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Customs and Traditions

Receiving line?

What are y'all's opinions on receiving lines? I think it's a nicer way to greet your guests than table visits and it also (hopefully!) means my fiance and I will get a chance to eat! Our ceremony is going to be pretty short, probably about 15 minutes, so it's also a way to make sure our cocktail hour starts after 5 pm. If it was just me and my fiance, my parents, his parents, and maybe our priest I think it would move fairly quickly. Anyway just wondering what you all think about this idea.
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Re: Receiving line?

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    What are y'all's opinions on receiving lines? I think it's a nicer way to greet your guests than table visits and it also (hopefully!) means my fiance and I will get a chance to eat! Our ceremony is going to be pretty short, probably about 15 minutes, so it's also a way to make sure our cocktail hour starts after 5 pm. If it was just me and my fiance, my parents, his parents, and maybe our priest I think it would move fairly quickly. Anyway just wondering what you all think about this idea.

    I prefer table visits to receiving lines. I don't like standing in line waiting for other people to be greeted, and would rather chat with the couple in a more relaxed style. I've just never been a fan. Other people prefer them to table visits. 

    If you do go with a receiving line, it should just be the two of you. You don't need to have your family greeting all the guests and slowing the line.
    [Deleted User]InLoveInQueens
  • We did a receiving line. We had open seating and stations so we probably would have missed people if we had done table visits. I'm really glad we did one.

    As a guest, I really don't care which a B&G decide to do as long as they pick at least one. 
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  • RezIpsaRezIpsa member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I strongly prefer receiving lines. Especially if they are "hosted" receiving lines where servers bring apps and champagne (or whatever) to the guests while they are in line.

    At the weddings I have been to table visits are always rushed, they interrupt the conversation/eating, and there is no way to great and thank each guest individually in any kind of reasonable time frame if you have more that about 30 people. It ends up being a hello and thank you for coming given to the group at the table. People always get missed, and you can't say anything to the bride and groom without feeling like you are holding them up. In addition, the bride and groom have to rush to eat. Screw that.

    Receiving lines give you a very brief personal moment with the bride and groom. A hug, a smile, a short expression by both people and all done. Every single person gets thanked and everyone gets to speak to the bride and groom.

    If you host the line people get way less antsy that they are missing out.
    Casadena
  • We did a receiving line. We had open seating and stations so we probably would have missed people if we had done table visits. I'm really glad we did one.


    As a guest, I really don't care which a B&G decide to do as long as they pick at least one. 
    Ditto
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers


    We did a receiving line. We had open seating and stations so we probably would have missed people if we had done table visits. I'm really glad we did one.


    As a guest, I really don't care which a B&G decide to do as long as they pick at least one. 
    Ditto
    Second ditto.  But I like table visits too, because it just seems a bit more personal and a bit less rushed to me.  That's me though. 
    Maggie0829
  • The last wedding I went to, they did table visits and they missed 5-6 tables. It was a much larger wedding than mine, but I felt like it was sort of sad that they missed some people. I wanted to say congratulations and ended up having to sort of "hunt down" the bride and groom to give them a hug. I think we may go with the receiving line...thanks for the advice!
  • spglspspglsp member
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    As a guest I really haven't enjoyed my experiences with receiving lines. Usually it's pretty awkward standing in line to greet my friends and because the parents are part of the line too I end up making stilted chit chat with people I don't know who usually call me by the wrong name. It's a bit like that press junket scene in Notting Hill.
    Just Married!

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  • @spglsp I hadn't thought of that...yikes. I just feel like my parents would be offended if they weren't included and we just did the two of us. If we greet guests first, they can say a quick hello to the parents and then off to the cocktail hour, I think. That way they won't have to stand and awkwardly talk to my parents while they wait for us. Do you think that would help the issue?
  • mrscomposermrscomposer Mani-snow-ba member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer

    @spglsp I hadn't thought of that...yikes. I just feel like my parents would be offended if they weren't included and we just did the two of us. If we greet guests first, they can say a quick hello to the parents and then off to the cocktail hour, I think. That way they won't have to stand and awkwardly talk to my parents while they wait for us. Do you think that would help the issue?




    Both my mom and MIL are talkers, so we would have wound up with the opposite problem - bottlenecking at the moms, and standing around chatting awkwardly with us :)  We did our receiving line with just the two of us in the foyer of the church, and both sets of parents were milling around as well, so people could stop and talk to them - beyond the 'hey congratulations' hug of a receiving line.

    **The OMH formerly known as jsangel1018**
    lachattefatale[Deleted User]
  • Hmmm...not a bad idea. His mom is a talker. My parents aren't really so I don't think they'd be as bad...I might steal your idea of just having them somewhere close by so it can be a little more informal, but my mom addressed the invitations and was lamenting that she didn't know everyone our guest list so that's why I think she'd really rather meet everyone. I like all of these suggestions though and am taking them into consideration while we plan this out. Probably not appropriate to have my parents but not his though...
  • Receiving line all the way.  I personally am a huge "table visit" hater, it's just very weird to me.  Pretty sure I spoke to everyone at our reception anyway, but it wasn't forced and I wasn't stressed about making sure we saw everyone before we could relax and have fun.  Just my opinion.  But as long as you make sure to speak to/thank everyone it doesn't REALLY mattter how.  
  • We're going to do table visits. I'm with the people who find receiving lines very awkward. Our venue coordinator recommended against them and suggested we use those 15 minutes for more pictures while our guests can enjoy an extra 15 minutes for drinks and appetizers. We are only having ~50 people so it should be manageable to visit everyone and this way we can do it on our own time rather than some forced event. 
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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    We did not do a receiving line and I wish we had. Our pastor reccommended against it actually. We did table visits which cut into our time to eat and there were a hand-full of people that only came to the ceremony so I missed them.

  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited May 2015
    We did a receiving line, although some people skipped past it and went straight into cocktail hour. We caught up with them later. I was really happy we did it this way so we had a chance to at least say hi and thank you to everyone - the people who planned to leave early had made sure to be in the line. It only took about 15 minutes.

    We went to a wedding last weekend, and 2.5 hours into the reception the B&G had only made it to about 4 tables and guests were starting to leave. The bride got pretty mad at the groom for "talking too much." Meanwhile their cocktail hour had lasted nearly 2 - they easily could have cut out a few photos to squeeze in a receiving line.

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  • I went to one weddig that had the entire wedding party, her parents, his parents, and her grandparents too. That was definitely WAY too many people. I sort of figured I'd leave it up to my priest if he wanted to be in it or not, but I can't see a way to leave out the parents without offending them.
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary

    I went to one weddig that had the entire wedding party, her parents, his parents, and her grandparents too. That was definitely WAY too many people. I sort of figured I'd leave it up to my priest if he wanted to be in it or not, but I can't see a way to leave out the parents without offending them.

    Are your parents hosting? If so, they should definitely be included. The priest, not necessarily.

    Ours was just the two of us, as we were the only ones hosting. I agree the whole WP is definitely way too many people, and totally unnecessary.

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    My receiving line was the line to the bar.   I do not think it was too much of a hardship.  :)


    I also did some table visits to make sure I hit everyone.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited May 2015
    I am doing a receving line because it's pretty much expected of me in my circles. Plus I would like to be able to eat sometime that day. I did pay for all the food, after all!

    After that, people can find me on the dance floor if they wanna talk! I am all about being polite and hosting my guests, but that doesn't mean I'm going to skip dancing with my sisters to go talk to some random elderly second cousin I never met before. 
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    dreamsinpink
  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We did both a receiving line and table visits. We had a few guests who had mentioned that they were not going to be able to stay for our reception (it was a holiday weekend) but would be at the ceremony, so we wanted to be sure to see them before they left. Receiving line took maybe 10 minutes or so? Our reception space was a shot walk from our ceremony space, so the receiving line was also a good way to make sure everyone knew which building to go to. We did our table visits after we finished eating, and were able to divide-and-conquer the room so everyone got some real face-time with us before we tore up the dance floor.
    ~*~*~*~*~

  • I am leaning toward receiving line to a.) make sure I say hi and thanks to everyone and b.) to ensure I get to eat.

    I haven't been to many weddings (6? 8?) but with most, NEITHER option was all that great for me as a guest.

    At two weddings with receiving lines I was forced to speak to the entire wedding party and both sets of parents and grandparents- yeah; I only knew the bride. At another with a smaller receiving line, the B&G were both talkers and they had about 150 guests and it took 40 fucking minutes to get through the damn line.

    There were two with table visits that interrupted the meal and I wanted to eat my hot food while it was hot- sorry...

    The others I don't remember what they did so it must at least have not been "bad."
  • We're not doing a formal receiving line, but we're going to stick around the church for a bit to say hi to people before we take some photos, and then we'll do table visits during dinner. 
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  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer

    I am leaning toward receiving line to a.) make sure I say hi and thanks to everyone and b.) to ensure I get to eat.

    I haven't been to many weddings (6? 8?) but with most, NEITHER option was all that great for me as a guest.

    At two weddings with receiving lines I was forced to speak to the entire wedding party and both sets of parents and grandparents- yeah; I only knew the bride. At another with a smaller receiving line, the B&G were both talkers and they had about 150 guests and it took 40 fucking minutes to get through the damn line.

    There were two with table visits that interrupted the meal and I wanted to eat my hot food while it was hot- sorry...

    The others I don't remember what they did so it must at least have not been "bad."

    I wonder if we were at the same wedding. I went to a wedding like this and it took forever to get the to cocktail reception since there were like 40 people to greet.

    [Deleted User]
  • There will be no receiving line at my wedding. No way. No how. I think they are such a waste of time and just create a traffic jam with stilted conversation that just make the day go slower. We will visit each table and mingle with everyone during the wedding. My mother hates them and since she's hosting, she's so relieved that we're getting rid of the tedious annoying "tradition". I just think there are better ways to greet your guests than making them stand in line.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Do you really think table visits are better? I feel like they make it so you can't eat and also it's easier to miss people. I do not want people to be bored/feel awkward waiting in line but with what I am paying for this food I want to make sure I get some of it! I wish there were a way I could just guarantee that I would talk to everybody during the party, but I would almost certainly miss someone that way.
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer

    Do you really think table visits are better? I feel like they make it so you can't eat and also it's easier to miss people. I do not want people to be bored/feel awkward waiting in line but with what I am paying for this food I want to make sure I get some of it! I wish there were a way I could just guarantee that I would talk to everybody during the party, but I would almost certainly miss someone that way.

    Honestly, you're not going to eat that much the night of your wedding. I barely ate when dinner came around. And your table should be excused to eat first, so you can eat and then walk around whilst others are eating (if you're able to and not doing a seated/served meal). That's when we did our table visits, when our guests were eating. I know it was a little awkward, but we tried to time it when we saw people finishing their plates or just sitting around chatting. And table visits don't have to be a super long visit. Just enough to express your thanks, make some small talk and move on. 

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    Do you really think table visits are better? I feel like they make it so you can't eat and also it's easier to miss people. I do not want people to be bored/feel awkward waiting in line but with what I am paying for this food I want to make sure I get some of it! I wish there were a way I could just guarantee that I would talk to everybody during the party, but I would almost certainly miss someone that way.

    Schedule both the table visits and some time to eat yourself into your wedding timeline.  It may mean you don't get to dance as much, or that toasts have to be a bit shorter (which your guests will appreciate anyway), or something, but plan for both the table visits and personal eating time.
    InLoveInQueens
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    All the weddings I have been to (including mine) have had receiving lines.  H and I would never have had enough time to get to everyone doing table visits.

  • Did someone say it was? I did not. I would not want my guests to think I was wasting THEIR time by making them stand in line...but I do feel it is the easiest way to make sure that everyone gets greeted. I think they are kind of nice, although I can see keeping it short rather than including everyone. We have decided on just the two of us, his parents, and my parents. Our priest decided not to be part of it but I did leave it up to him. I don't think the wedding party or any additional guests need to be involved, as his parents, my parents, and us are the ones hosting the event. Now I just need to figure out the best order to stand in so there isn't an awkward drag.

  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We did a receiving line. The only people who should be in the receiving line are the B&G and hosts. I wouldn't have your priest in the line.

    Our line was a bit less formal- our bridal party was standing around us but guests didn't have to directly talk to them in order to get to us. We also didn't have a strict line up. When our officiant announced us as husband and wife he also announced that we would be out on the veranda to receive our guests. The veranda was a contained space but also large enough that guests mingled with each other (and our parents went out and mingled with guests), and then could mosey on over to us. 

    I recently attended a wedding where both sets of parents and the brides sister, plus the B&G were lined up. That was awkward, "Hey parents! You must be so excited! yadda yadda". I'd never met the grooms parents. And then I said something stupid to the brides sister (who I do casually know), I pulled a, "So are you next?" UGH! Can't believe I said that! But I was standing there, bottle-necked in line and didn't know what to say after telling her how pretty she looked.... Ugh.

    On the dinner note- I would like to strongly disagree that you will not eat much. We ate every course, and everything off our plate (that we wanted). If you choose to eat your dinner, you will, and there is nothing wrong with that. Our meal was plated, and we were served first, so we had time to eat as well as throw in some table visits. 

    We had a smaller wedding (72 guests), and we did not make it to every table between courses (which is why I'm glad we did a receiving line), so I can see how if you rely on table visits you may not get to eat (which is all wrong to me ;) ). 

    Overall- I prefer a receiving line because it is direct one on one time with the B&G without having to stop mid bite of food, or having someone talk to you with food in your mouth.

    I also find it awkward in general to talk to someone standing up while you're sitting down- it feels "wrong" to me, like I'm being disrespectful, or like the two people are not on equal social levels (for example, like you're a student talking to a teacher, or your boss telling you what to do- otherwise, one would rise to talk to someone who approaches them, or that other person sits down). 
  • I'm kind of surprised to hear folks saying that they are only doing one or the other. I have no idea what the actual etiquette is, but it was a massive fight with my parents because we are only doing one receiving line and then table visits. According to my side of the family, the right thing to do would be receiving line at church + receiving line at venue + table visits on top of that -- but I don't think I've ever seen or heard of that being done and it would be very difficult to manage a receiving line at the church AND beat our guests to the reception for receiving line 2. 

    As a guest, I've seen both options done, and I didn't love either of them. Receiving lines are always super awkward because I rarely know most of the people in them, don't know what to say, and always get bottlenecked with the people I don't know. And a couple of times the B&G didn't actually make it around to my table to say hello. If I was only going to do one I'd opt for the table visits -- because they are more personal and my guests would at least not be standing outside anymore, but also because I honestly feel like I'll be more in the moment and less freaking-out/distracted by the time I get to the reception. 
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