The simple answer is that yes you can choose to use the same chairs for both, BUT there are some things about this to consider.
1 – The number of guests is a big factor, strictly for logistical reasons. It takes a fair amount of time to move 200+ chairs, and it’s a very manual process.
2 – The weather could be a factor. It can be challenging to transport the chairs through the pouring rain, wind, or snowy conditions.
3 – WHO will move the chairs? Don’t assume that wedding planners, friends, or the groomsmen can take care of this for you, be sure to make special arrangements ahead of time.
4 – The style of the chairs used can be a factor. One person can carry about four Chiavari or farm style chairs per trip max without stacking them, so calculate the number of workers x the number of trips. You can stack folding chairs onto a cart and move them that way, but the ground that you’re traveling across with the cart is uneven, and you still need to allow for time to fold, stack, move, unfold, and place the chairs around the dining tables. (all this while working around wedding guests)
5 – Some rental companies do not allow their chairs to be used outside, so be sure to double-check because you don’t want to find out that detail at the last minute! Chiavari chairs have narrow legs that can sink down into the grass and might need to be wiped down afterward. Plus some rental companies don’t allow you to stack Chiavari chairs, which also slows down the moving process, even if they do let you use them outside.
6 – The timing can be an issue. Moving chairs after the ceremony can be challenging because guests tend to linger around a bit, yet the chairs need to be moved as quickly as possible because no one can sit down in the reception area until their chair arrives. Also, the guests could be making their way to the cocktail reception area at the same time workers are trying to get the chairs moved in. If the groomsmen are taking care of moving the chairs, they might also be needed for some of the group photos at the same time that the chairs need to be moved.
Less practical considerations
7 – It might depend on how casual your wedding is, and how your guests will react to moving the chairs. Some families seem shocked at the idea that anyone would even consider moving the chairs. While other families seem shocked at the idea that anyone would even consider paying for two sets of chairs! So you have to decide where YOUR guests fall on this spectrum.
8 – Asking friends and/or groomsmen to do this task puts them in an awkward position. They may genuinely want to help out, but they’re all dressed up and maybe they don’t want to work up a sweat at this special event until later when they get to hit the dance floor? Why should they have to be part of the general labor for your event? It’s just something to consider since they probably won’t tell you no, but they might be thinking these things.
9 – The wow factor when your guests enter the reception area is usually much better WITH the chairs in the room. It’s kind of like adding jewelry to your outfit, it’s just that extra little something.
It might be best to investigate all the options before making a final decision. Check with the chair rental company and see if they offer a special price for ‘ceremony chairs’. If you bundle together most of your rentals from one company, they could possibly give you a better price because they can bring out everything together in one trip. Then check with your wedding planner and see what they think about the idea. Maybe they have some setup workers that could be hired to come in at a specified time strictly to move the chairs for a set price.
Whatever you decide, just be sure to keep everyone involved in your wedding day informed. Don’t wish and hope and pray that it will all ‘just work out okay’ with no planning or arrangements. You would be surprised how much time and effort actually goes into making something SEEM effortless. M 🙂