How to Use Hay Bales for Wedding Seating

Haybale seats at wedding

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Is there anything that says “idyllic fall wedding ceremony” as perfectly as hay bale seating? They’re stylish, they’re cheap, they even perfume the air. But hay bales aren’t as simple as just setting up a folding chair.

Finding Hay Bales for Seating

First, you have to find the hay bales. If you live in a rural area, this might be as simple as calling up a friend with a farm. But for the rest of us, it’s probably going to take some phone calling to local farms and feed stores. Be sure they will both drop off and pick up the bales—these suckers are heavy! Typically straw bales are far cheaper than hay and look basically the same. If the straw isn’t available, ask for Timothy or grass hay instead of more expensive alfalfa. Lastly, ask what size they have. 3'x3'x8' is standard, which will seat 2 guests per bale but 4'x4'x8' will be slightly more comfortable.

Poke Your Guests in the Rear!

Or, actually, don’t let the prickly straw bales poke them. It isn’t nice, especially when they’re wearing fancy dresses for your shindig. A thin sheet isn’t enough to protect from errant pieces of straw but you can still find cost-effective solutions. Canvas drop cloths are relatively inexpensive, as is canvas-by-the-yard at a fabric store. If you’re crafty, use inexpensive material to sew cushions. But the most charming option is to look for old quilts at church rummage sales and flea markets.

Crawly Critters

All those layers of straw can hide some bugs. If the hay is fresh, you probably won’t have any problems, but it’s not a bad idea to hit them with bug spray just in case.


If you’ve got allergies, you might be allergic to hay. Unless you want to sneeze through your wedding, be sure to test things out before you’ve committed to this option.

Alternate Seating Plans

Most guests will be plenty comfortable for a 20-minute wedding ceremony. But older guests may find the typical 3’ height a little low or may need a chair with a back. So provide one row of regular chairs—your groomsmen or your catering staff can carry them over from the reception area.