Wedding Reception Forum
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Seating

I am having my reception in a small barn and it will fit about 150 people. There will be different things outside too, like a photo booth, benches, and other lawn games. I am just having desserts and summery drinks (lemonades and teas), not a sit down dinner. I have talked to several people who have said that it will be fine not to have a chair for every behind, especially since the barn won't hold that many. However, everyone on here seems to think that it is rude not to. I will have some seating, some taller tables, and seating outside. I do not want to do something just because of etiquette. Is it completely awful not to have seating for everyone? If you were going to the wedding of a close friend or family member, would you really hold it against them or remember if they didn't have a chair for every person? There will be seating for at least 50%. 
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Re: Seating

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    I know I wont stand the whole night and if I couldn't sit down I would leave.  if there aren't seats for everyone then im not sure if there would be a lot of mingling for fear of losing the seat. 
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    I agree with Stage; your wedding sounds lovely, I wouldn't taint it by not having enough seating. I was at a wedding two years ago like this; all seats were taken right away and didn't open up again frequently. When one was available, I felt badly using it as an able-bodied young adult at a wedding with lots of elderly people. I only wear heels to weddings and my feet were killing me; magically, the bridal party had all known to wear flip flops (invitations were formal so there was no predicting this). This is the first thing I remember when I think of that wedding, and its probably my number one wedding pet peeve in general.

    Not saying this to be mean, just trying to get the point across. Lack of sufficient seating can ruin an otherwise great wedding. Get lots of seats, have an awesome party. Your friends and family will have a great time!
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    You absolutely need a seat for every butt.  It's really a practical matter as much as an etiquette issue.  Even if people may not think, "how rude, I don't have a seat," they will think, "my back/knees/feet hurt, I wish I had a seat."  And they will leave.  Even if people seem like they are totally healthy, it's hard to stand in one place for a long time (DH and I both would be in pain), especially when you're wearing fancy shoes or trying to eat and drink. 

    We went to a rehearsal dinner that did not have enough seating for everyone.  The people that had chairs never budged, so there was no sharing the seats or mingling, and we left early.  
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    Please have a chair for every butt.  Your wedding really sounds lovely so don't irritate your guests by not giving 50% of them a place to sit.  Even if I were in comfy shoes eventually it would be nice to take a load off and sit down for a few minutes, but when you don't have enough seats for everyone then that is pretty impossible.

    I understand the look and feel you are going for so have a nice mix of high tops with stools and low cocktail tables with chairs, etc to give your wedding the mingling feel you want but still providing enough table space and chairs for everyone.


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    Please give everyone a chair!
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    I think you already asked this question or so a week ago. You have to have a chair for every bottom. 
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    You need a chair for every person. Not just because of "etiquette", but for guests comfort. As soon as people realize there isn't enough seating for everyone, they will park their ass or their purse or whatever they can find, on their chair and not move the whole night.

    Do this.  Go get dressed, and go stand in your front yard for an hour.  let me know how that feels.  Then go order rental chairs for EVERY person.

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    Making people experience pain at your wedding is pretty much the worst ettiquette offense. I'd forgive no food sooner than I'd forgive you contributing to my back injury.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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    Wow, I didn't realize everyone would be so rude. But I also just found this: http://forums.theknot.com/discussion/402740/cocktail-style-reception-seating-follow-up
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    We were trying to be helpful; the thing is, in most cases, if guests are upset about something like this they won't tell you, they'll put on a happy face and keep it to themselves. I really think your wedding sounds fun, you just need a chair for every person. I think, like Maggie said, it would be fine to play around with less-traditional configurations of the chairs.
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    I think that you should have more then 50% seating. Although many people will be up and dancing when you do things like the father daughter dance and cutting the cake people will want to sit. People also get territorial about their seats and may call dips on a seat for the entire night. I don't know if it is an issue of space or chairs but perhaps cover hay for extra, easy seating.
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    QueerFemmeQueerFemme member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited June 2013
    Wow, I didn't realize everyone would be so rude. But I also just found this: http://forums.theknot.com/discussion/402740/cocktail-style-reception-seating-follow-up

    You went and pulled a 3+year old post to prove that you aren't being rude?  Um, ok.
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    I actually love the idea of hay, but my dad is violently allergic :( there isn't a ton of room inside, but maybe I will do something indoors and outdoors. I could provide enough seating outdoors (with a tent in case of weather), and some indoors. I would have most of the desserts and drinks inside with some outside with other food. Dancing inside and maybe other activities still outside? Or would that be too segregated? The downstairs of the barn is used for storage, but we will be making a wall of old barn doors, which I will be decorating with pictures and flowers leading to the stairs, where the dancing and cake will be upstairs. 
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    You need a seat for everyone.  Not to is something people remember and side-eye.

    The rest of your plans sound wonderful.
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    Just because someone else's situation worked out well, doesn't mean yours will. Personally, I would be a very angry guest if I didn't have a place to sit. As a bride, I'd rather be prepared and risk not truly needing the extra seating than possibly cause my guests discomfort.

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    I actually love the idea of hay, but my dad is violently allergic :( there isn't a ton of room inside, but maybe I will do something indoors and outdoors. I could provide enough seating outdoors (with a tent in case of weather), and some indoors. I would have most of the desserts and drinks inside with some outside with other food. Dancing inside and maybe other activities still outside? Or would that be too segregated? The downstairs of the barn is used for storage, but we will be making a wall of old barn doors, which I will be decorating with pictures and flowers leading to the stairs, where the dancing and cake will be upstairs. 


    We had split seating/locations.  Our venue was glass though, so you could see the inside (where the dancing & stuff was) if you were outside. And the music was playing both inside and outside. 

    If this is your only option to provide enough seating, I think it's fine. Not ideal, but fine. I'd much rather have a place to sit somewhere, even if it's not in the middle of the action, than not at all.

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    I don't think this sounds like a good idea at all. It would be one thing if the two spaces were on the same level with great big barn doors open to encourage a flow. If people need to go up and down stairs I don't think they'll move around much. And since they came because it's your wedding, they'll want to be where you are. I see you inside and upstairs, crowded in with most of your guests getting grumpy because their feet hurt, with a few of your younger guests giving up on seeing you and just hanging out outside. I know it's free, but it's too small for the number of people you invited, so it comes at a cost.
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    I actually love the idea of hay, but my dad is violently allergic :( there isn't a ton of room inside, but maybe I will do something indoors and outdoors. I could provide enough seating outdoors (with a tent in case of weather), and some indoors. I would have most of the desserts and drinks inside with some outside with other food. Dancing inside and maybe other activities still outside? Or would that be too segregated? The downstairs of the barn is used for storage, but we will be making a wall of old barn doors, which I will be decorating with pictures and flowers leading to the stairs, where the dancing and cake will be upstairs. 

    What if you covered the hay bales with burlap or some strong material? That might help with allergies
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    sandbagger18sandbagger18 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited June 2013
    I'm not against it, I'm just trying to see my options. 
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    I'm just looking for options. There isn't enough room for all of the chairs. We are using the venue. We can use inside and outside, or a combination. I am not the only person planning this wedding, so all of it is not what I would prefer, but a combination of things. My parents cannot afford a big, fancy affair, and they are the ones footing the bill. However, as there are two families involved, and both of them are very big, the guest list is also larger than I would like. We've already crossed people off of the guest list, but it's not enough to have seating for all of them inside of the barn. I'm just trying to make things work somehow. Honestly, I am just excited to spend time with my guests and be married. I hope they don't care about every single detail and complain about it. I'm just stressed because right now, my parents aren't much help. I'm the first child to get married, and the first out of my friends. 
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    I'm just looking for options. There isn't enough room for all of the chairs. We are using the venue. We can use inside and outside, or a combination. I am not the only person planning this wedding, so all of it is not what I would prefer, but a combination of things. My parents cannot afford a big, fancy affair, and they are the ones footing the bill. However, as there are two families involved, and both of them are very big, the guest list is also larger than I would like. We've already crossed people off of the guest list, but it's not enough to have seating for all of them inside of the barn. I'm just trying to make things work somehow. Honestly, I am just excited to spend time with my guests and be married. I hope they don't care about every single detail and complain about it. I'm just stressed because right now, my parents aren't much help. I'm the first child to get married, and the first out of my friends. 
    It shouldn't matter how many people are planning this wedding. When it comes to number of seats there really aren't any other options but to have a chair for every butt. How you set it up is all up to you but you should have a chair for every single guest. Your guests won't care about every single detail, you are right there, but they will care if they can't sit down for 4 hours and have no place to put their jackets, purses, wraps, cameras, etc. And really the budget is not a good enough reason to only provide 50% of your guests with seats.

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    I'd say if you can't change the venue, having some chairs inside and some outside/upstairs is the next best option. It is better to spread the party out than not have enough chairs. I would make sure you make an effort to circulate a lot, and spread out the food/activities (which it sounds like you've already planned on).
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    edited August 2013
    Post removed due to GBCK


    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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    Please, PLEASE have enough chairs.  Not having enough chairs would make me leave once the discomfort is so bad that I couldn't stand it anymore.  I don't know about other people, but things like inadequate seating are very anxiety-provoking for me.  I would get very territorial about my seat, and just be miserable the whole time.  Of course, I'd never say it to your face, but I'd remember that for a LONG time.

    Can you talk to your venue about seating?  They might be able to offer some suggestions based on what they've seen in previous events.  Cutting the guest list is also a great option for both budget and seating, as hard as that is to do.  Your wedding sounds lovely, so I really hope you're able to work out the seating issue!

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    There isn't enough room for all of the chairs. We are using the venue. 

    Are you serious?
    If your venue doesn't have enough room for the chairs, don't invite as many. I wonder if your number of guests exceeds the number allowed to be in the building (when it comes to fire restrictions). How have other people who got married in your venue before seat their guests?

    As your parents are footing the bill: What is their opinion on this? My mom would ask me whether I was in the right might to be thinking I can cut back on chairs. People like to sit down once in a while. Even though it's nice to be hitting the dance floor, getting a drink and having a bite, after a few hours everyone is going to want to sit down for a minute. Nothing worse than having to prey down a seat before you can sit down. Some sort of seating arrangement close to the dance floor and/or bar might do the job though, too. 

    You should put your guests' comfort before the costs here (or cut down on the guest list).


     

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    I'm just looking for options. There isn't enough room for all of the chairs. We are using the venue. We can use inside and outside, or a combination. I am not the only person planning this wedding, so all of it is not what I would prefer, but a combination of things. My parents cannot afford a big, fancy affair, and they are the ones footing the bill. However, as there are two families involved, and both of them are very big, the guest list is also larger than I would like. We've already crossed people off of the guest list, but it's not enough to have seating for all of them inside of the barn. I'm just trying to make things work somehow. Honestly, I am just excited to spend time with my guests and be married. I hope they don't care about every single detail and complain about it. I'm just stressed because right now, my parents aren't much help. I'm the first child to get married, and the first out of my friends. 
    This is exactly what will happen if you don't have enough chairs.  This is an absolute must: Have enough seats for everyone.  Otherwise, they will complain and leave early, and they will be totally justified.
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    I'm just looking for options. There isn't enough room for all of the chairs. We are using the venue. We can use inside and outside, or a combination. I am not the only person planning this wedding, so all of it is not what I would prefer, but a combination of things. My parents cannot afford a big, fancy affair, and they are the ones footing the bill. However, as there are two families involved, and both of them are very big, the guest list is also larger than I would like. We've already crossed people off of the guest list, but it's not enough to have seating for all of them inside of the barn. I'm just trying to make things work somehow. Honestly, I am just excited to spend time with my guests and be married. I hope they don't care about every single detail and complain about it. I'm just stressed because right now, my parents aren't much help. I'm the first child to get married, and the first out of my friends. 

    You really should have thought this through BEFORE you booked the venue.  Your only option now, since you don't want to change the venue, is to invite less people.  Everyone needs a seat.

    Lesson for future brides:  First determine your budget, then your guest list, THEN pick an appropriate venue.

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    I want seating for everyone. There just wasn't enough space IN the barn. But I have finally convinced my parents to rent tables (Or hopefully borrow these nice tables that my friend's dad made from an old barn for his oldest daughter's wedding! They look VERY nice! My parents bought one from him and it's our new kitchen table) and a tent in case of rain. We will put these outside in the orchard and serve dinner there. We will have some seating and tables up in the barn too, along with refreshments. I know it is not ideal to have two levels, when it's not super open between the two, but we will make it work. We are going to have different things between the two to encourage movement and mingling. We will also make sure to walk around both areas, even after dinner and talk to everyone. The DJ and dancing will be up in the loft of the barn, making the dance floor bigger, but you will be able to hear the music out in the dinner area as well, just not as loudly. I am also wanting to have some benches and cute pillows as a lounge area by the main barn entrance and over in another area.
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