats you may wish to have. For example, you can have a children’s pagoda attached to the main marquee filled full of games and children’s entertainment, or certain sections of the main marquee can be dedicated to comfort and filled with soft furnishings.The marquee may also be sectioned off with ‘reveal curtains’ so that whilst your guests are dining, they do not realise that there is a whole secret section of the marquee hidden from view with a dancefloor, stage, disco lights and twinkling black-out starlight lining the walls. When the band is about to start, the curtain can be raised to ‘reveal,’ to the astonishment of your guests, the party area of the marquee
Choice of Suppliers Many venues insist that you use their caterers, bar service and furniture as part of the overall deal, and your freedom to decorate the venue may be limited. On the plus side, many venues also offer “whole package” discounts because you will be sourcing the majority of your services through them.Some venues may let you choose your own caterers etc. but will often not allow you or your guests to bring your own beers, wines and spirits without paying some form of corkage fee, and, if you do use their bar, they are unlikely to offer wholesale prices to you. You have complete control over which caterers, bar service, furniture and décor you would like to use and/or whether you would like to bring in your own beers, wines and spirits and run the bar yourself. (To see some of our favourite examples of inspirational outdoor/marquee décor, take a look at our Outdoor Wedding Inspiration Board)You may, however, miss out on any discounts that would otherwise be offered when the venue, caterers, furniture and bar are all supplied by the same company.
Convenience Opting for a whole package often presents a more convenient solution to an otherwise very busy bride and groom. This is because piecing together your own bespoke wedding can take a lot of effort!With an indoor venue you can often buy an “off the shelf” wedding – a good option for those of you who don’t have the time to add your own creative input.You are likely to be permitted to commission and install your own décor at the venue if you do not like what they have to offer, however, make sure you check whether there are any limitations or rules before signing any contracts with them (and do bear in mind potential difficulties in colour matching your décor with the existing fixtures and furnishings at the venue). Creating your own bespoke wedding day, without being tied to particular suppliers, caterers or styles of furniture or décor is extremely liberating for the more adventurous bride and groom, but can take it’s toll in terms of effort, organisation and project management skills!More convenient ways to plan your bespoke outdoor wedding can be found if you take the time to find a marquee company which is able to offer furniture hire (in a variety of styles), staging, lighting, P.A. systems, banqueting tables, caterers’ tents, dance floors, bars and power.Choosing a marquee company that is able to offer a rounded service will ensure that most disparate elements of the event are co-ordinated by the same company, saving you the stress of project management, but still offering you flexibility to choose your marquee location, run your own bar, choose your own catering, and select colour schemes and furniture to suit your vision of the day.Also, don’t forget that with an outdoor do, you are likely to have the unglamourous task of hiring some portable loos – and they are not very cheap! Your marquee supplier should be able to recommend reputable toilet providers and/or deal with this for you.
Cost It is close to impossible to compare the costs of an outdoor wedding as against the cost of an indoor wedding but suffice it to say that one is not necessarily more expensive than this other. This is because the cost and quality of indoor venues varies so wildly, as does the cost and quality of marquees and other structures.In terms of indoor venues, the ties they might have to particular caterers and bars can disproportionately increase the cost of your day. However, venues may also offer generous discounts to reflect the fact that you are spending a large proportion of your wedding budget with them.If you already have a quote from a venue and want to compare it to the average cost of hiring a marquee, take a look at our previous blog: How much does a marquee cost to hire? Outdoor weddings can offer excellent value for money as a marquee can be erected on anybody’s land (with permission of course!) and you have complete freedom to run your own bar, or, for example, to plan a bring-and-share supper, or have friends catering for you.Also, the flexibility in terms of a marquee’s size, means that you will not be laden with the expense of a venue which is too big for the number of guests who are ultimately able to attend.
Conclusion Venues offer a convenient and sometimes cost-effective option for brides and grooms who prefer to avoid the stress of project management themselves, and who are not looking to accommodate significantly large number of guests. Indoor venues also pose less risk in terms of weather conditions, and so are a safe bet all year round. Outdoor weddings in marquees offer more creative control to the couple who are able to pick and choose each aspect of the event. There is the risk of poor weather, and potential project management stress for the bride and groom, but these risks can be mitigated if you choose to work with trusted suppliers who are able to offer expertise in more than just one field.

We hope that this has been helpful. Do get in touch any time via the comments box below, our website: or by email:

To keep up to date with our news, special offers and other publications, do follow us on Facebook:

Here are some of our favourite shots taken from some of our weddings over recent seasons. Our cover shot is courtesy of the Vintage Wedding Photographer (

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