Post # 1
Okay I know this sounds bad, but please read and THEN give me your thoughts. I *think* I have picked a venue- it is perfect in every way. However it is not very large and is a combo of indoor/outdoor space. Which is what I wanted, but during my first talk last night with the venue owner he said they can only accomadate 75 people for a sit down meal. I have never been to a wedding without a every one sitting down at the same time full meal. He said we could do 125 fine IF we did heavy apps that were in stations and passed because then not everyone would all be sitting or eating all at the same time. But my mind keeps going to the seating issue- is it rude to not have 125 chairs? Or is this fine since it’s not a sit down meal? He acted like it was normal, but since I have no experience with that type of wedding I have no clue.
Edit for clarity: It is not an all night event with toasts, speeches, garter toss etc. It is more of a cocktail reception that would be MAX 6 hours from beginning of ceremony to the end of reception. There will be plenty of space for people to put down purses/jackets/etc. just not a chair for every single person to be sitting in at the exact same time.
Post # 3
Yes, you need to have a chair for everyone.
Post # 4
I think you need to have a chair for everyone. Not even for just eating but are you going to have 50 of yours guests just standing around while doing your first dance, toasts, etc. Most people were seated during the wedding “events” at our wedding and were up walking around during cocktail hour and dancing. We did have tall tables for people to stand at in addition to the tables, that people used during cocktail hour. Would you have tables or places for people to put down their stuff (purses, cameras, jackets, etc) if you don’t have seating for everyone? That would just be another thing to consider.
Post # 5
@mixtapehearts: I am doing something similar. It’s more of a cocktail reception. I went to a wedding like that this summer and it was great! No one complained and everyone had a great time. For the ceremony, however, I think you need seats for everyone.
Post # 6
Is this an all-night reception as well? If so, I would find it very rude to not provide seats to all of your guests. If you were just doing a cocktail hour and then having an after party or something some place else, it wouldn’t be so bad.. but if you expect your guests to dance/stay for awhile I would highly consider having enough seats for everyone.
Post # 7
Etiquette Snob here… lol
YES, you need a chair for everyone… despite what the Venue Manager says
As a Host you need to provide for the comfort of your Guests… you don’t get to arbitrarily decide that people “might not want to sit down”… that is THEIR choice.
Hope this helps,
Post # 8
@mixtapehearts: If you’re just doing a cocktail party reception and not all the traditional “sit around and watch/listen” events (multiple speeches, couple dances, garter/bouquet toss) I think it’s fine to not have seats for everyone. Plan activities to keep people moving around. If there’s a grassy area, you can have lawn games. Can you include more casual seating options like couches, armchairs to encourage mingling? Is 125 how many you’re inviting or expecting? How long will the reception be? Will there be dancing?
FWIW we had 80 adult guests and a standing ceremony and cocktail hour with passed appetizers, followed by a sit down dinner. There were a few benches for guests to sit on during cocktail hour, but everyone was fine standing. During dancing, we had ample seating (about 50 chairs were in the dancing area, the tables and chairs from dinner were on a separate floor and cleared following the meal), but really only needed about a dozen chairs since most people danced. We had no traditional “sit and watch” activities. There was a free coat room for guests to store jackets and bags (it was summer).
Post # 9
Yeah, where do you propose people put their stuff if they want to go dance or get food?
Post # 10
My reception was cocktail style with passed hors d’oeuvres, carving stations and some other food stations. We did not have chairs for all of our guests, and it was totally fine. At a cocktail reception, you don’t need to have a chair on the off chance that every single person will want to sit down at the same time. People mingled, they went to the bar, some sat and ate. Others stood at cocktail tables. If you’re having a more formal meal, you should only invite as many guests as you can seat.
While we did have the traditional first dance, mother/son, father/daughter dance, we skipped all of the formal speeches.
This is completely the norm in New Orleans where most wedding receptions are no longer than 3-4 hours.
Post # 11
@kenziemt: You hit the nail on the head- it is NOT a traditonal wedding with toasts, dances, tossing things etc. To me it’s more like a party that I just happen to be getting married at than a wedding. The venue is a wine bar, we will be having our ceremony short and sweet outside in the gazebo. It’s not all night, it has to end at 11. So I suppose a good way to phrase it would be a cocktail reception. I THINK I can rent tables and chairs to bring in, not 100% sure on it and they would not match in any way. The venue has wrought iron tables and chairs and what I’d have to bring in would be like white folding chair type stuff. Not due to lack of money, but there is nowhere within 2 hours of me that rents out anything other than just your basic table/chair.
Not sure what to do here =/
Post # 12
You should have a chair for everyone. Even if your ceremony starts at 7, that’s four hours long. I think your “perfect” venue isn’t perfect unless you can cut your guest list by 50. Seriously. Don’t do this to people, they won’t like it and might leave early.
Even if some people don’t mind standing, I imagine that people will “claim” seats by putting their purses/jackets there, and even if they aren’t sitting, their chair will look unavailable. It doesn’t matter if the seats/tables don’t match, think about the comfort of your guests.
Post # 13
Even if you view your reception as “just a party” your guests view it as.. your reception.. because it is.
Guest comfort is kind of a big deal.
What type does the cocktail hour start? If its more than a few hours I would find a way to rent more tables and chairs.. and if that’s not possibly, at least purchase or rent some additional lounge seating.
Post # 14
We did a cocktail style moving reception with 75 guests and about 50 chairs during the reception (we had full seating for the ceremony). I think maybe 20 of the chairs were used during the reception!!!! People were too busy mingling and dancing to sit! We did have lounge furniture scattered around the venue and that was used more then the regular chairs.
Eta: just read your “it’s more of a party were happening to get married at” that’s EXACTLY how we wanted our wedding to be & a cocktail style reception is a great way to convey that!
Post # 15
@jenilynevette: I’m aware guest comfort is a big deal hence why I am asking the question. I’m also aware it’s my reception, but thanks for pointing that out to me… the bride..? I used the terms I did to try to convey the attitude and atmosphere so people can understand what I am trying to accomplish and respond accordingly.
@redhead46: Yes here is plenty of place for people to put their things, just not a designated chair for every single person if that makes sense.
The way people in my circle tend to be is a lot of the friends show up after food to drink and dance. And for all I know maybe only 75 people will be there, I haven’t given the guest list a hard look. I CAN and WILL cut the list down if it comes to that. I am not changing venues so I am searching for what to do with what I have. I also haven’t met with the venue yet for a sit down talk so there may be something else to remedy the chair/table issue that I am not aware of.
Post # 16
we had this worry and so we got a huge place …. and half of our guests didn’t show ( this is normal in my culture) so it was very empty and I noticed alot of people didn’t sit … but we did not have a meal. just finger foods and cup cakes. but my experiance was very. unqiue.