Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Receiving line

I'm debating on whether or not to have  a receiving line after the ceremony. It seems like we could get pictures done and get to the reception a lot quicker. I've heard that it would be more time efficient on not keeping the guests waiting so long because we could get right to pictures. I've also heard that a receiving line  is the time  to greet your guests, and wouldn't be very hostess like to not have one. What are everyone's thoughts?

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Re: Receiving line

  • Not having a receiving line is fine. Not making an effort to personally thank your guests would be very unhostessly. You can do a receiving line or table visits or if you can think of another way. But whatever you decide to do, you need to properly thank your guests for attending.
    Ladybug2838wuerfleinrs
  • We did a recieving line because we wanted to be able to spend more time at our reception dancing and having fun than table hopping for formality.  Yes, I admitted that.  We still visited with people but since we had already greeted/thanked everyone, I didn't feel overwhelmed with making sure I made it around to every table and personally thanked everyone (we already did it!).
    Where there is love, there is life.-Ghandi
    KBelle115AprilH81cafarrie[Deleted User]
  • libby2483libby2483 member
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited April 2013
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_receiving-line-8?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:3b5eb238-9b0e-4cc8-be25-defa3d3cefa9Post:6654f7cb-af0e-4f71-8aa8-b87b2d1cf3f7">Re: Receiving line</a>:
    [QUOTE]We did a recieving line because we wanted to be able to spend more time at our reception dancing and having fun than table hopping for formality.  Yes, I admitted that.  We still visited with people but since we had already greeted/thanked everyone, I didn't feel overwhelmed with making sure I made it around to every table and personally thanked everyone (we already did it!).
    Posted by annmarie714[/QUOTE]

    <div>Ditto.  We wanted to actually be able to sit down and eat our dinner, so we opted for a receiving line rather than table visits during dinner.  I'm very glad that we opted for this.  </div><div>
    </div><div>You should do either a receiving line or table visits, because you are correct that you do need to greet/thank each guest individually.</div>
  • I would have loved to do a recieving line, because I would have loved to just have enjoyed my dinner and flirted with my H.

    Unfortunately family dynamics made that impossible, and we ended up doing table-hopping.  Not the end of the world, but I didn't get much time to eat.
    Don't make me mobilize OffensiveKitten

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    Anniversary

  • In Response to Re:Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re:Receiving line: Um, no. You absolutely need to make a true effort to thank each of your guests individually.
    Posted by StageManager14[/QUOTE]

    And what if you have 250+ guests at your wedding? When will you eat? You try to thank them individually, that's all you can do. I have been to weddings where some I have been thanked personally and others I have not, no sweat. You send a thank you card, with a personal note such as "I wish we could have talked more at the wedding, thank you so much for sharing our special day"
    AuntieLondialeyr019
  • JoseD12JoseD12 member
    Second Anniversary 10 Comments

    Coming from a bride with 300+ guests, the receiving line will give me a chance to thank everyone personally. This maybe the only time I see them but atleast I get that one moment.

  • In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    This is incorrect.  No matter how many guests you have, each guest should be personally "received"/thanked for attending, either in a receiving line or at table visits.
    [Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited May 2013
    In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    Nope.

    If they took the time out of their lives to RSVP yes, come up with a gift for you, and attend your wedding, the least you can do is personally thank them.  If you can't do that, then don't invite them to your wedding.  Inviting them and then ignoring them is one of the rudest things you can do.
    [Deleted User]
  • I say do whichever you feel most comfortable with and with the time allowed. A recieving line to me seems a bit more informal, but that's because I like to chat and will be doing table visits. The FI and I are social people so that's our thing and we wouldn't want people waiting in line if I or FI wants to chat a little more.
     
    I would also like to think that you could thank people as you see them...maybe some at the ceremony...cocktail hour then reception, but please try and make every effort to thank everyone personally. They all made every effort to make it to your wedding and well as some possible pre wedding events.

    Since we're opting for table visits, we trying to leave 1 seat open at each table so that we dont have to stand around and mostly so I can sit down, lol.

    Just a side note, I've been to a few weddings where the Bride and Groom do the table visit and at the same time hand out thier Wedding Favor. The Groom is usually holding a nice basket or other decortive vessel and the Bride is handing them out thanking each person.
    I always thought that was sweeter than a pre placed favor.

    perdonamiLyssa*BCoriemarlene
  • libby2483 said:
    In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    This is incorrect.  No matter how many guests you have, each guest should be personally "received"/thanked for attending, either in a receiving line or at table visits.
    Agreed. I went to a wedding of a high school friend last year and they did not have a receiving line nor did they do table visits. Therefor, I never actually met her husband. It is because of this experience that I am insisting on having a receiving line at my own wedding. I want to make sure that ever one who attends the wedding knows how much we appreciate them being there. 

    [Deleted User]
  • @TheMoez, this thread is a year old. Feel free to find some more recent posts to hop onto!
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    doeydo
  • I hadn't seen this topic before. Could someone explain to me- at a table visit, do you go up to each person there and thank them? Or do you just stop by the table and chat naturally with people? The first seems kind of forced but the second might not be enough. Our tables vary from 6-12 people at each. 
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I hadn't seen this topic before. Could someone explain to me- at a table visit, do you go up to each person there and thank them? Or do you just stop by the table and chat naturally with people? The first seems kind of forced but the second might not be enough. Our tables vary from 6-12 people at each. 
    Ask this in a new thread.  This is a very old one.  We prefer that old threads be allowed to die rather than being renewed with new posts.
  • edited May 2014
    libby2483 said:

    In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    This is incorrect.  No matter how many guests you have, each guest should be personally "received"/thanked for attending, either in a receiving line or at table visits.
    I never cared if I was personally thanked or not. I know it's proper etiquette but a lot of ppl are not going to be offended if they arent personally thanked. Some will, many wont.

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  • TheMoez said:


    libby2483 said:

    In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    This is incorrect.  No matter how many guests you have, each guest should be personally "received"/thanked for attending, either in a receiving line or at table visits.

    Agreed. I went to a wedding of a high school friend last year and they did not have a receiving line nor did they do table visits. Therefor, I never actually met her husband. It is because of this experience that I am insisting on having a receiving line at my own wedding. I want to make sure that ever one who attends the wedding knows how much we appreciate them being there. 



    But you could have gone up to him & introduced yourself so I feel like it's a double edged sword.

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    In Response to Re: Receiving line:
    [QUOTE]Don't beat yourself up if you don't have a receiving line. I think most guests understand that the whole day is so jam-packed full and is most certain to run over-time that.This is depending on how large your wedding is guest-wise and if it is going to be bi-local (two seperate locations) A toast at the rehearsal and at the reception followed by formally mailed thank you cards is very approproate
    Posted by mc4dj13[/QUOTE]

    This is incorrect.  No matter how many guests you have, each guest should be personally "received"/thanked for attending, either in a receiving line or at table visits.
    I never cared if I was personally thanked or not. I know it's proper etiquette but a lot of ppl are not going to be offended if they arent personally thanked. Some will, many wont.

    This is bad advice, because regardless if you cared or not, it is not appropriate to endorse breaches of etiquette.  Many people will be offended if the couple never goes near them all reception and leaves them totally alone.


  • We are having the same debate. We have extended an open invitation to our church communities to attend the ceremony since the reception space we chose and our budget limited the guest count to 160, but we're worried about time efficiency.

    We've also thought about dismissing each pew as a way of doing a receiving line, but I'm not sure if this would take more time or less. We definitely want to thank everyone who is there to support us, but with the open ceremony atmosphere and a balcony in the church, we're still not sure what to do.


  • I am thinking about thanking my guest at the cocktail Hour? What do you guys think about that??
  • Like several others have already said, my fiance and I have decided to do a receiving line as people are leaving the church so that we can enjoy our time at the reception rather than table hopping the entire time. We want to actually dance and enjoy ourselves! I also think it will be special to get to personally greet everyone, and I know it will make our guests feel appreciated. And, the bonus of doing it as everyone is leaving the church is that it will hopefully go relatively quickly, as people will want to get to the bar and buffet!
  • Jen4948 said:
    I hadn't seen this topic before. Could someone explain to me- at a table visit, do you go up to each person there and thank them? Or do you just stop by the table and chat naturally with people? The first seems kind of forced but the second might not be enough. Our tables vary from 6-12 people at each. 
    Ask this in a new thread.  This is a very old one.  We prefer that old threads be allowed to die rather than being renewed with new posts.
    Then maybe this thread shouldn't have been sent out in today's The Knot email newsletter :-)

    Whether you're doing a receiving line or table visits, it should just be time to greet people, spend some time with them, and thank them for coming.  It needs to be done one way or the other!
    clairehodginsJuslonKnottie18130740teresedanielle
  • We are also planning a receiving line in lieu of greetings at the reception.  I have been to several weddings in the last year and the couples who personally thanked everyone at the reception never got around to eating dinner!  Another option is to have the bride and groom dismiss rows after the ceremony; that worked nicely but did take a bit more time.
  • Melly008Melly008 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited July 2014
    My partner and I are skipping the receiving line. The formality of it is not our style we would prefer to approach our guests in a way that suits our personality. Instead we have extended our cocktail hour so we can mingle with our guests. We are also writing personalised thank you notes for each guest that they will find at their table with their wedding favour. I think it's important to put as much of your personality into your wedding, this might mean a slight twist on tradition to make it feel truly yours.
  • I was just a bridesmaid in a wedding this past weekend, and the couple chose to not do a recieving line. The feedback from the guests was not good. (It was also a strange set up, where the couple had the ceremony on one day, and the reception 2 days later. Because of this, some guests could come only to the ceremony and would not have had the chance to see them at the reception). The guests were very offended that they took a day off work (it was a thursday) and spent time and gave gifts, all to be completely ignored afterwards. Because it was outside in a park, the couple was completly visible as they ran off to get pictures immediatly, and the guests were left sitting/standing at thiers seats waiting. It was awkward and visibly disrespectful. It is because of this that I plan on doing a recieving line. Being on the front line of the angry guests as a bridesmaid was a horrible experience. Bad Choice!!!
    Knottie18130740
  • I think it depends on your set up & number of guests. For example if your ceremony is at the same location as your reception and you need to do photos during cocktail hour I would probably skip the receiving line & just to visits at the table. But then again I went to a small wedding where the ceremony & reception was at the same venue in the same room & they did a receiving line out in the hallway which gave the staff time to switch the room over. If you are having a large wedding & the ceremony is at a different location, doing a receiving line can help you make sure you greet those guests so that way if you don't see them at the reception (they were at the bathroom or the bar or dancing when you got to their table), it won't be a big deal. I think you have to look at what is the best way for your wedding to make sure you great your guests in an efficiant way & so that you get to still enjoy your reception (not spending the whole reception saying hi to everyone).
  • Melly008 said:
    My partner and I are skipping the receiving line. The formality of it is not our style we would prefer to approach our guests in a way that suits our personality. Instead we have extended our cocktail hour so we can mingle with our guests. We are also writing personalised thank you notes for each guest that they will find at their table with their wedding favour. I think it's important to put as much of your personality into your wedding, this might mean a slight twist on tradition to make it feel truly yours.
    This is what we are doing too — extending cocktail hour by just a bit so we can mingle with guests after we take photos. I love the idea because I'm excited to have some of the yummy passed appetizers we are having, too! Otherwise we wouldn't get to enjoy those.

    We had originally thought of having sort of an informal receiving line immediately after the ceremony, but the photographer heavily discouraged that idea. We need to take photos during cocktail hour, before the sun goes down, and he was afraid of us being pulled into conversations and it running too long before we are able to get photos. 
  • I recently saw at a wedding, where the bride and groom instead of having a receiving line, they walked out and then walked around and excused each row. As they did this they were able to greet everyone. I thought it looked great, and my fiance and I are going to do the same. I thought as a guest would you rather stand in a line or wait while being seated...
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    quick1dm said:
    I recently saw at a wedding, where the bride and groom instead of having a receiving line, they walked out and then walked around and excused each row. As they did this they were able to greet everyone. I thought it looked great, and my fiance and I are going to do the same. I thought as a guest would you rather stand in a line or wait while being seated...

    Stuck in box...

    While I do recognize the need for an orderly exit, I would not appreciate my row being "excused."  I'm a wedding guest, not a schoolkid.  Once the ceremony's over, then if I need to get out of the row to get to my car, the bathroom, someplace I can use my cell phone, whatever, that's my business and I should not be prohibited from doing it.

    Also, it is not appropriate to greet wedding guests at the ceremony venue if it is a house of worship.  The couple need to do that at the reception venue.
  • I'll bite.  There is nothing wrong with a receiving line at church, but it takes place in the narthex (lobby), not inside the sanctuary.
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    Marzipan13chasseuse
  • ashleyepashleyep member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited August 2014
    I kind of wish we had done a receiving line. Our photographer had me all worried that we would barely have enough time during cocktail hour for photos so we opted for table visits. Our ceremony ended up being shorter than I anticipated and we could have done the receiving line.
    We barely made it through half of the tables. I spent a good chunk of the rest of the night trying to make sure I greeted everyone. I don't feel like we spent that long at each table. I'm not sure why we didn't make it to more. Maybe dinner was short.
    Anniversary
  • quick1dm said:
    I recently saw at a wedding, where the bride and groom instead of having a receiving line, they walked out and then walked around and excused each row. As they did this they were able to greet everyone. I thought it looked great, and my fiance and I are going to do the same. I thought as a guest would you rather stand in a line or wait while being seated...
    This is what we did.  Our ushers would have done this anyway (i've never seen people leave a wedding as a "free for all" @jen4948, how do you envision people leaving?  I'm not being snarky, i've just never seen it done any other way!) 

    For us it was wonderful to give everyone a quick hug and say hello, the choir was still singing the entire time so it felt as though it was part of the recessional vs. a type of receiving linen and it only took about 10 minutes because people dont' stand and chat like a receiving line.  We were able to see everyone and didn't have to worry about doing table visits (I dislike as a guest being made to sit for an extremely long time during dinner while people do this).

    We were able to talk to about 90% of our guests during the reception as it was, but it was nice to not feel rushed or pressured to make sure we did!  It was very stress free and relaxed from the time we got to the reception!
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