One way to give your wedding a casual, celebratory feel is to skip the ceremony seating altogether. This works best for short, casual beach weddings or weddings, where the ceremony takes place in the middle of the reception. Keep in mind that you may have older guests, or others who find it difficult to stand even for short periods of time, and if you're having a beach wedding your female guests should be warned about the perils of sand and high heels.
For smaller weddings, seating people on all sides of the bride and groom creates an intimate feel. If you're considering this idea, make sure that you, your groom and your officiant are all aware of the guests sitting in various sections, and that different parts of the wedding are focused in different directions. The "round" doesn't have to be taken literally, a square set up or other shape might work best if the view isn't truly great from all sides.
At an outdoor wedding most people expect wood folding chairs. While the traditional white or wood colored chair works great on grass, they may not be the best fit for a beach wedding, they're also not all that comfortable. Consider benches, or ottomans for a more sophisticated, comfortable seating arrangement. If you choose backless benches, consider offering a few chairs with backs for those who might find sitting in a backless seat uncomfortable. If the benches are particularly low, keep in mind that pregnant guests, and some guests with certain conditions may find sitting down and standing up from a low perch difficult.
Backyard Chic is one of the hottest trends for 2010, and nothing gives you that thrown together look more than mixing and matching your chairs. Here's the trick though, you want things to look casual and self-done, but not sloppy or uncaring. Pick a color or other identifiable theme to tie the different seating arrangements together.
Wedding photographer Rebecca Enslein of TheStudioBPhotography recently sent me this beautiful photo. For this wedding it's not the seating that's unusual, after all church pews are about as common as it gets, it's the setting. Who expects to find a church pew outside of the church?
For some couples, having ushers allows them much needed leeway in terms of handing out honors. But for others, having ushers simply swells the size of the bridal party, causing unnecessary expense. If you're having any sort of non-traditional seating make sure to have at least one or two ushers on hand to help guests understand the layout, or find seating that suits their physical needs. Make sure to inform your ushers ahead of time of any seating plans.
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