How to make an indoor/outdoor venue work for you

June 25, 2021Lauren Windle

It’s great when you find the perfect indoor/outdoor event space for your next party. Once you do, you need to really plan to determine the best way to take advantage of both inside and outside spaces without your event seeming disjointed.

“There is an art to planning an event around both indoor and outdoor activities,” says Jacquie Bols, owner of Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering. “The best planners make merging those two spaces both practical and fun.”   

Here’s what you should ask about first:

  • Think like a photographer. Where will you get the best pictures both outside and in?
  • How easy is it to get from outside to inside? Remember uneven ground is hard to walk if guests are wearing heels or long dresses.
  • What time of year are you holding your event? Mid-summer days in Indiana are often sweltering. Spring and fall days mean temperature uncertainty. Falls can be really crisp in the evening. Make sure you consider typical weather conditions.
  • What natural features of the landscape appeal to you? (Mature trees? Fields of flowers? Fire pit?)
  • What lighting is available outside? String lights? Lanterns? Fluorescents that pop on automatically?
  • What is the lighting situation inside?
  • What is your back up plan if the weather goes south and you need to pull everything inside?
  • Is there a place to park away out-of-sight of the festivities?
  • What type of bathroom facilities are there outside, if any?

What Jacquie Bols recommendations:

  • If it’s a wedding, hold it outside in the late afternoon or early evening. A setting sun makes for some spectacular color and lighting and adds a charmingly casual romantic feel.
  • Take advantage of the locale’s natural outdoor features. Is there a wedding arbor or pergola? Decorate it and make it a focal point. Is there a fire pit? Ideal for post-event chats and winding down. Is there a barn? Great place to set up catering line and dining – especially when it comes to keeping foods a uniform temperature.
  • Vary the setting. It’s a wonderful idea to hold a ceremony outside, then invite the group inside for drinks or appetizers. The change in venue encourages people to get to know one another during the transition.
  • Make sure you are prepared for off-beat weather. Set aside throws or wraps for guests in case the evening gets chilly. Consider renting restaurant-style heating lanterns.
  • If there is a fire pit, guests will want to use it. Have firewood and a lighter or two on hand and make sure seating is available.
  • You know where everything is, but guests won’t know until they need something. Use signage to point out where to park; the way to seating at the wedding or event, directions to the barn, to food and bar; appetizers vs. desserts; right down to restrooms.
  • Consider more than esthetics when it comes to adding music to your event. Where are electrical outlets for the band? What are the acoustics in the barn? Ask, then test!
  • Heading back outside after dark can be genius – especially if there is interesting lighting such as string lights. Announce when the wedding couple is ready to leave and head outside to fete them. How romantic!

It’s always worth the extra $$ to book a venue that boasts indoor and outdoor space. It adds romance, fun, and more often that not, yields absolutely wonderful photos – as well as memories.

See you outside AND in, at your next event. We have tons of experience with both – and are happy to recommend some venues you might not have even thought about.

- Jacquie Bols



© 2024 Jacquie's Gourmet Catering. All Rights Reserved.
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