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Etiquette

Receiving Line

Hello fellow brides-

I should mention this is a complete DIY wedding put on an mostly financed by us (including catering).  

We are having our wedding and reception all in the same place (a rented beach house).
This means we won't actually be leaving the venue.  We were going to take pictures on the beach after the ceremony while the rest of the people head to the cocktail hour in the backyard of the beach house.  

We plan on serving a specific cocktail during that time and then instead of a receiving line, we will handle the first pour (we are serving mostly craft beer, wine on the tables).  I am thinking after cocktail hour before dinner?

Does anyone have experience with ceremony and venue being the same place, so it makes a receiving line a little silly (well at least in terms of space)?

I am also a little worried about the timing between cocktail hour and "first pour" and dinner.

Thanks for any advice. 

Re: Receiving Line

  • Can you write out your timeline? That will help us. 

    I think instead of a receiving line (which I personally think are outdated and awkward), you can do table visits. Be served and eat first, then say hello to each table. Just make sure that you keep it moving and see every table. 

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited November 2012
    We didn't do a receiving line. Our guests were escorted to and from the ceremony site on golf carts by the venue staff, so after the ceremony, they were driven to the reception area for appetizers while we did pictures. Afterward, we joined our guests and the buffet was opened. We sat down and ate and then went to each table to greet our guests. You could do your first pour right before your dinner starts after you get your pictures. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • time line is:

    Ceremony

    Pictures (while guests are in backyard during cocktail hour, serving fruit and cheeses with kir royal)

    First pour (we are making our own setup out of a cooler, like at beer festivals) Wine should be on the table and juices/soda will be in a cooler somewhere.  

    Dinner (taco bar)

    So I guess we can usher people to the food and let them know to come and see us to grab a beer. 

  • In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    Can you write out your timeline? That will help us.  I think instead of a receiving line (which I personally think are outdated and awkward), you can do table visits. Be served and eat first, then say hello to each table. Just make sure that you keep it moving and see every table. 
    Posted by misssunshine17
    I was thinking that it would be easier for them to come to us (and keep moving so others can get a beer too)
  • In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    time line is: Ceremony Pictures (while guests are in backyard during cocktail hour, serving fruit and cheeses with kir royal) First pour (we are making our own setup out of a cooler, like at beer festivals) Wine should be on the table and juices/soda will be in a cooler somewhere.   Dinner (taco bar) So I guess we can usher people to the food and let them know to come and see us to grab a beer. 
    Posted by branemily
    I'm confused... There won't be any beer at the cocktail hour? Just the one specialty cocktail?
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  • indeed.
    No beer, just the champagne kir royal.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    H and I got married and had our reception all in the same place as well.  The ceremony took place about 50 yards away from the reception area.  We did table visits instead of a receiving line.  Looking back I wish we had just done a receiving line because they are quicker then table visits.  It took us forever to get around to each table because people tend to have longer conversations with you when there isn't a queue of other people waiting.  H and I just really wanted to start partying so once the dance music started I made my way out to the dance floor (H headed to the bar) and I figured that if I didn't see you at the tables then it was up to those guests to come to me.

  • Would it be possible for you to "usher" the guests out of the seats after the ceremony and before pictures? FH and I attended a wedding last year and after the couple and WP walked out, the couple came down the side aisle and started with the POB and zigzaged across the aisle and "ushered" everyone out. It didn't take any longer than if they had a receiving line, IMHO, it probably went faster than the receiving lines I went through this last year.
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  • The bride and groom are not having a line. They are going to go through the food line first and then once they are done eating they will go to the tables while the others eat. They are not having a lot of guests so there will be plenty of time to greet people through the evening. 

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited November 2012
    It sounds like you are having a small wedding.  I don't think that the receiving line will be necessary.  Also, have you thought about if yours guests won't like the only drink that is being served at cocktail hour and instead of drinking it, they just put it aside and it's a waste of your money? 

    Is cocktail hour and dinner being served in the same space?  If it's not, could you come back from your pictures and greet all of your guests as they make their way from the cocktail hour to the dinner space? 

    I just think pouring a drink for each guest will be less meaningful to your guests.  "Hey Uncle John, thanks for coming.  Here's a drink!"  So on and so forth.  And if you are in the middle of pouring drinks it will be hard for anyone who wants to give you a hug.  And it also ups the chances of you spilling a drink on your dress.

    ETA: Fixed auto correct mistake
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    I don't understand the idea of first pour. Everyone will line up, and you will pour each person a drink? Aside for the drink, how is that different than a receiving line?
    Posted by Liatris2010
    This. And I personally would rather have the wine that was on my table than the beer. So I guess if I don't want beer, I don't get a visit with you?  I mean, I realize, yes, I can get up and go see you any time, but I am not sure guests would all understand what was happening....that the "beer line" was the "receiving line." 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • We did a receiving line at the end of the aisle, where there were stairs down to the cocktail hour. We're were especially glad we did this instead of table visits, because family pictures ended up taking longer than expected during the cocktail hour, so we snuck out after eating to get pictures of the two of us. Also, a receiving line is nice if there are people you don't both know personally; it's a lot easier for your mom to introduce her coworkers to your new husband than it is for you to both stand there trying to figure out who this (really familliar) person is, and what her husbands name is.
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  • In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    In Response to Re: Receiving Line : This is exactly why we didn't do table visits.  It's hard to hit everyone, especially if you aren't serving a sit down meal (we aren't). Honestly, our wedding all took place in basically the same place and we had no issues doing a receiving line.  When we walked back up the aisle after the ceremony, we just parked ourselves outside between the church and the community building and greeted everyone as they exited the ceremony.  They went on into the reception and began eating, drinking, etc and we went back into the church to finish up photos.  It had a natural flow to it and took less time than I think your idea will, since you will have to stop your guests' mingling, have them all line up, then stand around and wait for their drink and chance to greet you.  
    Posted by StageManager14
    Thanks!  I have tried to visualize how we would do our receiving line and then photos.  Your description was a HUGE help and seems simple enough.  And what Retread said about the words "reception" and "receiving" makes so much sense.  I don't know why I didn't put those two together before when it's so obvious.  There are just so many doors in our church that I have to figure out how to make sure the guests are guided to the right one so that they walk by us but hopefully some ushers can help with that.  Whew!  I'm not even the OP but what a load off my shoulders for me.
  • our ceremony and reception are not in the same place but right across the street from each other.  we are doing as a PP suggested - planning on doing - walk out wedding party following and parents then going back and dismissing the guests.  again as PP suggested I LOVE dancing at weddings and want to get that started sooner rather than later :)  plus I think this will give us time to say hello thanks for coming but not do a lot of chatting as people will realize were dismissing everyone. 

    ran into a friend from HS - not sure if they did receiving line table visits etc. but she did say she had the sweatheart table positioned so that everyone walking I forget to or from the buffett had to pass them so they could say hi small chat.  now I still think this doesn't replace table visits/receiving line but she said it was a nice way to see everyone and have people see them and stop if they really wanted too - made them more approachable in her opinion.  just a suggestion! 
  • In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    indeed. No beer, just the champagne kir royal.
    Posted by branemily
    Have you taken into account guests who do not like champagne? Or who do not drink? Or choose to not drink? I think having only one beverage available is a bad idea. I know I personally would not be thrilled, as I don't drink champagne, and would be stuck there with no beverage while you took pictures..
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  • QueerFemmeQueerFemme member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited November 2012
    I think a simple receiving line at the end of the church/altar, whatever, is better than having people line up and you serving them drinks.  You aren't a bartender, you are a bride.
  • In Response to Re: Receiving Line:
    Stand at the back of the ceremony venue or the entrance to the reception venue, and shake hands with each guest as they leave or enter. Takes about 20 minutes for 150 people.
    Posted by RetreadBride
    Fantastic!  I was wondering how long it would be as I try to time the start of the cocktail hour including travel time from church to hotel.  This helps immensely and lets me know my start time will work.
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