Wedding Reception Forum
Options

Seating for older family members

The venue that we are having our reception at has picnic tables inside.  We are fine with that, and are doing an open seating chart, (I know, most will object to the open seating chart) but as of now it's what we are going with.  I'm prepared and ready to make changes if this turns into a bigger hassle than needed.   My FI and I are doing a sweetheart table and then my father is going to rent 4-5 rectangle tables and chairs for the wedding party and their SO's to sit with, as well as the parents/grandparents of the bride/groom. My FMIL brought up a good point as well as my mom, we both have several elderly people on each side who may find the picnic tables a hassle to get up and down from. (I am picturing my great uncle literally taking 10 minutes to swing his leg from one side to other other to get under it and out when he's done eating) So we opted to rent 2-3 more tables for those, like my great uncle to sit at rather than using the picnic tables.  No problem, my dad's okay with that.  Here is my dilemma. Two parts/kind of.
  • We planned on putting on these tables a "Reserved" sign for those who would be sitting at the rented tables with chairs.  Is that acceptable, as we are doing an open seating chart, yet we have specific signs for others? If they choose to sit else where, by no means would be mad/offended, we just want to offer that option for them. In the same regard, I wouldn't tell someone who may not necessarily be considered, "an elderly person" the right to sit at the table if they too find the picnic tables to be a hassle.
  • If we go with this plan and have a specific number of reserved tables, how would we even go about saying something to these people? I know that many of my family members in talking to  each other will hear about the set up and the tables that we've rented. 
  •  We also are having an outdoor tent/area with another bar set up and more of a lounge feel with cocktail tables and outdoor seating.  I don't anticipate on a lot of people hanging out at the tables all night, but I want people to be comfortable when they're eating, and of course when they're mingling with others and enjoying the reception.
  • Thanks for any input ladies! I'm in the early stages of this seating thing and nothing has been rented/finalized yet, so things could change. Just trying to get a handle on this now.
Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Seating for older family members

  • Options
    As I spoke with different venues/coordinators in the South (I'm originally from NY) they spoke of open seating.  I mentioned the concerns of not wanting some people being left standing, or having "important" people being too far away.  They said that reserved tables much like what you describe is often done; with no issues.   I would recommend putting such information on your website, or letting other family disseminate the information.   Wording could be something of "For people who may have difficulty getting up and down from the picnic tables, more traditional seating will be reserved"
  • Options
    I think it's rude to reserve seating, especially nicer seating, for part of the guest list and not for everyone.
  • Options
    NYCMercedesNYCMercedes member
    First Anniversary First Answer First Comment 5 Love Its
    edited March 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:101073f9-d986-49ec-9be8-c5724a98df93">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think it's rude to reserve seating, especially nicer seating, for part of the guest list and not for everyone.
    Posted by Joy2611[/QUOTE]

    I agree.

    It seems that since you are having so many at the reserved tables, I recommend you assign tables for all. Then everyone is treated the same as far as the escort cards.
  • Options
    Assigning tables would eliminate this headache.
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:83266ce7-a2c9-47f9-ba75-bdf592e3f703">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]Assigning tables would eliminate this headache.
    Posted by MrsGandthebeag[/QUOTE]

    I can assign tables, but I am still going to have elderly people in my family who are going to have difficulty with the picnic tables. It really isn't a matter of "who is important, versus who is not." It's more for those who find the picnic tables to be a pain in the arse to sit at.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    It may not be just "the elderly" that will have trouble with picnic tables.  If I'm in a skirt (especially a sheath or other tighter fit) and heels, getting into and out of the center of a picnic table would be a major pain.  Also anyone with back issues is not going to like sitting without back support for any length of time.
  • Options
    LoredLored member
    First Anniversary Name Dropper 5 Love Its First Comment
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:f9172422-485e-4376-9873-b6b227070462">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]It may not be just "the elderly" that will have trouble with picnic tables.  If I'm in a skirt (especially a sheath or other tighter fit) and heels, getting into and out of the center of a picnic table would be a major pain.  Also anyone with back issues is not going to like sitting without back support for any length of time.
    Posted by gailpete[/QUOTE]



    Yeah I agree with this. Especially, if you're in the middle, imagine being in a dress trying to "gracefully" get up?

    I also think its kind of rude to have reserved seating for only some of the guests. I think your intentions are good, it just sort of seems like tiered. As in, the important people have reserved (and nicer) seating, everyone else can just sit on a bench where there's room.
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:a70ddfc3-8331-414e-909d-d91706c572c1">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Seating for older family members : Agree. It is going to be difficult for women in skirts of dresses to climb into and out of the picnic tables without flashing the other guests. Can you just rent enough nicer seating for everyone?
    Posted by Liatris2010[/QUOTE]

    We could. The venue has about 40-50 of these tables. It's a barn setting, so that's why the picnic tables are their choice seating arrangement. It's perfect for what our theme and vision are for the reception setting.  They said we could rent tables to bring in, but they'd charge us for having someone have to move out all of the other tables and then we'd pay to have the ones we brought in set up by them. So we're looking at another 1000-1100 dollars to rent/set up/break down/ ect. Hmmmm, def. have some thinking to do. Thanks ladies!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    If renting all regular tables is in the budget, that would be the best option for you. 

    Second best would be assigned seating for all of your guests: you may be able to guess who needs to sit where, while avoiding just reserving a portion of the seating. I'd start by putting everyone you know will need normal seating in a normal seat, then trying to put women on the ends of tables, so they can scoot rather than climb to their seats.
     
    We used a public park pavilion for our reception, and the picnic tables were bolted down, so we couldn't move them. We rented a couple extra "normal" tables and chairs, and had a chair at each end of the picnic tables. Because in our area/circle/families assigned seating would be seen as rude, we had open seating. It worked out well for us, as we had plenty of extra seating and no one was forced to sit in the middle. People in short or tight dresses, and people with mobility issues, chose to sit on the ends or at the regular table, and it wasn't a big deal for our guests.

    Also, make sure your picnic tables, if wood, are freshly painted! It'll smooth over any splinters and keep clothes from getting snagged. 
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:13568993-b989-492d-a029-161fae85469a">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Seating for older family members : We could. The venue has about 40-50 of these tables. It's a barn setting, so that's why the picnic tables are their choice seating arrangement. It's perfect for what our theme and vision are for the reception setting.  They said we could rent tables to bring in, but they'd charge us for having someone have to move out all of the other tables and then we'd pay to have the ones we brought in set up by them. So we're looking at another 1000-1100 dollars to rent/set up/break down/ ect. Hmmmm, def. have some thinking to do. Thanks ladies!
    Posted by teachmegs1[/QUOTE]

    <div>Well, how formal is your wedding?  If you are expecting your guests to get at all dressed up (signaling with your invitation formality, etc.), I don't think picnic tables are appropriate.  </div>
  • Options
    I have a back injury, and I would never say 'oh god, I'm dying from lack of support. But golly gee, this sure matches the theme!'
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

    image

    Anniversary

  • Options
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_seating-for-older-family-members?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:a78bcb61-aae7-483e-979f-5a1e011af6c1Post:101073f9-d986-49ec-9be8-c5724a98df93">Re: Seating for older family members</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think it's rude to reserve seating, especially nicer seating, for part of the guest list and not for everyone.
    Posted by Joy2611[/QUOTE]

    I agree.  If anyone is going to have a hard time with the picnic tables, then they shouldn't be used.
  • Options
    I would put a sign that says "Reserved for Elderly or Disabled guests" and leave it at that..  The subway system here (SF Bay Area, CA) does the same thing with seats near the doors of the train (and it's the law, in that case). If anyone still has a problem with it, they can kiss your gorgeous, wedded butt. As for the open seating, perhaps you could still give people their place cards to mark their spot?
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards