Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Ceremony Seat Concerns

Please send your advice.... I'm having an outdoor ceremony-- 115 people..I was told by the venue to only get 40 chairs for the older people.. since the ceremony is only 15-20 mins... I'm 2 weeks out & I just told... how the heck do I let the guest know the seating is for the older guests only?? Please help.........THANKS

Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    My daughter's ceremony venue told her the same thing. That is one of the very of the very few times that I spoke up. The guests that arrive first will have no way of knowing that the seats are reserved for older people. Many older gentlemen will not take a seat, as long as there are ladies standing. There are younger guests who have difficulty standing for more than a few minutes. And it's just plain impolite to not provide something as basic as a chair for every single guest.

    Check out your local party rental stores for chairs. If necessary, cut back on the flowers, invitations or party favors, but pay for chairs, please.
                       
  • Sorry but you need to rent 1 chair per person.
     
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  • They venue won't allow any more chairs... there is plenty of room but it's on a very manicure lawn/area.... So I don't think they want us to ruin it.... I just didn't think of it until right now!!! Today.. 2 weeks from today... so I have to deal with only having 40 chairs but how do I get this across to everyone.... Do I try to get the work out at the rehearsal dinner?
    Do I make a sign...."Choose a seat, not a side & please reserve for older guests"
  • Why would you make a sign that says choose a seat when guests don't have seats?  There is no unrude way to do it.  Is there anywhere else on the property you could move the ceremony to that would allow for more chairs? Although they may not tell you to your face your guests will not be happy about having to stand.
     
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Use the garden for pictures only. Have the ceremony at your reception venue.
                       
  • H and I usually show up early for weddings.  For a 15-20 minute ceremony with no chair we would probably be standing for 45 minutes or so.    My husband just had knee surgery, and even though he's not on crutches anymore, he absolutely cannot stand for more than about 5 minutes, but he would rather DIE than sit down if I had to stand up.    We would probably struggle to make it through the ceremony, and have to leave before the reception because of his pain level.

    Please try this experiment.  Put on nice shoes, and go stand in your lawn for 45 minutes.   Then see how you feel about chairs.   

    Was this chair issue mentioned in your contract at all?   Is there anywhere else on the property that you can hold the ceremony that will allow for more seating?  What about doing benches intead of individual chairs (fewer feet = less damage)??   


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  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Michelle, you had a knee injury 2 months ago and had to have surgery on it.  I cannot believe you would knowingly inflict this on your guests in light of that.



  • Read you rcontract right now.  If it says that you can have no more than forty seats then you are screwed - and so are your guests.  If it doesn't say anything, start raising holy hell with them.
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  • I agree to read the contract. If it says nothing about the 40 chairs, raise a stink. Honestly tell them this was NEVER mentioned until right now and you are having a chair for every person.

    If it was in the contract and you didn't see it, well, you don't have a leg to stand on really. HOWEVER, I would move my ceremony before I would make my guests stand. Is there someplace else at that venue that you could move it to? If not, do like a PP suggested and take pics there but host your ceremony at the reception site. I would rather have the hassle of rearranging things now than  make any of my guests stand.


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  • This may be a stupid question, but are you ABSOLUTELY sure they won't let you pay for more chairs? I say this because my venue said they allowed a maximum of forty chairs in the garden. I was like, "How would that work when I'm inviting 102 people?" Turns out, all they meant was that only 40 chairs were included in the ceremony fee. We had to rent the other chairs for $3.50 a piece, plus a $75 set-up and breakdown fee. This is absolutely a mandatory expense.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    If you have more than 40 guests but your venue, according to your contract, won't allow seating for more than 40, you've got a big problem.

    There needs to be a seat for everyone at the ceremony and at the reception, not just the elderly or disabled.  It's definitely mandatory-to not do so would really be rude.

    If necessary, hold the ceremony and reception in locations where everyone can have a seat.  Use the existing one for photography, dancing, or something like that, but don't accept pressure from the venue to limit seating to fewer than the number of guests.
  • Ditto everyone else.  You must provide a seat for every person.  You have a lot of options:

    • Check the contract and make sure the limit is in there; if not, they have to let you have them
    • If you cannot have chairs at that space, look for another area at the venue where you can have them
    • If you cannot have chairs anywhere at the venue, look into an alternative seating option - something like haybales or even long coolers covered with a blanket that don't have legs to ruin a lawn
    • If that isn't an option, move the ceremony to the reception location and call your guests to tell them of the change NOW
    • If that isn't an option, youv'e screwed your guests over.  Call each and every one of them and let them know there will not be seating at the ceremony.  That way they can plan accordingly.

  • I agree with the others to double check your contract. And try looking for alternative seating, if chairs messing up the lawn are the issue.

    I'm not elderly and I can not stand for that long due to other issues. As the pp pointed out, the ceremony might only be 15-20 minutes, but that's still a long time for me, especially when yuou consider the standing time while I wait for the ceremony to begin.

    You can't always tell just by looking at someone whether or not they can stand for what ever period of time. That's terrible of your venue to assume that just because you're not elderly, you're good to stand for any period of time.
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  • Ditto with everyone else. I have chronic pain and would have to leave before the ceremony even started. The other day I raised a stink because my mom and I went to a Chinese action and they had little to no seating. I ended up sitting on the floor for a bit because they didn't provide enough chairs for everyone. I wasn't happy.
  • Another vote for checking your contract and/or moving your ceremony location if you can't add additional chairs.  I am another person that has trouble standing in one place for more than 5 minutes.  I have a knee injury. I can walk fine, but standing still KILLS my knee.  I would spend the rest of your reception icing my knee and hobbling around.

    Honestly, this is the one time I would recommend going complete apeshit on a vendor.   tell them that chairs for every guest is MANDATORY, and they need to figure out a way to make it happen, and you will pay the extra expense.  In my experience, even if the 40 is in the contract, if you are willing to cough up the extra money, they will find  away to make it work.

    there is absolutely NO way to tell guests that the 40 chairs are for the elderly or disabled. It is rude, rude, rude.    Fix the problem, not the signage.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:705ea954-878c-4924-8e9c-e06d9b1d451b">Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]Another vote for checking your contract and/or moving your ceremony location if you can't add additional chairs.  I am another person that has trouble standing in one place for more than 5 minutes.  I have a knee injury. I can walk fine, but standing still KILLS my knee.  I would spend the rest of your reception icing my knee and hobbling around. Honestly, this is the one time I would recommend going complete apeshit on a vendor.   tell them that chairs for every guest is MANDATORY, and they need to figure out a way to make it happen, and you will pay the extra expense.  In my experience, even if the 40 is in the contract, if you are willing to cough up the extra money, they will find  away to make it work. <strong>there is absolutely NO way to tell guests that the 40 chairs are for the elderly or disabled. It is rude, rude, rude</strong>.    Fix the problem, not the signage.
    Posted by cmgilpin[/QUOTE]

    I would also add that those who are lucky enough to get the chairs are going to be uncomfortable and unhappy.  I was at a wedding where I was one of the priviledged few and it was not a comfortable position to be in.  What OP is proposing is likely also to produced a lot of older gentlemen refusing to take a chair while there are ladies standing.
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  • Ditto to all PP's - It will be uncomfortable for those standing AND sitting.
    Reivew your contract. Whatever you do, wherever you do it, find a way for all of your guests to have a seat.
  • edited October 2012
    What about if you spread a nice sheet or blanket on the ground in front of the chairs, so that people who feel like they'd be judged for sitting on the chairs can sit there? If you want to be really fancy, you could even throw a few pillows down there.

    In terms of who would take the chairs or not, I'm pretty sure your guests would instinctively know that those who have a harder time getting up and down would get the chairs, and everyone else would get the (nicely covered) ground.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:8a0c46e7-8f9e-45b5-9e71-b2d070ebcbe8">Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]What about if you spread a nice sheet or blanket on the ground in front of the chairs, so that people who feel like they'd be judged for sitting on the chairs can sit there? If you want to be really fancy, you could even throw a few pillows down there. In terms of who would take the chairs or not, I'm pretty sure your guests would instinctively know that those who have a harder time getting up and down would get the chairs, and everyone else would get the (nicely covered) ground.
    Posted by DocileDoom[/QUOTE]

    this has to be in the top 20, well, maybe 50, most stupid suggestions I've seen here.

    I would be furious if I put on a dress and heels and my only seating option was to sit on a pillow or blankie in front of the other guests who were seated, in front of the other guests who had to stand behind them.

    Ridiculous.

    OP - I hope you come back and tell us how you decided to accomodate your guests.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:df319d52-bb33-4230-b018-dc9c05dbb50e">Re:Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re:Ceremony Seat Concerns: Are you serious? You want to put people on the GROUND? Would YOU sit on the ground in a knee length or shorter dress and heels? And for the record, you seem to have missed the part where an injury or disability is not always visible. I get up and down just fine until AFTER I've done something to agitate my knee, like trying to stand in one spot for 45 minutes because some bride was too cheap to provide seating for all of her guests.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I am serious. The majority of her guests are not likely to have problems with standing. Sitting on the ground allows for added comfort, and if one guest needs to sit in a chair whilst the other doesn't, the blanket being nearby allows for one person to sit in the chair without both people taking up seats.

    If you have a problem doing *anything* in heels or a short skirt, you should wear flats/a longer skirt to the wedding. If you wouldn't be okay sitting in heels, how would you feel walking on soft ground in heels? No one will mind if guests dress both nicely and sensibly. If the bride would like to ensure that no one shows up without considering that the ceremony is outdoors, she can simply state on her wedding website that flats are recommended.

    As for the agitated knee, I don't think anyone would judge you for taking a seat if you needed it. There would be 40 seats provided, after all. If someone else seems put off, simply explain your knee situation and bam, that person won't cast sideways looks at you anymore (or whatever you're assuming guests do to other guests at weddings).
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:ad3d3444-3e71-4bc1-89e1-1bd851379a8d">Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns : this has to be in the top 20, well, maybe 50, most stupid suggestions I've seen here. I would be furious if I put on a dress and heels and my only seating option was to sit on a pillow or blankie in front of the other guests who were seated, in front of the other guests who had to stand behind them. Ridiculous. OP - I hope you come back and tell us how you decided to accomodate your guests.
    Posted by cmgilpin[/QUOTE]
    I'm sorry, but I really don't understand how this would be insulting. The other posters at least had a disability, but you're saying that your dignity would be offended? Have you never sat on the floor before? There's a reason that it happens so often even in rooms with an abundance of furniture; it's super casual and fun.

    That might or might not be the vibe this wedding party is going for, but I don't understand how it would be insulting. It would be like a mass picnic while watching the wedding (without food yet, though, just good company). The chairs are included for elderly or people with disabilities, so it's not like some people are being shown favoritism. The people on the blanket are just showing courtesy to the others.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:bb90890b-e179-4294-9d22-577c02dcb6b6">Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]Docile Doom, some people have as much difficulty getting up and down.  You'd have to ask someone for their seat. You'd be amazed at how awkward this is, and how rude other people can be about it.  Furthermore....they won't be able to see. They'll be on the ground behind people in chairs. This bride is being rude to her guests, and needs to make accommodations for them. Period.
    Posted by RetreadBride[/QUOTE]

    I actually suggested putting the people on the ground in front of the seats, but that is neither here nor there.

    I did not consider awkwardness in asking others for their seats. I suppose it's something that I've never had to deal with from friends and family since most people I know would chose to forgo a seat anyway. That might not be true for the OP's friends and family.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_ceremony-ideas_ceremony-seat-concerns?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:10Discussion:804e1edd-9f58-46a5-a1c4-d372fcace8a4Post:d099ac70-927f-4e84-be8a-7f19945dc9bf">Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Ceremony Seat Concerns : I'm sorry, but I really don't understand how this would be insulting. The other posters at least had a disability, but you're saying that your dignity would be offended? Have you never sat on the floor before? <strong>There's a reason that it happens so often even in rooms with an abundance of furniture;</strong> it's super casual and fun. That might or might not be the vibe this wedding party is going for, but I don't understand how it would be insulting. It would be like a mass picnic while watching the wedding (without food yet, though, just good company). The chairs are included for elderly or people with disabilities, so it's not like some people are being shown favoritism. The people on the blanket are just showing courtesy to the others.
    Posted by DocileDoom[/QUOTE]

    I have never seen this in a room unless there are no longer available seats and even then, only in close family or friend gatherings.  You invite people to a wedding, you give them a chair or bench or freaking hay bale to sit on.
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
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