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September 2012 Weddings

Outdoor Wedding - uneven surface - need chairs?

My church venue and reception venue are not super close together. The reception is at a beautiful lake visitor center with amazing views and they have this perfect place for a ceremony outside... however, the ground surrounding it wouldn't be suitable for chairs. It has a bit of slope. 

The overlook has a beautiful path (aka wedding aisle) winding through a garden  and it's surounded by enough stone amphitheatre seating to seat about twenty or thirty people (the escorted parents, grandparents, as well as the elderly, heavy, and injured, etc).

Rain plan would be inside the center but it's not my first choice by all means. 

Should I go with the church and make guests drive the fifteen minutes or is it okay to use the awesome lake view at our reception site and have the able guests stand or sit on sheets/blankets?

We're country people and very laid back and the wedding will be nice, but also countryish... We cannot afford to rent two hundred or so chairs, nor could they be set there. Hay bales are also out of question, as everyone around here uses the large round ones. 

What do you guys think? I googled it and saw some pretty ones like this.. but would my guests be upset?

the ceremony would be very quick - twenty minutes tops - if we do it like this...
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Re: Outdoor Wedding - uneven surface - need chairs?

  • A 15 mintue drive is not a long drive at all for your wedding guests.  With that being said I would say go with your first choice. If you really want a church wedding definitely do it! BUt you like the idea of getting married at your venue I would say do that, personally I wouldn't want me ot guests to stand through the whole ceremony (even if it is only 20 minutes)... but thats just me.
  • I think the outside venue would be beautiful... but, if you can't figure out a way to seat your guests on chairs or some other sort of bench, I say stay in the church.   20 minutes doesn't seem like a long time, and really isn't when you are walking.  But standing still for 20 minutes is no fun.  

    I know your wedding is going to be casual, but I don't think sitting on blankets/sheets is really an option.   Can you rent picnic benches?
  • If you can't find seating,  I would stick with the church. 20 minutes in the grass in stilettos wouldn't be pleasant lol. 
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  • you should do what you want to do!....it will not kill them to stand for 20min....and for the older guests....maybe some sort of portable seat?
  • I would say have the ceremony in the church if you can't provide seating for everyone.  If you think about it, guests will be standing longer than 20 minutes.  Most guests will get there 15-20 minutes before the ceremony starts, so they will be standing about 40 minutes.  That's a long time to stand in one spot especially if they are older or have problems with their knees/legs.  Be considerate of your guests and make them comfortable while they witness your ceremony.
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  • I personally would have a very hard time standing on an uneven surface while dressed up for that long, and I'm not one of the 'older guests'. I have had knee surgery, and many friends are not aware of that so I wouldn't be 'taken into consideration' in a situation like that... you may not know that its going to be a problem for someone. The distance to the church is not far at all, I would definitely recommend doing the church.
  • well I definitely can't rent chairs or benches due to cost. And saving the church money would really help. I may have it outside at the reception venue and just warn guests ahead of time.

    There is enough seating for 30 or so people.. and there are some benches to seat another 15 or so.  I suppose anyone who doesn't want to stand could go on inside... I don't want to be a horrible bride.. but I'm not sure I can come up with enough money for both venues. 

    My "wedding planner" is going to come see them both with me and help me decide. This is a tough one...
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  • QueerFemmeQueerFemme member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 2012
    Probably a good idea to go back with your coordinator and see what your options are.  As previous poster mentioned... most of them will arrive a minimum of 15 minutes early, some as early as 40 minutes.  So, you could have people standing for 35 minutes to an hour. 

    Are you saying anyone who doesn't want to stand can go inside and miss your ceremony?   I know you are on an extreme budget and you are doing a GREAT job... but, I urge you not to have a wedding where your guests can not sit down.  Even some perfectly healthy younger adults have trouble standing in one spot for 30-60 minutes.  And asking them to stand on an uneven slope is even worse.  Even if they CAN physically stand for that long, it's incredibly uncomfortable.  You will end up with a whole crowd of people not paying attention to your ceremony or vows because they just want it to END already so they can go in and sit down.

    Maybe you could just go to that spot and take pictures instead of having your ceremony there?   If you can't find a way to seat the guest for the ceremony, I recommend sticking with the church.   No matter how country or casual your wedding is...  people still want to sit down.  And don't want to sit on a carpet or sheet in a skirt or dress.
  • PS. if you don't use the church, will that save you enough money to rent the extra chairs?  The other option is, does the venue you are using for the reception have enough chairs?  Can you use your reception chairs and then have a few people move them back inside for the reception?
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