How to Arrange Chairs for an Outdoor Ceremony
Thoughtful chair arrangements ensure guests can see your ceremony
By Cynthia Myers
Make nature a part of your celebration with an outdoor wedding ceremony. In addition to sunshine, fresh air and the beauty of natural surroundings, an outdoor wedding venue can present challenges, such as how to arrange the chairs for your guests. You have to account for variations in terrain, the location of natural features, such as trees, and even wind. A little advance planning can help you make sure your guests have a good view and remain comfortable throughout the ceremony.
- What You Need to Know
- A chair supply company is a great resource for figuring out the right configuration for seating.
- You may need a microphone or PA system if your conducting your ceremony outside.
- In addition to chairs, contact tent rental companies. Weather is never predictable.
Choose a configuration. You can arrange rows of chairs in a semicircle or fan shape or in straight rows. Allow enough space between chairs and between rows so that guests can move in and out of the seating area comfortably. You can line up chairs one behind the other or stagger each row slightly. This second option may allow your guests a better view of the proceedings if the ground is flat and unterraced. You'll also need to decide whether you want a central aisle between rows of chairs, two aisles or no aisle at all. Draw up a rough diagram of your venue and use colored stickers to represent the chairs. Move the stickers around until you find a configuration you like that works best with your wedding location.
Pay attention to the weather. Shelter guests from strong winds by arranging seating in the lee of a building, cliff or grove of trees. Or use a screen or other man-made windbreak. Set up chairs in the shade or provide a tent to keep guests out of the hot sun. Check the position of the sun during the time of day when you'll be holding your ceremony and reception. Don't force guests to squint into the sun to watch you exchange vows.
Take advantage of a spectacular view, such as a cityscape, ocean waves or flowers in a garden. Avoid facing your guests toward a parking lot or unsightly building. You can also arrange chairs around a feature such as a gazebo or archway.
Consider the terrain. If possible, avoid steep slopes or rocky, uneven ground. Are there trees that will block guests' view or limit space in a particular area? Don't block walkways, gates or doors.
About the Author
Cynthia James is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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