New ways to seat your wedding guests

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Couples interested in setting their nuptials apart from a traditional wedding ceremony and reception should look into offering unconventional seating options. Alternative seating is an excellent way to put a unique spin on your union and leave a lasting impression on your wedding guests.

As with most wedding-related decisions, your budget will have a major impact on the type of alternative seating you might choose. Some options can be a lot less expensive than the traditional wooden, aluminum, or plastic chairs; while others may cost considerably more.

You should also take into consideration your guests’ comfort level and physical abilities. Some creative seating ideas may make getting up and down tricky for people with stiffer joints or physical restrictions.

With these thoughts in mind, mull over some of the ways brides and grooms are choosing to seat their guests from the ground up.


Blankets are a cost-effective way for your guests to relax and enjoy the festivities, and can tie in perfectly with the right themes. This alternative seating choice is ideal for casual, outdoor ceremonies or receptions. When flavored with picnic-styled dining and entertainment, your wedding will certainly be unforgettable.


For a little support, you may want to arrange pillows on the ground or on top of blankets to add an easy, comfy feel to your celebration. Matching pillows create a more uniform appeal, while mix-and-match grouping adds pizzazz to the setting. Pillows are relatively inexpensive, and depending on your own personal style, you might be able to borrow a few from your friends and family.


Cushioned footstools can range from as little as $10 a piece to hundreds of dollars. Ottomans will lift your guests up off the ground and may be more suitable if Grandma Rose or your Great Aunt Mary will be in attendance. These padded seats also offer you an easy way to add a little color to your wedding.

Hay Bales

A country-themed event makes hay bales a perfect seating choice. You can set hay bales in rows for the service and then arrange them around a table for reception seating. Of course, you should place blankets or a heavy material over the top portion of the hay bale as they can be quite prickly. Plus, fabric allows you to bring in patterns and color, which can build even more interest in your atmosphere.

Plywood on Sawhorses

Stop in at your local hardware store and gather up sheets of plywood and a few short sawhorses for a simple seating arrangement. Ask the store attendant to cut the plywood to your specified seating size. The depth of the seat should be about 19 inches. The length can vary, as long as you add supportive sawhorses in the middle portion of the plywood to prevent sagging. Drape with decorative cloth or blankets to finish off the look.

Beach Chairs

Here is another great seating idea, especially if you or your soon-to-be spouse’s favorite hobbies include scuba diving, snorkeling, or beach lounging. Even if your honeymoon destination is a beachside resort, these types of chairs will help allude to the ever-nearing getaway. Beach chairs can run as low as $15 apiece, and possibly even less when bought in the off-season, but will vary depending on the style or materials you choose. The vibrant colors available are sure to spice up any seating area.

Mismatched Chairs

A smattering of mismatched chairs can add charm and a vintage touch to a wedding. More suitable for a smaller venue because of the serious undertaking involved in culling hundreds of these chairs, mismatched chairs can be borrowed from friends, family, and neighbors, or picked up at garage sales and resale shops.


Ranging as low as $18, or even lower for real bargain shoppers or DIYers, benches can seat two or more guests depending upon their style. Wooden benches add a charming touch when painted, stained, or decorated. Styles can vary from straight-lined benches made of pine to intricately carved oak. There are also plastic, wrought iron, and aluminum benches available to suit most everyone’s tastes and budgets.


Bring a touch of country cottage or shabby chic to your wedding by bringing in a few pews. They’ll look beautiful in an outdoor ceremony, and can then be set along a table to incorporate a family-style seating arrangement for the reception. Used pews may be bought for considerably less than new ones, but talk to local event rental companies, as they may have an even better deal. If you purchase them, you could resell them to a rental company or online, or offer them to friends who may be renovating or restyling their home. If you have the space, be sure to keep one for yourself as a wedding remembrance.

Creative seating gives couples the opportunity to showcase their own personal style. It tickles the eyes for your wedding guests and whets their appetite for the celebration to come.