9 Unique Seating Ideas for Your Ceremony and Reception

It's time to think beyond the traditional chair!

Updated 10/31/19

Photo by Miles and Miles

When it comes to seating during your ceremony and reception, one factor should be top of mind, and that's comfort! Just think of it like this: If your guests aren’t comfortable, how engaged will they be in what’s going on around them?!

While seating may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually huge considering the time guests will spend sitting at your wedding. Besides dancing and milling about during cocktail hour, they'll basically be in a seat all night long—from the ceremony through that six-course dinner.

So, we have an idea: Think beyond the ubiquitous dining chair and instead provide seating that is both comfy and unique. After all, creative seating can contribute to the overall vibe and style of your wedding, and rental companies have a multitude of offerings available from modern upholstered poufs and reclaimed pews (outside of a church!) to funky sofas and even hay bales (hear us out!).

That said, it's important to consider your venue, wedding style, and guests when deciding what seating is right for your wedding. Take a look at the nine ideas below for inspiration, then trust us when we say that the right seating can make for a comfortable, inclusive, and beautiful evening!

01 of 09

Polished Poufs

ceremony structure

Photo by En Route Photography 

We love a traditional Moroccan pouf as much as the next person, but we're also into this alternative ottoman-like option. It feels fresh, modern, and totally perfect for a couple that's not afraid to play with pops of color!

02 of 09

Bales of Hay

wedding ceremony

Photo by Braedon Flynn

If you're saying "I do" in a bucolic outdoor ceremony, look no further than an accompanying field for your seating! Hay bales can make for a charming seating option—just throw a linen style of choice over the top so that the hay isn’t too scratchy for your guests. 

03 of 09

Plush Ottomans

wedding ceremony

Photo by Rebecca Yale 

These ottoman/coffee table/plush benches can serve as all of the above—their versatility means your guests get to decide! Paired with sofas, they make for the perfect lounge areas that are a little more airy, allowing for easy mingling before and after the vows.

04 of 09

Reclaimed Pews

outdoor ceremony with pews

Photo by Olivia Rae James; Pews by Rent Pews; Planning by Lacy Geary; Floral Design by Amy Osaba Design

Who says pews are only for inside churches? We love how these add some unexpected interest to what is usually a uniform seating setup. Add in some colorful throw pillows for comfort and a little extra texture, or even some light throw blankets if you anticipate it being a little nippy on your wedding night.

05 of 09

Funky Sofas

lounge area

Photo by Rebecca Yale

These mod, backless sofas are perfect for a more intimate ceremony or reception lounge area. Their unique shape is punctuated with organic floral arrangements by Siloh Floral that wrap around the seats to add a little whimsy to this already playful ceremony setting. 

06 of 09

Square Poufs

wedding ceremony venue

Photo by Liz Banfield

A slightly more rustic pouf, this ceremony setup proves that you can, indeed, do unique types of seating even if you have a larger guest count. We especially like how this couple sprinkled small tables amongst the poufs so guests had a place to put their drinks and purses.

07 of 09

Hay Bale Sofas

hay bale sofa

Photo by Jose Villa

Talk about creative—it’s a sofa made out of bales of hay, with another bale serving as a coffee table. The throw pillows and seat cushion soften it up a bit, to ensure your guests are comfortable. We’d also like to note that the pillows are made of a burlap-esque fabric which matches the design of the wedding, versus something more polished which would feel out of place. 

08 of 09

Midcentury Sofas—Outside!

outdoor sofas

Photo by Anne Rhett, Event Design by Gregory Blake Sams Events 

Get creative with your reception and cocktail hour seating with proper lounge areas so your guests can get really comfortable. We love how these lounge areas are sectioned off, so it’s not just a sofa floating alone, but rather two that face each other, plus accompanying chairs so a larger group can sit and eat (or chit-chat).  

09 of 09

Floor Pillows

<p>low floor seating at reception</p>

Photo by Miles and Miles

For those who aren’t averse to sitting on the ground, we're all about the idea of seating some of your guests at low tables accompanied by oversized floor pillows. However we suggest taking a page out of this couple’s book, and offering multiple seating options if you’re doing a floor pillow situation—as it won’t be every guest’s cup of tea!

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