Observation about entertaining

joaniepoanieJune 8, 2014

We have been to two great parties in the last several weeks....about 40-50 at each. The weather was beautiful at each one and people were mostly outside enjoying the yards and fresh air; however, at each party there was only enough outside seating for 10 people at the most. One had a table and chair set on the deck and a few scattered chairs and benches on the lawn. The other one had maybe 6 chairs on the patio.

Yes, people are always milling about at these functions and there will always be clusters of people standing and chatting, but it would be nice for hosts to plan more seating, even if it means borrowing or renting chairs. Most people work in offices and are not used to long periods standing, especially those of us getting up there in age. I woke this morning and my feet and ankles are sore from mostly standing all evening, and I was in comfortable sandals.

Is it just me or have others noticed this as well?

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That's a good point, but so far I have only been to smaller gatherings. Interesting that a few years back when I had a large party, a friend questioned why we didn't have it in the yard, instead of the deck and house.

At his house, the yard is around the back, but he has access to the basement, for storing things and a bathroom. But, although he had enough folding chairs set up, they were not comfortable to sit on any length of time.
So, I would add comfortable folding chairs.

At my house, the deck is off the kitchen. People mingled both inside, where they could have an option of a soft chair, and out on the deck. Also, if it's hot, it's nice to have the option of air conditioning, especially for older folks.

Glad both parties were successful.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I find that just standing around is a lot more tiring than walking. I can walk for hours, but if I stand with little movement for an hour, my feet hurt. Even when I was in my 20s, I didn't enjoy standing around for 4-5 hours. Now that I'm in my 50s, I don't want to stand for 4 hours straight.

I think hosts are so busy running around seeing to their guests that they don't notice that their guests might like to sit down now and then.

For family get-togethers, we frequently get the message, "Please bring any folding chairs you have." Which is fine by me, as I then know I'll have a chance to sit down.

I'd say you should have seating for at least half your guests. Better if there's more.

There's a theory out there that not having enough seating means that the guests will mingle more. In my experience, the reality is that those who get a seat won't get up, because they are afraid of loosing the chair. And a certain percentage of the rest will leave relatively early because of back/foot/knee pain, or just not having the energy to stand for the length of the party.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:48PM
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We just had 25 people over today for a bridal shower and we rented an adequate amount of tables and chairs. Which means we rented 30 chairs and 5 tables. It is never a good idea to skimp on seating IMHO when hosting a party or event. If it is a trend to not consider the comfort of your guests I am not aware of it.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 6:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If there aren't enough chairs, the hosts should inform guests ahead of time so they could bring their own. OTOH, when I've had parties, I've had plenty of seating yet many chairs stayed empty while people were milling around. For outside, we're fortunate that our patio is surrounded by a sitting wall so people can certainly take a load off if they wish.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 7:53PM
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The one party was interesting. Most people were on the patio that had almost no seating, and just inside the slider to the patio is the family room with a sofa and two chairs but it might as well have been Siberia...no one sat there the whole night. DH and I did at one point because I really needed to sit and we hoped that would signal others but no cigar. We felt silly sitting there by ourselves so got up and moved after a few minutes. And yes, the people that got the nice patio chairs didn't budge for a very long time.

Ellendi...totally agree about folding chairs. They are fine for a 15-20 ceremony but that's it. I was dismayed when I walked into my son's wedding reception last year and saw those little white, wooden folding chairs. They seem to sit too low in relation to the table and are just not comfortable for an entire evening.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 8:54PM
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I have two folding canvas and metal director type chairs. Whenever I attend a party that's going to be outside, I pack them in the car. If they aren't needed, I don't even mention having them, but if it's obvious that they are needed, I just say that I have a couple of chairs with me and I'll go get them. And I am not bashful about asking someone to give one of them up, should they plant themselves. I have a bad ankle and just mention that I brought the chair so I could get off my ankle. Now, if it's someone's 90 year old mother, I'd figure she needs it more than I do and just make do.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 10:03PM
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I also find it harder just standing around than walking around for several hours. It does seem odd that no more chairs were set around for that many guests. For that many people, I drag out every item I possibly can to sit on to augment the outdoor seating already available, and if it's more than what I have I ask a few good friends to bring some additional folding chairs. If it were a more formal event, I'd rent chairs. We have a large outdoor area so there is no lack of places to put chairs.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:09AM
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Glad that the parties turned out so well ! -- but I agree that I simply can not stand, lean or balance for any length of time .... my back, legs and hips would be so sore in the morning! :)

Great idea to keep a couple of folding chairs in the car -- just in case! :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 11:30AM
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My daughter is getting married next April and we are having the reception at a venue that typically does the cocktail hour outside of the reception room. The doors are closed and these silly little tables are all over the place. Everyone is standing around with their drinks just hoping and praying that the doors will open soon. It's ridiculous.

When dd and I interviewed them we told them that was something we did not want and they agreed. So the doors will be open and guests can find their seats.

Great thread!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Reminded me of neighbors who had us and another couple over for drinks at holiday time. They have a HUGE home...must be 5 or 6 thousand sq ft. They have a living room, a family room, a dining room, a breakfast nook...and yet we spent the entire night uncomfortably standing around the kitchen island...my hips were so sore by the time we were through! I didn't feel I knew them well enough to suggest we go sit down...kept waiting for the host or hostess to do that....

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:50PM
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Annie, my sister's SIL and BIL have a large home on a lake. They have a small screened in porch with uncomfortable furniture and they have everyone stay out there because of the lake view.

This means balancing food as well. Finally my sister suggested that going into the dining room.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:08PM
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I can't quite imagine suffering forced standing in silence, when it would be so easy to say something like, "Sorry, but I have to sit down." And either make a move to a chair or ask if one could be moved in for you. Most hosts would get the hint and hopefully would want their guests to be comfortable.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 2:55PM
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We had an outdoor party with about 70 people last week. One of the things we bought with the house was the POs outdoor furniture. All told our outdoor furniture can seat about 40. We also have lots of stone walls for people to perch on, and they do. It was a casual party, more than half kids, and they were wet from swimming or boating. I have a few big baskets of beach towels, and the kids are encouraged to use those to sit on the lawns; which they seem to like to do.

If it were all 70 adults, I would have felt it necessary to rent something; but I can't imagine what one can really rent that would seem ok outdoors? I think i'd pare down the guest list instead, LOL.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 4:00PM
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I don't understand such thoughtlessness~am I the only one that seems to feel people simply don't *think* anymore? When Mom/Dad had company every chair from the DR and kitchen were dragged into the LR as that was the largest room so company congregated there. Mom always used the coffee table for cheese/ crackers, and warm o'rderves in the kitchen. People would get up and move about, but there were always enough chairs for a butt to land. I've pretty much adopted her habits.

If you're the hostess and you see a guest/guests swaying from side to side because their feet are giving out, take the inside chairs outside. If you're a guest, ask to take a chair on the patio, please. Like I said, *think*ing~seems to have gone to the dogs. ;)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:37AM
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Didn't someone post recently about what shoes to wear to a standing only wedding? I have heard that at weddings in Louisiana there are never any chairs. I have never been to a wedding where there wasn't at least 1 chair per person.

Do you think it is a trick to get people to socialize more? Once you sit you are only talking to the people at the table. If you are standing/walking around it is easier to talk to more people.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Just a silly personal thing but when I am at a party and I see tons of empty chairs and tables I always feel bad for the hosts because it gives the appearance that many people did not show up.

Of course, that isn't always true but I find all the empty chairs and tables a little depressing.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:04AM
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~am I the only one that seems to feel people simply don't *think* anymore?

I know that feeling. People lack the ability to think ahead of a situation and anticipate needs.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:32AM
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Deee, so maybe the formula should be at least half the amount of chairs for people in attendance? That way you don't see all those empty chairs and tables.
And, to have some stashed if it looks like more want to sit?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:19PM
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