wedding only for bride and groom?

I’m the mother of the groom who needs an attitude adjustment soon if I am to enjoy my son’s wedding. The bride has decided to get married on the beach (although she is a churghgoer) with traditional formal wear, a maid of honor and 3 other attendants. However, no chairs for the guests. I have asked for chairs for some of the older people, including myself. Is that being nervy? My point boils down to – does the bridal couple have a responsibility to the comfort and good time of their guests or is it all just about “their good time”?

The bride’s parents are upset as well since their daughter chose a site not in anyone’s hometown. And while I really really hope that it doesn’t rain, if it does, they have no contingency plan.

The reception is on a covered pier at the beach afterward so that they could have their own kegs. They want it to be wonderful & are trying very hard, but it seems as though some of the choices are so unwise that it’s driving me nuts. I know I need to let the chips fall where they may and be glad I’m not the mother of the bride!

Nancy Tucker

Hello Vanden,

Is the couple willing to have any chairs at all? Is seating at all practical? I don’t know if the sand would provide secure seating or if chairs would just sink. I have had situations such as your son’s wedding previously and have had great success with assigned seating for honored guests and elderly. If no seating is possible at all, it’s only a 20 minute ceremony and surely should not cause undue discomfort to the guests. If they have no back up plan for rain, many of the guests will most likely skip the ceremony entirely.


Thought you might want to have a soon-to-be-Bride’s perspective. If they are inviting others to their festivities, then yes they are the hosts and they should have some concern about the guests. I don’t think it’s totally out of line for you to ask them if they want your input and then to give it, on a few big points. Having chairs is one of those big points. Standing for even brief periods of time can be difficult for some people. You have a valid point that they might not have considered before. If you’ve mentioned it once and they didn’t take your advice, just drop it. Whomever is hosting the event is ultimately responsible for any faux paus that happen.

Conflicts about small details is a different thing altogether. I stress this is just my own feeling–keep in mind that it’s an emotionally charged event in their lives, and sensitivity might go along with that. So when too much unsolicited advice about inconsequential details is given, it could be offensive. In my own experience, I will never forget any of the negative comments. For example, complaining about small details (time of the ceremony, etc.). This has caused a rift that will be very difficult to repair. I have lost respect for several complainers. When subjected to constant criticism, I felt many of the comments were none of their business. I’m inviting them to a celebration, and if they don’t like the time of day or something minor, they were being rude to even comment on it. I mean, if I was throwing a party at my house, would people complain about the details of it? Of course not.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Wedding Only,

A beach wedding is lovely! I suppose, one way for you to ‘adjust your attitude’ is to focus on that–the beauty. If is rains, those are just more tears of joy for the bride and groom. Yes, you will all be standing, but the memory of a beautiful beach wedding will last forever.

I do agree that the chairs will sink into the sand. If some of the older guests cannot stand for a short ceremony (civil ceremonies are typically brief), they might want to skip the wedding and join all of you for the reception. Walking on sand to get to a chair on the beach would be risky for mobility impaired guests anyway.

One way to share the ceremony with those who cannot attend is to have someone (doesn’t have to be a professional) record the wedding. It can be played back during the reception or tapes (DVDs) could be given to them. Because the reception is on a pier, it may not be practical, but you never know.

As for the couple making choices that we older people find strange… it is their wedding and their choices. We can shake our heads and wonder why, but in the end it is something we would not understand anyway. Just smile and know that they are happy together. Isn’t that the main idea anyway?



WoW – thanks to everyone – I think you have all helped me with my attitude adjustment. I’m immensely grateful. The bride also told me that if it rains they are going to switch to the pavillion on the pier, so I’m feeling a lot better about that too. Vanden 🙂

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

Please feel free to comeback to “vent” or ask questions if you need to. Just try to focus on what’s important and give advice sparingly. What a terrific mom you must be!

Jodi R R Smith

Dear Mrs. Vanden,

Oh dear! You have the classic immature bride and passive groom. Weddings are not just about “their good time.” Weddings are the joining of two people and of two families. You need to decide how much you are willing to spend to on this wedding and how involved you want to be when it is clear the bride does not care what others think.

My suggestion is to first gather information. I would want to know how long the ceremony is going to be, what the typical weather is for that beach for that time of year and how far it is to the nearest covered area of protection. If the weather is generally balmy 70’s and the ceremony is only 11 minutes long, then chairs are only required for the most feeble of guests (think grandparents). If the weather is usually 102 in the shade, then both chairs and some protection is required.

Next, I would search for allies. I would ask the bride’s mom out to lunch to see what she thinks. If you two agree, you can provide a united front when speaking with the bride and groom. Or, you may decide to contact a rental company on your own and when the bride and groom arrive to the ceremony “Surprise!” there are chairs and some large sun umbrellas.

Good luck,