receiving line

mizmomMarch 10, 2009

Please give me your ideas about the receiving line. My daughter wants to do away with the receiving line because it takes too much time (and no one enjoys it anyway). They want guests to leave the church quickly however the reception is not until 4 hours later. How do you have a receiving line at the reception when the guests arrive before the bridal party. Comments, ideas, any information welcome.

Thank you

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There are two ways they could do it. First would be to have no receiving line what-so-ever. Instead, the bride and groom would spend some of the dinner hour visititing each table. The guests don't have to stand in line, but the bride and groom don't get much to eat either. It would only be bride and groom, so introductions of the parents aren't made.

A second option would be to have a recieving line as people enter the reception. Since people arrive at slightly different times, there isn't quite the big long line. If they go with this option, skip the grand announcement and entrance of the bridal party.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:47AM
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Today, many couples no longer have receiving lines, nor do they have a grand entry for anyone other than the bride and groom. The first takes up too much time and the second is a bit pretentious for today's couples.

If you have a seated meal, the bride and groom will be served first, so they have time to go from table to table greeting guests while the guests are finishing their meals. If you have a buffet, the bride and groom should open the buffet, again allowing them to finish eating first. If the reception will be a cocktail-style affair, it is easy for the couple to greet guests.

Because of the huge time gap between the ceremony and reception, I assume that only a small number of guests are attending the ceremony with most of the guests invited only to the reception. In that case, the bride and groom will want to be at the reception when guests arrive rather than arriving late and being announced.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 7:33PM
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I wouldn't do a receiving line. I haven't been to a wedding with one in 15 years. What are guests going to do for the 4 hours in between?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:06PM
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I go to a lot of weddings, and I NEVER see receiving lines. And I don't miss them! It's a long boring wait in line, standing in high heels, when I could be having a cocktail and appetizers and socializing. I'm sure the bridesmaids and ushers have as little interest in meeting me as I have in meeting them. As for the bride, groom, and their parents, I'll speak to them all sooner or later; at the very least when the bride and groom come around to all the tables, and when I greet the parents at the beginning of the reception and then thank and say goodbye to them at the end.

But then, I never see a reception 4 hours after the wedding, either, and I, too, wonder what the guests are supposed to do with themselves for all that time. If, though, it's the opposite of assumption -- that is, with the smaller number being invited to the reception only -- then I suppose you'd have to do SOMETHING so that the couple and their families can greet the ceremony-only guests. A receiving line would be one solution. But I think I would prefer a short sort of mini-reception, maybe coffee and cookies and perhaps champagne, so that you are offering those guests SOMETHING.

I also never see a grand entrance for anyone but the bridal couple (and actually I think even that's a little silly -- but not a big deal).

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:44PM
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We skipped the receiving line, and no one missed it. We approached our DDs wedding with the idea that we wanted our guests to have a good time. Most were coming from out of town and out of state. So, we skipped the receiving line, and they all had a wonderful time chatting, dancing, eating dinner, etc and not waiting in line! People still comment on the nice wedding weekend we had, and it is 4 years later.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:25PM
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I like a recieving line, and recent weddings I have attended have had one. It's a way for friends of the bride to meet the grooms parents and the cousin from the west coast who is a groomsman...
But sometimes a wedding is so large it's not practical.
One solution I have seen is to have the bride and groom greet people as they leave the church, be the ones standing at the end of the pew hugging and shaking hands. Everyone can't leave the church all at once and the B and G can greet them as they go out.
It's that blasted 4 hour delay I don't understand.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:47AM
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The 4 hour delay is my concern as well unless they are having a small private ceremony for a limited number of guests. Guests will choose between attending the ceremony or the reception, but not both rather than have their entire day filled.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:15PM
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I went to one wedding with a 2 hour delay. There was fruit, cheese and wine set up at the reception place but I admit it did become an uncomfortable wait. If there is anyway to change I would reconsider the long delay.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 11:24AM
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I like a receiving line, if only to make sure that the B & G get to greet every guest and that every guest gets at least a minute with the B & G. Otherwise, it may not happen...

But that 4-hour gap is a problem for anyone attending both ceremony and reception.

What's the reason for it?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 6:35PM
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Here it's very common to have a gap between the wedding and the reception. Often the wedding party goes off to a park somewhere to have photos taken. The guests generally get together in groups who know each other and go to private homes for a coffee or to a nice cafe somewhere or a pub etc. No one thinks this is a problem.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 8:18PM
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Do the guests change clothes in between? I mean, suppose the ceremony is at 3 pm and the reception is a black tie evening party. Everyone except the wedding party would have to have two outfits.

At first, this sounded strange to me. But then I thought about a bar or bat mitzvah; most commonly here, the guests attend the synagogue service Saturday morning and then a party in the evening, more than 4 hours later. That doesn't seem like a nuisance; it's just the way the weekend goes. So I guess in communities like colleenoz's, where it is the common practice to have a long gap, they must just think of the ceremony and reception as two different events, the same as we think of the bar/bat mitzvah service and the evening party. Is that right?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 11:23PM
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Dress codes here are a lot less formal, and even in cases where the wedding party is in black (or even white) tie, it would be rare to see any of the guests as formally attired. So the same outfit is generally worn at both events.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 5:50AM
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