12/7 Ask Liz: Musical (Rental) Chairs & Childish Future Sister-In-Laws

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Gorgeous Mix and Match Ceremony Seating || Photo: Andrew Callaci and Nicole Varnell

Dear Liz,

I have a low budget, 10 grand. I’m spending 2500 for my venue which is just the grounds. I need to figure out a caterer which I’m actively doing and then comes the rentals issue. One caterer told me that folding chairs are cheaper than the nicer chairs and if I want nicer chairs for 125 people it’s 300 bucks extra! I think this is ridiculous! Any ideas on supplying my own chairs? How would clean up/set up work? And/or how do I approach this with a caterer when I find one?


Sitting on No

Dear Sitting,

If you put it in perspective, 300 for 125 chairs is $2.40 per chair. $2.40 is not bad, but yeah, $300 is a lot of money! I’m guessing that when you say “nicer” you are talking about the padded white wooden chairs vs. the plastic ones as opposed to Chiavari chairs. Chiavari’s  are more expensive than that, no matter where you live. So, find cheaper nicer chairs. If I can find $4.00 Chiavari chairs in L.A. (where they average $12), you can find $1.25 chairs in your area. Once you find those, you’ll a) feel a lot better, b) be able to ask caterers if they can price match, c) not be so worried if they can’t.

As far as set-up/break-down of chairs, most rental companies will either set them up for free, or charge a minimal fee for it. If it’s not minimal enough, then, you can either ask your caterer or venue staff if they can help, or, yes, figure out how to set them up yourself. Once you figure out the chairs, you can ask those questions.

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I just got engaged at Thanksgiving, and although we’re probably looking at a year and a half before we get to walk down the aisle, we’re already having discussions about our wedding party and other ceremony things. I told him that I’ve already asked my sister and my best friend to be my Maid and Matron of Honor (my co-MOHs, if you will), and three close friends from college to be my bridesmaids. He comes from a large family, and has three brothers and one sister. In the past year or so, his 19-year-old sister has become “obsessed” (his words, not mine) with me, following me around and texting me for hours on end. She’s even made plans for us to have a girl’s day over her winter break from college. We’re not super close, but I don’t mind hanging out with her, and I understand that she probably just wants a girl to hang out with since she still lives at home with two of her four brothers. My fiance is very understanding, and says I don’t have to hang out if I don’t want to, and tells me its ok to not respond to every text.

My fiance’s two best friends and three brothers will be his groomsmen. However, the problem is I’m kind of worried that his sister is expecting to be a bridesmaid. While we were discussing our party, he asked me if his sister would be one of my bridesmaids, and I just said I wasn’t sure. She is a nice girl, but she’s still very immature. She’d rather stay buried in a book or glued to a video game than socialize with people, and is very prone to yelling and tantrums. Sometimes if she gets even a little upset with one of her brothers, she’ll slap them on the arm and storm off. Any non-traditional idea I’ve mentioned about the wedding or, really, anything in general, she says is “weird.” Basically, she acts much younger than 19 years old. 

I would like to have her participate in some way at our wedding, and have her there for a little bit while I’m getting ready with hair, makeup, etc. But, I just don’t see her as a bridesmaid. I want to be able to enjoy our wedding day with all of our party, but it would be hard to do that with one bridesmaid critiquing our plans or attached to her Nintendo DS, making it an awkward situation for the rest of my bridesmaids. Should I ask her to be a bridesmaid and hope for the best? What should I do if she’s already expecting to be one?


Growing Older But Not Up

Dear Up,

You’re not keen on the idea, so don’t make her a bridesmaid. The next time your fiance asks, say no. If he asks why, remind him that right now, your wedding party is evened up, and another person will throw it off. In the interim, find her something else to do. Can she be an usher for the ceremony, and direct people where to sit? Since she’s probably still going to be a minor, she can sit out the cocktail hour and help guests with the place cards and the gift table. These are important things, too (heck, I assign a separate assistant to it for my weddings), make sure she knows it. And that you appreciate that she’s doing it. I’d be proactive about this, and tell her ASAP. This is not something to spring on an eager young adult last minute.
Did you have a non-bridesmaid problem? Where did you find cheap chairs where you live? Let us know what you think in the comments!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith is the owner of Silver Charm Events, a wedding planning service in Los Angeles. She's also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of "DIY Your DOC: Do-it Yourself Wedding Day Coordination." Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.