Post # 1
I really hope there are some bees who can help me out here. Our wedding is going to be at a manor house in Sweden, during the summer. We plan to have the ceremony outside in the hedge garden, followed by a reception in the main house.
My fiance told me yesterday that he believes there is not enough room to pack out chairs for the guests during the ceremony. I have not actually seen the garden myself (I don’t live in Sweden) so I was not aware of this. To me this seems completely wrong, but he thinks it’s okay, and that in Sweden it’s quite acceptable to expect guests to stand for the ceremony if it’s outside. Do you think it’s all right to leave the guests standing?
Some other relevant details:
We are having a small wedding with only 23 guests, and apart from our parents, no-one there will be over the age of 40. There will be two women with small babies, but no other children. The terrain is grass, but its quite even. Our civil ceremony will be brief (+/-30 minutes) at around 4pm (the sun only sets around 11pm at that time of year) and the weather should be warm, but not hot.
Post # 3
For such a small wedding… everyone young and healthy… as long as you start ON TIME and keep it less than 30 minutes, no biggie. It would ease the burden on your guests if you had a lemonade dispenser or something else so they could have a refreshing drink while they waited. But no one ever died from standing up for a little while. As well, if your FH says that it’s normal where he lives, perhaps it is, and will be more or less expected for many guests.
I’d also warn guests about it ahead of time and suggest they wear comfortable shoes. But I wouldnt find it more than a momentary annoyance if I were a guest.
Post # 4
@lyra: standing for 30 min straight could be kind of uncomfortable. Especially if you have elderly guests or anyone with medical issues like a back problem. If everyone is young healthy & spry it should be ok.
Post # 5
I wouldl have a few chairs for select people (maybe grandparents or anyone else you might think might need something). We’re having a wedding of 80-90 and there’s only like 40-50 chairs in teh small garden. The venue said they used to put out more, but they were far away from the altar so people ended up getting closer and standing just to hear things! We plan on having a short ceremony but I’m not sure how we’re going to make sure those seats go to those that really need them.
Post # 6
I’m young and otherwise healthy, but I have a bad foot. If I had to stand for thirty minutes at your ceremony (especially in any kind of heels), I would not be able to enjoy your reception because I would be in enough pain that I would have to sit for the rest of the event. If you are having a small ceremony, make sure you know that every single one of your guests will be able to handle it. Just because a person is young does not mean that they don’t have an invisible ailment that you don’t know about. I probably would not go, if I was expected to stand for that long.
Post # 7
Keep in mind that a 30 minute ceremony actually leaves guests standing in heels for 45 + minutes, as people don’t arrive exactly at the start time, nor are they seated as soon as you kiss the bride. So more then likely you are asking for an hour of standing on grass, in heels.
Basic hosting responsibilites include having appropriate seating. Not everyone who looks young or spry is. And people don’t always reveal their medical issues.
Post # 8
@lyra: I’m Swedish and I’m getting married in Sweden the day after you!
In general, your FI is right – no chairs will work fine. Everyone is young and should have no problem what so ever to stand through the ceremony. In my experience, Swedes are much more “self propelled” than the average person in North America – so standing up for 30 minutes should be ok. What you could do, in case you’re short on chairs, is to ask people to bring their own folding chair. That way they can be unfolded if needed, otherwise they won’t take any extra space.
Hope you have a lovely wedding – I guess it’s up in the north based on the light factor? We’re getting married in Norrbotten. 🙂
Post # 9
We had guests stand for our 10 minute garden ceremony. The guests arrived about 20 minutes earlier and had cocktails and snacks, then the ceremony happened, then we had about 45 more minutes of cocktails and appetizers. Benches were available for those who wanted to sit, so the only time they had to stand was for the 10 minute ceremony as the ceremony spot was not easily viewed from the benches.
Post # 10
Thank you so much to the bees who replied, I appreciate all your opinions! We are asking the venue co-ordinator to help us with some alternative suggestions, such as having some benches off to the side for people to use while waiting before the ceremony, and perhaps having chairs for the ladies only. We’ll also be informing the guests in advance.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of not having chairs. Not only because of the obvious comfort issues, but also because it seems less organised. I think part of the problem is that I would not have chosen a garden wedding if it was only up to me; for me the ideal ceremony venue is a church. But for various reasons, that is definitely not an option.
I have resolved in my own mind that even if the situation is not going to be ideal, it is not important enough of an issue to warrant major unhappiness or worrying, or even worse, unnecessary conflict.