Have you ever been to a wedding with limited seating?

posted 3 years ago in Venue
Post # 2
2841 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

NolaBride30:  Are you talking about for the reception, or the ceremony?

Post # 4
6866 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I have been to a cocktail-style reception with limited seating, and I’ve got to say, I didn’t care for it. I hate trying to eat while balancing my drink in one hand and food in the other (especially if I’ve carried a clutch purse without a shoulder strap) and I hate standing up for several hours in a social setting. My feet get tired!! People who ended up having tables pretty much camped out at them, so if you didn’t get one at the start, you never had a table at all. It was unpleasant and we left a lot earlier than we usually do for weddings.

Post # 5
1413 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

How long is the reception? If it’s snacks for 45 minutes, that might work. If you want people to stay longer than a drink or two, they need chairs. 

Post # 6
964 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Merritt Winery


NolaBride30:  I have been.  The bride had taller tables around but there was a room that was able to fit several tables and chairs for guests who did not want to eat at the tall tables.  I was not a fan of it but it wasn’t my wedding, so who really cares! Do what you want and what works for you.  I’m not one to stick to ettiquette anyway.

Post # 7
713 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’ll have to agree with PP. I had to stand for an hour for the “cocktail hour” before the reception and halfway through, I was miserable and more worried about finding a chair than I was socializing (all the ladies were). If it’s a small thing, no biggie, but if it’s going to be a while I would suggest chairs. Even the bride was complaining, because her shoes were hurting her feet. Remember, most of the ladies will be in heels. If you can’t find a way to get  chairs, then maybe find a way to let people know they’ll be standing around. The bridesmaids and some of the other guests who stayed in the hotel had the opportunity to change their shoes, those of us who didn’t had no way of changing them. It does sound very lovely, though. 🙂

Post # 8
459 posts
Helper bee

I would try to figure out some way to get enough tables and chairs for everyone to eat at, unless you’re not doing a full meal for your reception.  Talk to the coordinators at your venue and see what usually works best, as they might have some tips.

Don’t stress out about it too much though; no matter what, it’s your wedding and it will work out in the end, even if some people don’t absolutely love it.

Post # 9
2841 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

NolaBride30:  Our reception had “limited seating”.  We had a formal wedding, but more cocktail style with heavy food.  It was on the main floor of a mansion- we opted NOT to do the ballroom because we liked the more intimate feeling.  It meant that if we choose to have enough seating for everyone, it would have been way to crowded.  

There was reserved seating for grandparents/elderly guests and family.  There was reserved seating for kids.  There was seating in the established bar area of the mansion, and then there were high tops scattered throughout.  There was no complaints at all- and plenty of seating for all- not all the seating was taken up!

We had about 100 guests, and seating for about 70.  

Post # 10
2915 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

NolaBride30: that style reception is pretty common in NOLA iirc. I went to a wedding in Nola and it was utterly charming. 2nd line, lots of booze, a streetcar from the church to the reception and a seating plan like what you described. It was one of the best, if not the best, reception I’ve ever attended. 

If your guests are traveling to NOLA, it might be useful to add information about your reception so they can have the right expectation. 

I’m a big believer of when in Rome, so I would love seeing the cultural influence on your wedding. can’t wait for recaps!

Post # 11
2057 posts
Buzzing bee

I am of the belief that hosts need to have seating for all guests.  You never know which guests may be dealing with conditions that make standing difficult (just because someone looks like they should be able to stand doesn’t mean that they easily can).  Also, whenever I am at a limited seating event when I am wearing heels, my mind is focused on getting and keeping my seat 100% of the time.  Seriously–every single thing I do, from deciding whether or not to get up to talk to people to deciding whether or not I’m going to eat is dictated by my desire to have a seat to go to when my feet start to hurt.

Also, just because people are not rude enough to complain loudly (about this sort of thing, or about anything you decide to do to your guests, really) doesn’t mean that they weren’t discomforted or that they don’t remember your wedding as “the one where I had to stay in a seat so I wouldn’t lose it” or “the one where I had marks on my feet for days because I couldn’t get a chair.”

Post # 12
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I have before and hate to say not a lot of people stuck around that long because they couldn’t sit and eat comfortably. 

Post # 13
1376 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I have chronic health problems which mean I cannot stand for very long. Receptions like this, I get singled out, side-eyed by the old people, either being seen as very rude for taking a seat or with way too many people up in my business. Also, without room for others to sit, I actually don’t get to socialize much at all. I’m off in a corner either by myself or with the grannies, away from where my friends can set their plates, getting wierd looks from the couple’s family. This type of reception is harder on me than on most people, sure, but they are not accommodating to anyone who is uncomfortable standing for hours, which includes plenty of people healthier than I.

I have been to a formal party in a house with chairs and tables in multiple smaller rooms for dinner, and then mingling/event/dancing areaa in a couple larger rooms, and it worked really well, so that may be another option.

Post # 14
540 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2017

I’ve been to a wedding similar to this. There were 3 rooms with chairs and tables in each, but by the time we got to the reception, the “main room” (where the food, band, and bride and groom were) was full, and we had a larger group of 12 that couldn’t find seating there. So, we ended up having to sit outside in the “third” room on a bench that couldn’t quite fit everyone. We were afraid to have all of us leave our bench in fear someone else would sit there, so we didn’t get to see the dances or interact with the bride and groom at all. When we went in for dinner and dancing, we had to alternate.

Not going to lie, I hated it and left earlier than originally anticipated.

Post # 15
12610 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would not be thrilled to find out there wasn’t enough seating for all guests.  To be honest, I’d probably leave early because I don’t want to be on my feet, in heels, for hours on end.

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