The Chair Scare: The feeling of butterflies about going up in a chair a handful of feet above the ground while holding onto a napkin, grinning with clenched teeth through the tight corset of the wedding dress during a series of bounces and hollers from the crowd.
It doesn’t have to be scary. The tradition of going up in the chair is a festive and fun part of the reception’s Hora dance and we’ve received questions about how to get over the fear of this custom.
My wedding is around the corner, and everyone tells me that the fun part is the reception where my soon-to-be husband and I will go up in the chair. I’m afraid of heights. I hate roller coasters. What if I drop the napkin? What if I fall off the chair? I don’t want to break any rules, and I’d like to get over my fear, but maybe I can just avoid it altogether. What do you think?
Elise, and all others who are feeling under the weather with The Chair Scare, this is supposed to be a fun tradition and definitely not something that causes you stress. First, make sure that your venue or wedding coordinator set aside two arm chairs for you. There should be two chairs with arms. Make sure the chairs have arms. You should use arm chairs. Is the point clear? This gives you something to hold on to and provides your body with boundaries as you become (lightly) jostled around.
Also, there are no rules! Just hop in the chair, hold on, and enjoy the ride. Someone will probably toss you a napkin to hold with your new partner and if you drop it through all the excitement – meh! – so what! The napkin isn’t a Torah; it’s okay if it falls. Many couples do and then live happily ever after.
Before you plop down on the chair, remember to do a quick smooth-out on the tushie part of your dress. That way, if you have any beading or details on your dress, you won’t be uncomfortable from getting them lodged in nooks and crannies when you sit on them. The more comfortable you are, the more you can relax, and the less afraid you’ll be. See? It all comes full circle.
If you’re wearing a short dress or a tea-length dress, you should cross your legs at the ankles. You are a married woman for goodness sake! You don’t want all those eligible bachelors to get a free show! Be a lady and make sure the tops of your feet touch each other.
You don’t have to stop eating for 2 weeks before the wedding. Give some strong men a heads up about the chair lift portion of the Hora and they’ll carry you like you’re Tinkerbell. Do not be afraid of being dropped. With four legs on the chair and at least one man per leg, it’ll be easy for the strong men to balance you. Perhaps in the days leading up to the wedding, call some of the men you’d like to be your chair lifters and give them advance warning that they’ll have this duty at your reception. That way, you can relax knowing that this very important task is handled and you don’t have to worry about it during your ketubah signing, aisle walk, circles, wine blessings, photos, and shmoozing that all take place during the Wedding Olympics.
Remember, the Hora is a joyous and happy part of the wedding reception; as you are six feet off the ground and literally high on life, look at your husband who is up there with you and know that together you’re on top of the world. Then, look down, and enjoy all of your favorite people singing and clapping and loving you right back.
Alison & Nicky
The Wedding Yentas