Uncomfortable Pews?

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SMGray Posts : 84 Registered: 1/2/10
Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 4, 2010 11:01 PM

I'm getting married in a chapel near a family cemetery. I love it, it's adorable and it's very significant to my family history, HOWEVER.... the pews are horrific. We went to see my parents for a few days a the vacation house and checked out the chapel while we were in town. There are 2 huge issues with the pews:

#1 They are spaced for miniature people. Anyone over 5'10" with proportionate legs is going to have to sit diagonally. I never noticed this before because I'm not that tall but my dad sat in one of the pews and was having some serious difficulty.

#2 The seat backs are at a complete 90 degree angle. When you sit on something that straight, it almost feels like you're pitched slightly forward. It's incredibly uncomfortable.

Has anyone else dealt with something like this? Is there any way to make the seating more comfortable? Does anyone belong to an old church with torture pews? How long can you sit in them before you want to run screaming from the building?

I'm thinking we may just have to find another ceremony site. I'll be sad, but if theres nothing I can do to make the seating more tolerable I don't think I can ask the guests to sit for more than 15 minutes. I have plenty of time to shop around for a new chapel, but I'm afraid that everything in the area is going to be similar. All the local places were built by Calvinists, who saw discomfort as a good thing.

"And so I come, to be the one, who's always standing close to you."- Van Morrison

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FutureMrsKlein Posts : 164 Registered: 5/2/09
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 12:52 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

If you love the venue as much as you say, then I think you should go for it. How long is your ceremony going to be? If longer than a half hour, maybe I'd find another place. But if it is on the shorter side (remember people will stand when you enter) then have it there. Maybe put somthing about the significance of the venue in your program "we feel so blessed to be getting married at hard as a rock pew church becuase this is where great grandma Susan had her first communion." Or whatever it is. People will (or at least should) understand.

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VšnTillBruden Posts : 353 Registered: 1/16/10
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 3:49 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

That horrific but adorable church wouldn't happen to be in Wisconsin, would it? Because it sounds like you're describing my grandmother's church perfectly! Haha. I grew up in that church, and always hated the pews. My amazonian aunt, and two tall uncles, always had issues sitting, as well.

To be completely honeset, there's nothing you can really do about the pews. How long will your ceremony be? If it's short, I'm sure the guests will manage. If you have an hour long ceremony... you may want to consider finding a new place.

OR, I don't know if you have checked into this as a possibility, would it be possible for you to have your ceremony in the church garden/lawn/whatever you guys have ?

Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most. (Swedish proverb)

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ArtBride Posts : 4,838 Registered: 5/9/07
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 9:07 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

If I see that a wedding is going to be in a church or chapel, I don't expect comfortable seating. I've been to historic churches with 'torture pews' and I personally find that part of the charm. I understand why you're concerned, but unless you're planning a super-long ceremony, I don't think it's a big deal. I wouldn't worry about making them more comfortable. I honestly don't think that ANY church pews are comfortable, but I can deal with it for the length of a regular church service or wedding.

DaisypathWedding Ticker

Vice President and Guardian of the Toilet Brush of POOP: People Offended by Offended People

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 11:23 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

I think you can't ask guests to sit any longer than 30 minutes max in uncomfortable seating. I would also do what I can to accomodate taller guests by directing them towards end seats.

The big worry I see here is that you're not just talking about ceremony time here -- Guests will show up 5-15 minutes early, and weddings are often 5-15 minutes late. This means that guests may have already been sitting for 10-30 minutes before your ceremony even begins. And in a small church, there's nothing really for a guest to do but to sit down.

I hesitate to discourage you because I really do love small individualistic churches, but I am wary of this.

__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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BrighterThanSun... Posts : 853 Registered: 10/17/08
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 11:32 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

I think I can one up you on this situation.

My boyfriend is Russian and for our wedding (which will have to be in a Russian church--this is very, very important to him) there are NO pews. There is actually no seating except for a few chairs at the side for the extremely elderly who are unable to stand for mass.

I don't really know what to do in this situation except warn people.

As long as your ceremony isn't too long--20-30 minutes max--it isn't a huge issue. Uncomfortable seating doesn't feel too uncomfortable until some time has passed while sitting. A few minutes of discomfort towards the end of your ceremony, while not ideal, won't be a huge issue.

If you want to warn some friends and family--that might be all you can do.

If you feel way too guilt-ridden--change the ceremony site--however, it seems like you really love this place.

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VšnTillBruden Posts : 353 Registered: 1/16/10
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 12:24 PM Go to message in response to: BrighterThanSun...

Brighter, you can't rent folding chairs to bring in for the ceremony?

Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most. (Swedish proverb)

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BrighterThanSun... Posts : 853 Registered: 10/17/08
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 2:01 PM Go to message in response to: VšnTillBruden

No, it's not like they don't have chairs because they don't want to buy any.
It's a part of the set up of a Russian Orthodox church--no seating. That is how mass is held--standing.

I stood for about 8 hours this weekend for different Easter masses and I'm not even Russian Orthodox. My feet were ruined. So was my sanity. Service is completely 100% in Russian. I understood about 2%--not like I was listening though. However, there is a priest at the church who will perform a wedding ceremony in English.

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VšnTillBruden Posts : 353 Registered: 1/16/10
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 3:16 PM Go to message in response to: BrighterThanSun...

Oh wow, and I thought that Irish & Latin American catholic masses were intense! Maybe just leave folding chairs on the wall, as you said they normally do for people who can not stand, and who ever can't handle standing can migrate that way. And mention to your guests to wear comfy shoes!

Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I need it the most. (Swedish proverb)

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BrighterThanSun... Posts : 853 Registered: 10/17/08
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 5, 2010 3:28 PM Go to message in response to: VšnTillBruden

Trust me, this will not be my ideal wedding.

However, religion is important to him and insignificant to me (something we have discussed a lot--so no need to bring up religious differences and raising children and such.) The church isn't as significant to him as getting married by a Russian Orthodox priest--however a Russian Orthodox priest won't perform an outdoor service or a service not inside the walls of a Russian Orthodox church accept for very few and extreme circumstances (I don't even know them however we have no extreme reason not to.)

I think I have heard of one Russian Priest who used to perform services outdoors but that was just because there was no chapel in the area--and now there is. However, I am going to see if it is at all possible to do the service outside by that priest even though he no just holds services inside of the chapel. No harm in asking...


I understand the desire to get married under your religion--especially when it is so significant in your family which is why I am 95% going to allow this to happen--however there are so many reasons why I don't want to get married in their church. I don't like the traditions--I want something much more simple, I don't want to make my guests stand and I just simply don't think I would be as excited for it--walking down their elaborately ornate church is never something I have envisioned doing--it's not 'me'--and while the church isn't his style either, church has always been a big part of his life.

Creating sufficient seating and guests 'taking a seat' would be seen as disrespectful to some of the guests however I also think it's disrespectful to force my family, who doesn't follow this religion, to stand. All very complicated.

Definitely something to discuss further with him.

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Lemoncakeface Posts : 33 Registered: 11/13/09
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 13, 2010 11:52 AM Go to message in response to: SMGray

If you have it in your budget you could see if a rental place has seat or stadium cushions. Or you could make some and sell them on ebay afterwards.

For your tall guests end seats and warnings are all you can offer.

If you're worried about guests waiting in uncomfortable chairs for your ceremony, you could set up some sort of welcome area right outside the church or in a lobby area if there is one. Cookies, punch, mingling. And have someone in charge of letting your guests know to take thier seats when the ceremony is going to get started.

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SMGray Posts : 84 Registered: 1/2/10
Re: Uncomfortable Pews?
Posted: Apr 14, 2010 8:32 PM Go to message in response to: Lemoncakeface

Thanks for all the suggestions. My ceremony shouldn't be terribly long, but considering the amount of time people might be waiting for the ceremony to start, I think I will try to stage some sort of pre ceremony waiting area outside so people aren't forced into the uncomfortable seats prematurely.

"And so I come, to be the one, who's always standing close to you."- Van Morrison

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