Catholic Weddings

XP: Receiving Line vs. Table Visits?

Any guesses as to how long a receiving line might take, if we did it at the back of the church as guests exit, with approx. 175 guests? We think we'd rather do that than table visits, but we have a relatively limited window for taking family pictures in the church due to confession starting soon after. 

Another question - if we don't do the receiving line but still plan to do a "send-off" where everyone's gathered outside the church for our exit, where do we go in the mean time, after we go down the aisle after the ceremony, while our guests file out? It seems like if we just stand at the back of the church and say hi to everyone as they leave, it's basically a receiving line and could take more time than we have - so do we just sort of hide out until they're all outside and then make our exit? Seems weird. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

Re: XP: Receiving Line vs. Table Visits?

  • Your second question is much better reserved for whomever coordinates weddings at your church.  If they do send-offs, they probably have a place where you will go.  Why are you wanting to do a send-off from the church, rather than from the reception venue?

    As an example, we were directed into the bride's room after we recessed and waited there for most of the guests to leave.  When the church had pretty much cleared, we went back in to take family pics.

    As to your first question, if you have a limited window for pictures, I would strongly recommend x-ing the receiving line and just doing table visits.  Receiving lines take FOREVER because EVERYONE is going to want to hug/kiss/shmooze with you and EVERYONE is going to have some "Remember when you were thiiiiis big and you did ________________?!" story.
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  • Your second question is much better reserved for whomever coordinates weddings at your church.  If they do send-offs, they probably have a place where you will go.  Why are you wanting to do a send-off from the church, rather than from the reception venue?

    As an example, we were directed into the bride's room after we recessed and waited there for most of the guests to leave.  When the church had pretty much cleared, we went back in to take family pics.

    As to your first question, if you have a limited window for pictures, I would strongly recommend x-ing the receiving line and just doing table visits.  Receiving lines take FOREVER because EVERYONE is going to want to hug/kiss/shmooze with you and EVERYONE is going to have some "Remember when you were thiiiiis big and you did ________________?!" story.
    To the bolded, I was asked a similar question on the other board I posted this on - I honestly have no answer other than it's the only way I've ever seen it done - every church wedding I've ever gone to (probably a dozen or more) has had some sort of send-off after the ceremony, whether it's tossing rice or blowing bubbles, or whatever. I've never seen any sort of send-off after any of the receptions. Problem is, I never paid attention to where the bride & groom went (if they did not stay in the back of the church for a receiving line) between us leaving the church and them coming out shortly after, for the send-off.

    That makes sense about the receiving line - thanks!
  • Must just be a regional thing -- I've only ever seen one send-off from the church instead of the reception, and if they hadn't said something to us before the bride and groom left the altar, I wouldn't have known to stay.

    If it's the norm where you're from, the church probably has a procedure down for you.  Honestly, "where to go" after the ceremony was over never crossed my mind until we walked out of the church and the coordinator directed us into the bride's room.  =)
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  • Tami87Tami87
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    Our church told us we had to chose either pictures or a receiving line. There would not be time for both, so we picked pictures and then greeted guests as they arrived at the reception (we had a hosted gap at a room at the hotel, which I know is very unpopular on the knot) as well as doing table visits. We had ribbon wands that people waved as we left the church which was only because my MIL really wanted to make them and was feeling like she wasn't very involved in the wedding. But honestly that was probably the least coordinated part of our wedding. My MIL told the church coordinator we were doing a send off. So then the coordinator was being super pushy about trying to get our guests to go outside in the record heat and wait for us while we were still taking pictures. I felt super bad about that. They also did not have a room for us to hide in but instead has us walk around the side aisle and just hang out where guests could still see us. That ended up being kind of weird. If you want to do a send off at the church I recommend hiding out for a few minutes. Having someone tell people that you are exiting. Do an exit so people feel like they can leave. Drive around the block and then take pictures in the church. Or just go right into pictures, knowing many people will leave and skip the church exit or just have the wedding party and family that is still at the church participate.
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    professorscience
  • Riss91Riss91
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    We did the receiving line out of the church. Out of our 160 guests, I would say about 125 were at the church and it took about 30 mins for the receiving line. Once the receiving line was over, they closed the church doors and passed out rice and the guests threw the rice at us as we came out of the church. We actually didn't want the rice, but the priest instructed our altar servers to do it. It hurt like hell and got stuck EVERYWHERE.

    If you don't do the receiving line, there is usually a way to exit the church, walk around to a side or back door and then re-enter after the guests have left.

    Anyway, since not everyone came to our ceremony, we wound up having to spend time at the reception going to the tables, and actually didn't get to everyone. I think it might have been best to arrive at the cocktail hour early and greet people as they arrived.
  • Thanks ladies, this has been helpful! We've decided to do table visits at the reception (I am just too nervous about not having time for the receiving line and family photos at the church, and also I want to make sure we see everyone, including those who may not have been at the ceremony), and after the ceremony we'll just duck into the bridal room at the back of the church until the guests are all outside, and then we will head outside for the send-off. As soon as that's over, we will head back in for family photos. Hopefully the timing works well and it flows nicely. I spoke with a friend who did the same at her wedding (at the same church), and she said it worked well - fingers crossed. Thanks ladies!
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