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Receiving lines: to have or to have not?

By admin on December 7th, 2006 4 comments

Handshake1 I’ve just been reading an article over at The Knot about the things guests complain about at weddings, and it seems that the number one complaint on the list was the receiving line: that moment (usually before the wedding breakfast) where everyone files past the wedding party and shakes their hands or gives them a kiss.

I have to admit I don’t like this part of weddings much myself. Oh, it’s lovely to actually get some face time with the bride and groom (even if it is only for a few seconds), and I think it’s only polite to introduce yourself to their parents, especially if they’re the ones hosting the wedding. As for the rest, though: the bridesmaids, the ushers, the best man? Well, that part always makes me think of that scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral where Kristin Scott Thomas tells everyone "You must be very proud!"

Kristin’s character is right, though. It can be hard to know what to say to a line of people you’ve never met before, and, for this reason, we will probably only be including both sets of parents (and ourselves, of course!) in ours. We did think about not having one at all, but as my parents are very generously paying for our reception, we thought it was only fair that they be introduced to the people they’ll be entertaining, and I’m sure my in-laws will want to know who everyone else is.

Are you having a receiving line? And if so, who’ll be in it?

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  • r

    I think a bride whose wedding I recently attended had a great idea that I want to utilize. At the reception, the newlyweds went around and personally greeted each table and thanked their guests for their attendance. After the ceremony, the bride and groom’s parents did pictures with the newlyweds right away and then mingled at the cocktail hour and greeted guests coming into the reception. So guests weren’t stuck waiting in line, and instead got a personal thank you from the newlyweds after they’d had a chance to breathe for a moment.

  • Ariana

    Another way that I’ve seen to “get the receiving line over with” is directly after the wedding party files out, the bride and groom re-enter and “dismiss” each row with a brief hand-shake and “hello” to each person as they file out. Yes, it is a bit tedious, but you can note that the guests are to stay seated in your program, and then you don’t have to worry about doing anything else for the rest of the day/evening. Your obligation is fulfilled and if anyone at the wedding doesn’t come to the reception, then you’ve said hello.

  • melissa

    far too outdated- even for me. The folks get introduced and thanked during the toasts- they get a big applause- the end.

  • Fi

    No line up for us – I always find it bizarre and excruciating at other folks’ weddings, so we’ll just be making sure we circulate and visit every table during the reception. It also takes up so much time – someone recently said they reckoned for 150 guests it takes an hour and a half!!!

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