Post # 1
So we’ve run into an unexpected issue with our venue (ceremony and reception in same building). When we booked the venue, we were told that the cermony space held 60-80 guests in addition to the bridal party/officiant/musicians. This sounded perfect as our wedding is only 80 people at max total, which would be 65 seated guests if everyone attends. But apparently, we’ve just learned that there will only be seating for 40-50 guests. Our ceremony space is on a stairway platform, and the chairs will be set up on the stairs. It wasn’t until my most recent visit to the venue that they explained what that set up would look like, and they said “and then the rest of the guests will stand at the top platform”. Ummm.
We’re locked into the venue financially, and like everything else about it, so changing the venue isn’t going to happen. They do have an alternative ceremony space, but it’s not very pretty and we fell for this space when we chose this venue. Plus the second space is outdoors, and will be subject to the ever fluctuating weather. Several of our friends have already offered to be standing, but I feel bad as they’re traveling from far to be there. Also, there would still need to be several other guests standing. I guess it would be first come first serve for the seats otherwise?
Only three of our guests are elderly, and they will be in the front rows as they are immediate family (they’ll have access to the ceremony space via elevator and will not have to climb stairs), and no one else has any particular physical limitations, but I still feel like it’s awful to have them stand. Our ceremony is expected to be 15-20 min.
What would you do? Again, changing the venue isn’t an option, so I’m looking for advice on working with what we’ve got. Should we try for the plain outdoor space if weather permits? Should we put a sign up apologizing for the inconvenience? Warn everyone ahead of time? (A coordinator will be on site during the ceremony to direct guests, but I feel like we should still address it with the guests somehow?)
Post # 2
I would honestly be annoyed to have to stand as a guest. I would also put my guests comfort over my preference of ceremony location. Therefore, I’d say plan for the outdoor space and use the original as your backup then.
Post # 3
My goodness I would have confirmed the amount of people allowed to be invited several times before invitations went out, but it’s too late for that now lol
It’s a super unfortunate situation. People will be upset, but the shorter the ceremony is, the less upset people will be. Make sure people have fans if it’s going to be hot, and go every possible extra mile to keep people as comfortable and happy as possible.
Not much else you can do if THIS is the space you want to use.
Edit: Wait, your wedding isn’t until September. Why are you not inviting only 50 people then? you don’t need to send out invitations until July. It is infinitely better to cut your guest list than to make people stand.
Post # 4
Can they add chairs where people would be standing? Even if they were different? Otherwise, I would opt for guest comfort over dream space. You will be at the same venue, so just get pictures on the stairs after the ceremony. And chairs being set up on stairs? That sounds like a fall waiting to happen. If it was me, I’d do the outside site. See what they can do in case of inclement weather (tent, bigger space inside, heaters, fans, etc.) and book someplace where everyone will have a place to sit.
Post # 5
- Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise
So I ended up having a similar problem.
Our venue space for the ceremony is quite small, but the capacity chart said 25. Great, we were inviting 24 people. No problem.
Come to find out it only worked for 25 people at a standing cocktail reception event. Seated, it only held 20. We had already invited 26 people and had one decline.
Also, I am a dope and hadn’t counted ourselves in that number. So we had 27 people in a space that only held 20. All of the alternative spaces were literally THOUSANDS of dollars more expensive.
I called the coordinator and told her about my error. She was super helpful and we came up with a solution that would allow for everyone to sit. By excluding the signing table (which is typically in the ceremony space) we were able to squeeze in enough chairs to make it work. Then after all that, we ended up having more declines than I expected.
If you haven’t already, I would discuss your concerns and ask if there is any adjustment that can be made to your setup that would accomodate more chairs.
Failing that, I would simply invite fewer people. Even though people might volunteer to stand, it’s really the case that the space is too small to host everyone comfortably. Err on the side of making sure everyone has a seat, and you’ll be a lot less stressed in the long run.
Post # 6
So what’s your plan for your reception? Were you doing a seated reception as well or is your reception going to be cockatail style? I would be a little put off if I had to stand through the ceremony but I’d be extremely annoyed if I couldn’t sit at the reception as well. Can you do the ceremony and reception in the outside space with a tent and then do your cocktail hour in the original space during the flip? At least that way you can utilize the space you love without inconveniencing your guests.
Post # 7
I have to admit, I’m really curious about your venue. Chairs on stairs? Are they extremely wide stairs? Any chance you could share a photo of the space? Maybe if we see it, we might have some suggestions on making it work.
Post # 8
If more guests are attending that you can accommodate seated, then you need to switch ceremony venues. It’s rude to make guests stand at your ceremony. I’m 4 months pregnant and not showing (so it’s not someone will offer me their seat by looking at me) and will be peeved if I had to stand for at least 30 minutes (even though your actual ceremony is only 20 mins, guests will be there before and after) for someone’s ceremony without a place to sit.
Post # 9
I would work with your venue coordinator to find some way to find seats for everyone or cut your list. Even people who think they are fine with standing don’t take into consideration that they are standing for a lot longer than the 15-xx minute ceremony. How short is yours?
Can you just take photos beforehand on the stairs?
Post # 10
I’ve never been to or heard of a wedding that had a portion of the guests standing during the ceremony so I would be really taken aback.
Also chairs set up on stairs sounds like an absolute health and safety nightmare, I would go with the other space. It sucks as it isn’t as pretty but the current space just isn’t practical for your ceremony.
Post # 11
I would 100% try for the outdoor space as your Plan A, then if the weather doesn’t cooperate move it inside and make that your Plan B. I’m not typically a stickler for all things, but weddings don’t often start on time and women are in heels and it gets uncomfortable fast.
I went to a wedding where they didn’t have enough seating and it started about 45 minutes late and then to top it off, they didn’t have seating at dinner for everyone. It was cocktail style, so we were all standing around extremely uncomfortable while eating.
Post # 12
…I’d stand but I really wouldn’t like it, especially if I wore heels to your wedding. This will definitely be a problem for older guests (other than the elderly ones) and it is unfair to ask them to stand for more than five to ten minutes. And pregnant people, as a PP mentioned.
Was this a misunderstanding or did the venue provide inaccurate specs? If the venue gave you incorrect information that you relied before making your deposit, then it is their fault that you are in this situation. Had you known that they could only accommodate a fraction of the number of guests you want at your wedding, then you might have chosen a different venue. You should ask that they provide you with the larger ceremony site for a reduced cost. Honestly, I’d try to get my deposit back and find another venue so that no guests have to stand. It is shady that they didn’t tell you about guests having to stand in advance.
Also, I second the request for pictures of the venue. Maybe we can come up with a creative solution.
Post # 13
As a few other Bees have suggested, talk to your venue and see what alternatives there are.
People arrive before the ceremony, so a 15-20 minute ceremony is going to have people standing double that time easily. You may only have 3 elderly guests but you’ll also have people with hidden health issues / injuries that make standing uncomfortable and many of the women in high heels. I would make whatever adjustments necessary for each guest to have a chair.
And those who have offered not to have a seat are trying to help you out of a bind, it still isn’t ideal for them. Also, would the people standing even have a good view or would they have other guests standing in front of them?
I’d also like to see the seating on stairs arrangement, I’m not understanding how that would work or be safe. Is it possible the indoor area you chose isn’t even adequate for the amount of chairs they are providing?
Post # 14
omg this sounds like my nightmare.
Post # 15
I’m having a backyard wedding where people will stand, but there will be some seating throughout the yard. I’ve stood at ceremonies before. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, as long as you have some chairs for people who need them, and the ceremony is short. People stand way longer at bars/concerts/on the subway/at cocktail parties!