Post # 1
We are having a ceremony with about 100 people in my grandfather’s backyard. I had been planning on having chairs for guests, but everyone I have talked to in my family and even the lady at the chair rental place think it would be odd to seat all of our guests because our ceremony is going to be a pretty quick one (about 20 minutes). They say it’s kind of odd to go to the trouble to seat all of the guests when they’re leaving only twenty minutes later.
Here’s my question: is it awkward to not have chairs? As a guest, would you think a “standing only” ceremony was weird? I’ve never been to a lot of outdoor ceremonies, so I don’t know what is normally done! Thanks in advance for the feedback. 🙂
Post # 3
Chairs make sense for a number of reasons:
Even if your ceremony is only 20 minutes you’ll want guests to arrive 10-15 minutes prior…that’s 45 minutes of standing.
They also give guests a definite place to be rather than milling about and having to be corralled to start the ceremony. Plus you can create an aisle with – where if you have standing people may not create one automatically.
It allows people to be able to see. In a standing crowd it can be difficult for everyone to get a good view and be able to hear. Seating allows your voices to carry over the crowd. Also it keeps the focus on you and the ceremony.
Post # 4
20 minutes is too long to not have chairs. Also, with 100 people standing, nobody will be able to see what is going on very well.
Definitely get chairs.
Post # 5
I was at one “standing only” outdoor ceremony and I thought it was really weird. I had never come across that before and I just kept thinking the whole time “why are we standing behind this bar on a lake next to a dumpster”?
It was really distracting and I would have liked to have been seated. It didn’t seem as nice or formal at all without the chairs.
Post # 6
Get chairs. I attended a wedding in an open field that did not have chairs. The ceremony was short (not even 20 minutes) and it was uncomfprtable for me to stand still that long, and I’m young and a fairly athletic person. Yes, it’s a hassle, but worth it.
Post # 7
I agree with camrie. It will be longer than 20 minutes that guests will be “in place.” And think of any older or elderly guests who would have a hard time standing in one spot for that time. I’d say definitely go with chairs.
Are you having the reception there, too? Could you somehow use the same chairs and just have them moved in between the ceremony and reception? Just an idea, especially if you’d like to save some money. (Wouldn’t we all?) 🙂 Good luck!
Post # 8
I am stuggling with the same issue, right now I am voting for an informal, standing ceremony.
The venue has plenty of banquet chairs for the reception, but we cannot use them outside for the ceremony. I have quotes from caterers at about $300 for 50 white resin chairs that people will sit in for 20 mins. Plus I will have to pay extra for a ‘timed delivery’ beause the venue will not allow the chairs to be delievered before my rental time begins! The venue does have some folding chairs that I can sneak outside for my grandmother and FFIL but that’s it! Shhh.
Post # 9
If I was wearing heels I would have a very hard time standing even for 20 minutes–and I probably would be wearing heels, as weddings are generally formal events requiring formal attire. It would be especially difficult for me to stand on grass in heels–which is, I assume, what your guests will be on if it is taking place in a yard.
Also, I’m extremely short. I hate going to concerts or sporting events where everyone keeps standing up–I can’t see a thing! It’s so incredibly frustrating. And you may have short people, elderly people, children, etc, who will all have trouble seeing.
And speaking of children–can you imagine how much more antsy they are going to get if they can’t even sit anywhere? At least if they’re sitting their parents can keep them occupied with a coloring book. If they’re forced to stand, they’re going to want to be running and playing around the yard–especially if they can’t even see what’s going on, which they most certainly won’t be able to do!
Post # 10
Okay, so I’m NOT crazy! All of these reasons were running through my head, too and they all thought I was weird. I’m glad you Bees affirmed how I was feeling. Our reception is at a different location, so we can’t reuse the chairs, but that would have been a great idea.
Thanks for the feedback!
Post # 11
I voted chairs too. Especially for the elderly guests, and others who cannot stand for a long time. Especially in the summer heat!
As a guest, I would feel very awkward going to a wedding, standing for an hour, then leaving. Just seem weird (and I don’t say that about a lot of things at weddings!).
Post # 12
We had a standing ceremony on the beach. About 75-80 guests. I had a few reserved chairs up front for the elderly guests, but otherwise, everyone stood. Ceremony was about 15 minutes. It did make it much more casual, which was my goal, so think about how formal you want it to feel. We also served cocktails pre-ceremony, so guests had something to do (sip and mingle) before the ceremony started – another consideration if you don’t offer chairs. (You could offer lemonade or sparkling water if you don’t want to offer alcohol.)
One twist we worked in: Right before the ceremony started, guests were asked to line up in two rows to create the “aisle.” This way everyone got a front-row view of the processional. As I reached the front, guests then stepped forward to gather around us. (See pic below.)
I do think as you reach 100 people, it becomes less practical to stand, as those in the back rows will have a more difficult time seeing the bride and groom. And if you have a lot of elderly guests, asking them to stand for 20 minutes is a lot. By no means are chairs “odd” for a 20-minute ceremony!
Post # 13
In my opinion, wedding ceremonies are long and boring. I know, I know, it sounds awful. But if I just get so bored. Whether it’s ten minutes, twenty minutes, or an hour… I want to be able to sit no matter what. I would rent chairs for people, it means less chaos. Your guests may also be less distracted about the uncomfort of standing, so they can focus on your ceremony. My opinion 🙂
Post # 14
We’re also having a backyard wedding, about 70 people, although ours will be SUPER short (5 minutes). It’s made more complicated by the fact that part of the backyard slopes. We’re going to have chairs for the parents/older folks, and everyone else will stand on the sloping part (which should ensure there are no problems seeing).
Post # 15
Our ceremony was less than 20 minutes (probably 15 total from start of processional to the time we were pronounced married) and we had chairs. THat is a long time for guests to stand – especially in Florida heat in June!
Post # 16
Definitely get chairs….or, maybe benches if you can find them somewhere!