Post # 1
Alright Hive, something I’ve been pondering… Our wedding/reception venue are the same. The wedding will take place on a great big open lawn, and the reception on a stone patio/inside a big stone mansion. We are expecting 125 guests and plan to have a fairly short ceremony, no longer than a 1/2 hour. The venue provides all furniture (for dinner and such, as is standard) but NO furniture that is allowed on the lawn. So we are going to have to rent chairs for our ceremony. The first caterer we met with said that although we could rent 125 if we wanted, the cost of that deterred most couples from renting for all their guests (at our venue) and the caterer suggested we rent 40 chairs and let the rest of our guests stand. We didn’t go with this caterer, for other reasons, but wouldn’t you be upset if invited to an outdoor wedding where the majority of guests were expected to stand through the ceremony? OR is this a common thing, I shouldn’t waste money on extra chairs, no one would mind, the ceremony isn’t that long? I think I’d want to sit, but maybe people do what the caterer suggested all the time? What do you think?
Post # 3
If the ceremony is at the same place as the reception you will probably get more of a turn out at the ceremony then if you were to have them at different locations so I would plan on having most of the 125 need seats. But that is just me, if the ceremony isn’t going to be that long then maybe only provide 1/2-3/4 of the number of guests.
Post # 4
Well, my prefrence would be to have enough seats available for people to sit. If chairs were there, people would sit on them, right? There was a thread not too long ago, basically dealing with this issue. Most people said it wasn’t that big of a deal to have folks stand. I’m not sure if it’s a "big deal" but if you can, I think it would be considerate to have chairs. I don’t know how much of a financial burden it is, but if you can I’d recommend not sacrificing the comfort of your guests.
Post # 5
Thanks guys! I was pretty much leaning towards the more chairs the better anyway! @Tanya123: Thank you for summing up that thread, I must have missed it!
Post # 6
If possible, I would try to have chairs for all your guests. If that’s not an option, I’d do my best to ensure the ceremony starts on time and is short and sweet. I’d also try to spread the word through family/friends that guests will be standing during the ceremony. As a wedding guest, I would appreciate knowing beforehand if I were going to be standing on a lawn during the ceremony…I would know not to wear stiletto heels! 🙂
Post # 7
I think having enough chairs for all your guests is great if you can afford it. I know that I would expect a seat at a wedding that I was invited to, even it meant eating chicken instead of beef (or something else that you could change up in your reception to save a little money to fund the chairs) later.
Plus, saving seats for family/elderly/those with special needs is a good idea, but what if someone happens to take one of those seats? Or what if 20 are reserved, and the other 20 aren’t… who gets those?
Post # 8
I went to a wedding where only immediate family and elderly got seats. It was 80 plus degrees in the sun and we got there early and had to stand for an hour. It was awful and I felt bad but by the time the ceremony came around I just wanted it to end. If you can I’d highly recommend having seats.
Post # 9
From a photographer’s standpoint, get the chairs! Get them, get them, get them. Please.
We did a wedding where there were not enough chairs, and we had a really hard time shooting over guests without getting totally in the way (and I really hate it when I have to block the view, even for a moment). Also, it seemed to encourage lots of distraction and movement during the ceremony-which meant that the guests got in our way a lot. We worked it out, but it definitely presented a challenge that we would have liked to avoid!
Post # 10
I went to a wedding where there were only seats for the immediate family. Even though that ceremony was VERY short, I think that it was harder to focus on the ceremony. As a previous poster said, standing can create many distractions. Standing at a party is very different than standing still for a ceremony, when a half hour can become a really long time.
If possible, I think you should have seats for all guests. They will certainly appreciate it and in turn will appreciate your ceremony that much more!
Post # 11
I think it’s ok not to have chairs for every guest but with a few caveats:
(1) you give the guests ample warning in your invitation inserts and/or on the website so they wear comfortable, lower-heeled shoes
(2) the ceremony is under 20 minutes from start to finish. You have to figure that people aren’t only standing for the ceremony– they’re standing from the time they arrive and for socializing afterwards. If they arrive 30 minutes in advance and chat for 10 minutes afterwards, that’s a whole hour of standing for a 20 minute ceremony.
(3) your wedding isn’t scheduled for a particularly hot time of year or at the hottest time of day. A ceremony for 3 pm in Phoenix in August is not going to be pleasant for anyone.
Post # 12
Thank you everyone! I kind of thought it was a little strange when my caterer recommended this, maybe bc they would be doing the ste-up/clean-up they thought the fewer chairs the better! Also, I hadn’t thought of it from the photographer’s stand point, you’re totally right! People standing would be distracting, they would get in the way, and they’d look better all seated in photos :o)
Post # 13
awesome timing! i have been having the same debate! my caterer suggested it too, but it seems kind of awkward to me… thanks for the timly thread and advice!
Post # 14
I’ve been to outdoor weddings with enough seats for all, with some chairs, and with none at all. As some of the other posters have noted, if you anticipate that it will be hot and sunny, having seats for everyone is recommended. If the ceremony is on the shorter side (30 minutes or so plus a little waiting time), having seating for some of the guests like elderly grandparents and reserved seating for family (parents, siblings, godparents, etc) is recommended. I would think some chairs are also helpful for indicating to standing guests where the aisle is so they don’t stand in the way. If you want to go the very informal route, then no seating is required –just keep the ceremony short and sweet. I would take the photographer’s comments seriously. Ask your own photographer for their opinion!
Post # 15
@Katie, I could have written your post and was glas to see all the answers!
Post # 16
I think I would be slightly miffed if I had to stand during a ceremony even if it was just 30 minutes.