Indoor vs Outdoor Weddings : Picking the Perfect Finger Lakes Wedding Venue

When you’re planning your wedding day, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make early on is: should you have an indoor or an outdoor wedding? There are considerations for both and either option can be equally lovely. We’ll walk you through some of the considerations for each so you can make an informed decision.

Outdoor Weddings in the Finger Lakes

Outdoor Wedding in the Finger Lakes

Photography: Bridget Rochelle photography; Planning + Design: KC You There; Florals: Bows and Arrows Flowers; Invites + All stationary (including seating chart, table numbers, programs, dinner menu & bar sign, placecards): Rust Belt Love; Dessert Table: B Sweet Designs; Tabletop Rentals: Petunia Rose; China Linens: Latavola Linen; Linen Napkins: Hostess Haven


  • Natural beauty. When you get married in the great outdoors, you can take advantage of the stunning beauty of the Finger Lakes or greater Rochester region. Whether you opt to have a scenic wedding by a lake or a rustic countryside wedding, you’re sure to have views for days. Plus, being outside means prime natural light for your wedding photographer to take advantage of! You also won’t need to decorate as much when nature is providing so much lush beauty to appreciate.
  • Space to spread out. Invite your whole family and every friend! No one will feel cramped in a sprawling tent with plenty of seating. It’s also easier for the photographer to navigate when you have more space. You can also really make it your own by bringing decorations or personal items that make the wedding feel more
  • Family-friendly. If you’ll have kids in attendance, an outdoor wedding is great. It gives parents room to wander off if their child is crying and they need a moment, or kids can play during the reception without being underfoot. Some folks might worry about guests turning an ankle on uneven grass, but you can rent flooring to make sure the ground is even and safe for everyone. As an added bonus of outdoor weddings, you can incorporate things like lawn games for your guests to play, or even sparklers for the end of the night!


  • Weather concerns. Yes, I know you’re thinking it. Weather is a concern, true. But if you book a tent for the day, you’ll be in good shape in case of rain! A clear tent is a fantastic option because it helps you achieve the best of both worlds- an open air feel while still having protection from the elements.
  • There may be some insects out and about at your outdoor wedding, especially if it’s in the summer. Consider placing citronella candles on tables just outside the tent at your reception to keep bugs away.
  • We have a short season for outdoor weddings in Rochester, so demand for venues tends to be high and things book up quickly. Make sure you plan ahead and book your date as far in advance as possible.

Indoor Weddings in the Finger Lakes

Indoor Wedding in the Finger Lakes

Photos: Rockefeller Photography; Planner: Honey Dew Events; Floral: I Do Wedding Flowers; Signage: B in a Bonnet; Venue: La Luna


  • More intimate feel. Indoor wedding venues are often a bit smaller, so you have a more intimate vibe with your guests clustered into the space.
  • Fewer logistics. Sometimes, indoor venues come with everything you need already in place. You won’t have to worry about certain logistics if you’re indoors. This varies from venue to venue, though. In some, you’ll have the opportunity to customize a bit more, renting everything from the perfect China to elegant chairs. Be sure to talk to your venue coordinator and have a list of everything the venue provides so you’ll know which items you’ll need to rent.
  • Time of day and seasonal consistency. Today’s modern tents prevent many of the weather concerns (rain prevention, head/AC capabilities) that used to drive people to indoor locations. However, choosing an indoor location will ensure that your venue looks exactly the same any time of day and each day of the year. Because the indoors won’t be at all affected by day, night, sun or rain, you’ll always know how your venue will present whenever your wedding might be held.


  • Limited capacity. Space is finite. If you have a large family and lots of friends, it may be difficult to accommodate everyone.
  • Decor that’s not your own. Indoor locations obviously have the walls, carpets, light fixtures, and other decorating basics built in and they might not match your personal aesthetic. Bringing a location’s look and feel in line with your wedding day vision should be a consideration in your planning. Some venues are more of a blank slate, which gives you the chance to curate it with your own unique vision. For example, farm tables and vineyard crossback chairs can help elevate the look and feel of a more industrial space.
  • Photography challenges. Getting married inside can pose challenges to your photographer. As there’s constraints on space and lighting, it can be hard for them to get around to get just the right shot from the perfect angle. Additionally, the artificial lighting can make it tough to capture the gorgeous, light, airy shots you may be looking for. Bringing in bistro lighting or unique linens can really help create the ambiance you’re looking for!

Whether you opt for an indoor or an outdoor wedding, we can help make it special! Contact us to get started.

Emily Hessney Lynch

Emily Hessney Lynch is the Director of I Heart ROC, where she interviews Rochesterians about what they love most in our city. Emily will be covering all things wedding for McCarthy Tents & Events so check back often to read her posts as you plan your wedding.

Emily is a voracious reader, a coffee enthusiast, and the proud mother of two rescue dogs. You can follow her on Twitter at @servemethesky.