Post # 1
We are getting married at a restaurant this summer. Like most weddings that happen there we had planned to have our ceremony on their patio followed by a cocktail hour and then the reception inside in the restaurant.
I just learned that if you want the ceremony seating set up and then the patio reset to cocktail style there is a fee of $500. However, if we want to avoid this then they will set up a few rows of chairs at the front of the patio (seating roughly 30 ppl) and leave the back part in a more cocktail style set up (tables with chairs around them).
This would mean the majority of guests would be standing for the ceremony, which I’m thinking will be around 30 minutes at the most.
I’m stumped. I really only pictured guests seated for the ceremony but this $500 charge is totally unexpected and a fairly significant addition to the budget.
help me….what are your thoughts?
Post # 3
@Vsmart: I would not make you guests stand for over 30 minutes of the ceremony. Keep in mind they will arrive earlier than you, so it might be more like 45mins-1hour.
Post # 4
We looked at a venue where you could have max 50 chairs in the ceremony area (we’re having 125-150 guests). I think, as a guest, it wouldn’t bother me, if the ceremony was short (under 20 minutes). I think it also depends if you have a lot of older guests, as they should all have seats. Ultimately, both our moms really hated the idea of asking people to stand (and we kind of did too, even though I really don’t think many guests would have minded), and it was one of the reasons we looked elsewhere.
Post # 5
i think i’d get the seating for everyone. a guest might be slightly offended that they don’t get to sit down. and 30 minutes is actually kind of long, plus you don’t want anyone to pass out or leave because they don’t want to stand
Post # 6
I would not want to stand, even for a brief ceremony. I arrive early, in high heels, and stand around waiting for your (hopefully punctual) ceremony. I may have a cocktail or a bottle of water, a purse, a camera, and nowhere to put any of it while I stand in my uncomfortable shoes.
Post # 7
@Vsmart: You must provide a seat for every guest at your ceremony. It is not polite to ask people to stand for 30 minutes.
Post # 8
I could see if you were going to have a short 10 minute ceremony. But you have to think about older family members that need to sit down. Sometimes you have guests that will take seats and not think about the older folks.
We’ve thought this through, we are having a 15 minute ceremony, 50 guests. Thought about not having seating at all, but I have older family members and I don’t want to take any chances of them having to stand, even if we do provide 10 chairs. There is always a few rude people in the group that think abouot themselves and that will hog up the chairs for themselves. So we decided to just provide chairs for everyone.
Post # 9
Don’t do it. $500 is a steep fee for that, but making guests comfortable is worth it to me. I went to a wedding last year where the venue did not have enough seats and a bunch of guests had to stand in the back. It felt really awkward and I think it took away from the formality of the ceremony.
Post # 10
@Vsmart: I think half an hour is a long time. If that were me, I’d arrive probably about 20 minutes before the ceremony to make sure I was there on time / use the bathroom, etc. That would have me standing almost for an hour and if I were wearing heels, which I would be at a wedding, I would be miserable before the wedding even started!
I think you should pay the $500 so all your guests can sit. OR – cut down your ceremony to 10-15 minutes.
Post # 11
@Vsmart: be prepared for an onslaught of vitriole for daring to suggest such a thing – I’ve experienced that myself. Over half our guests will be standing for our 20-30 minute ceremony, that is not only the norm at all the non-church weddings I’ve been to but also in weddings I’ve seen on Australian wedding blogs. Heck, at my brothers wedding we cleared the furniture from our lounge room and had everyone stand in there with ten seats at the front. I can assure you everyone survived & had a great time 🙂
Post # 12
@weatherbug: if you read the OP’s message, there will be other seating for the cocktail hour, just not for the ceremony.
Post # 13
You really need to spend the $500 and have seats for everyone. I know it’s a good chunk of change, but you need to make your guests’ comfort a top priority. Guests will show up 15-30 minutes early, your ceremony will probably start a few minutes late and go a few minutes longer than expected, and then guests will probably stand around and mingle after. So when all is said and done, they’d have to stand to closer to an hour, which is not very pleasant. I know I would be less than thrilled.
Plus, how would you decide who gets to sit in those 30 chairs? It’s not very fair to give VIP treatment to only some guests. And even if you reserve them for just the elderly or disabled, you have to keep in mind that you might have guests who look fine, but actually have a condition that makes it painful to stand for long periods of time. So then they go to sit down, but because the *look* fine, people will think them jerks – which is just awkward for all parties involved. Or you’ll get crazy Aunt Mabel who thinks she *deserves* a seat up close and takes one that you were reserving for pregnant friend.
Post # 14
The only ceremony I’ve attended as a guest standing was in a grove of redwood trees. No one was elderly, disabled, or pregnant and the whole thing only took 15 minutes. It was great.
However, I wouldn’t be pleased to have to play musical chairs for a ceremony that is 30min + whatever length of time I showed up before the ceremony + whatever length of time you’re running late.
Post # 15
I don’t think there’s a problem with standing for a SHORT ceremony. I have been to a wedding where most of the guests stood, and I can’t imagine that anybody took issue with it. There were a few seats for the grandparents and anybody not well enough to stand for that long, but I never thought, “Ugh, I wish I had a chair.”
Post # 16
In my mid-twenties I attended a wedding with the ceremony taking place in a historical hotel lobby. The young guests stood and the older guests were given priority on the lobby seating which was couches and chairs. I propped myself along a banister with about another 5 younger people. The ceremony was shorter than 30 minutes.
As long as you start on time and keep the cereminy brief I don’t think people will have a hard time standing. People will fidget because really no one stands in the same place for more than a few minutes in evrryday life. Even at the bank or grocery store every few seconds or minutes you move up a space.