Wedding guests have to stand at reception

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Should guest have to stand for four hours at the wedding reception
    yes : (3 votes)
    3 %
    no : (114 votes)
    97 %
  • Post # 3
    30284 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2011

    @besidemyself:  Oh my goodness, that’s quite the dilemma!  Could you bring in benches or things that people can sit on that can easily be against a wall/corner?  The other thought I have is that hopefully people are mingling enough that they can rotate sitting in chairs. :/ I know it’s not ideal! Bummer.

    Post # 4
    2315 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I understand that there isn’t necessarily always seating for everyone at all parties and events, but unless it’s the kind of seating that will allow different people to sit at different times then you need to provide some sort of seating for all. I wouldn’t like to be at a reception for 4 hours without the option of sitting. 

    I do think it is pretty silly for the restaurant to have more capacity than seats. Would you be allowed to being extra chairs in or is the 185, standing capacity and if it were all sitting it’d be less? Maybe you could ask to hire chairs from a local school, churc, community hall etc.?

    Post # 5
    2473 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

    @besidemyself:  My suggestion in this case is to utilize any outdoor space the restaurant has available to them. If there is a patio area, see if you guys could go beyond the boundaries a bit with some extra benches, etc. Even space out front of the restuarant is valuable for guests to get some air/mingle/sit. Hopefully there is some excess space for you to utilize and it isn’t in a downtown area!

    ETA: This sounds super tacky as I am typing it, but if it is just you guys at the restaurant, maybe you could even utilize some of their parkling lot space? You would probably want to bring extra decorations, tables, chairs, lighting, etc, and you could use part of their lot for extra room.

    Post # 6
    657 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    @besidemyself:  People will be up, moving around, dancing, mingling so I doubt someone would be standing for 4 hours straight. You should also keep in mind that not all the guests will make it to the reception and a fair amount will probably be leaving in the first hour, they’ll make an appearance to be polite, give their blessings, eat a little and maybe watch some dancing so the place will most likely clear out before you know it. (That’s to say that all the invites RSVP yes in the first place)

    We’re in a similar place but our location has a pool table with a lounge area, including several chairs, leather window seats and a couch so we have enough seating it’s just a little spread out. If there is other seating (the bar) then it shouldn’t be a problem, I probably sit for a total of 10-20 minutes if I’m at a wedding unless it’s a sit down dinner and then it’s dreadful because I’m antsy and want to get up and move around. I know for FSIL’s wedding she had the option of renting the giant ottomans for extra seating to set up, she had to get them from a rental company and not through the venue. 

    Post # 7
    7289 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    @besidemyself:  I am a bit confused. If it is in a restaurant doesn;t that mean that there will be tables and chairs present? Or will they be removed and if so what are they doing with them? Could you use the chairs?

    Post # 8
    2167 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    Wow, that’s a pretty long time to have stand, hold my plate and drink and maybe even dance. Definitely look into maybe some type of rental chairs and tables if the restuarant isn’t equipped with enough.

    Post # 9
    3217 posts
    Sugar bee

    As much as you think people will mingle and swap seats, they won’t. Peoplewill put a bag or sweater on a chair to “claim”it, and even if they get up and dance, no one will remove their stuff to sit.

    You must have seating for evveryone.


    Post # 10
    1243 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think much depends on the guests that are invited. We are having a cocktail reception, and anticipate 80-90 guests. I will have indoor seating for about 60, and there is plenty of additional seating on the patio.

    That said, very few of our guests are elderly, and will spend most of the time on the dance floor.  When I attend parties at our reception venue, i very rarely sit, and the same can be said for many of the guests we’ve invited.

    It really depends on things like the age and mobility of the guests, whether there is dancing, etc.

    Keep in mind, if people can’t find a seat, and get tired of standing, they will probably go home after a couple of hours. This could be a good thing, or a bad thing depending on how the couple envisions their night unfolding.

    Post # 11
    6166 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2013

    is there going to be dancing? is it just hor d’ourves?  if yes to both you may not seat a seat for every single person.  people are going to stand, walk around, mingle, dance.  but there does need to be a good number of chairs, i would say for at least 90%.



    Post # 12
    5935 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @andielovesj:  +1

    At my cousin’s wedding  there were only a limited number of chairs/tables and people parked their asses in them the whole time because they knew that if they got up, someone else would snag it. Towards the end of the reception there were empty seats because people were slowly leaving but at the beginning, every seat was taken and no one was moving.

    Post # 13
    131 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 1993

    Are you at the point where you are positive that all of the invited guests will attend?  I wouldn’t be surprised given the economy, kid issues, etc., whether you might find your actual final count will be more manageable…

    Post # 14
    1970 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I like the guideline of the previous poster who said that there should be seating for 90% of guests.  Unless the invitations have conveyed the idea that this will be a *very* casual event, you will have guests in dressier clothes, which may include women’s heels and men’s dress shoes.  Even the best-fitted shoes of this type will probably start to hurt a bit, especially if there is dancing, and people will want to sit and relax.

    Very candidly, if I was invited to this reception and there was no seating, I would really be deeply unhappy and it would affect my willingness to accept invitations from this couple in the future.


    Post # 15
    1531 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Who the heck allowed the extra guests?  This is absurd.  I agree with the poster who said that  no one will give up seat once they get one.  I am suprised restaruant is not over its legal limit of people who can be there.  I would at least reserve seats for everyone over 65 and tell the younger people to circulate.


    Post # 16
    9137 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

    @besidemyself:  Well, not having enough seating may solve the problem on its own because upset guests will just leave and then there should be plenty of seating for the guests who stay.

    Can the venue set up some cocktail style tables in part of the room?  That way people have somewhere to stand and set down their drinks and plates.

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