Post # 1
My fiance is in the Navy and insists on having the sword arch outside of the ceremony meetinghouse (it’s a New England thing, not a church, but looks like one). My parents would like a receiving line so they can quickly meet the 85% of the guests who they do not know and are hosting at their home. I would like a receiving line. I want to have one as our guests exit the meetinghouse, before we have the sword ceremony so we can very quickly say hello and thank you. My fiance is ADAMANTLY opposed to greeting our guests until we’ve gone through the swords. Our chaplain has told me that it would be better to have the receiving line before the swords. Fiance will not budge.
We are both digging our heels in and feel very strongly. He claims this is tradition that is very important to him. This is really the only time we can do a receiving line since the lawn of the meeting house is so small that we cannot do it outside. Our reception is immediately following and I’ve already agreed to not see each other until the ceremony so we will be taking photos during the cocktail hour and won’t arrive until the last few minutes of the cocktail hour when we’ll enter the tent for our first dance.
Can someone please explain the Navy tradition and why this is so important? Or better yet explain that it’s not tradition and give me something to show Darling Fiance that it’s FINE to greet our guests before we walk through the *$%@ swords? I am pulling my hair out over here. I am so frustrated with the Navy "traditions" that are messing up the timeline right now!
Post # 3
hahahaa aw, just compromise
Post # 4
Welcome to marriage lol!!!
Could they make an announcement at the end of the wedding that there will be a receiving line directly after the sword arch?
Post # 5
You can do both. I have seen it. Have the archway after the ceremony…. and the receiving line before the reception as guests arrive…. or incorporate it after the archway. It’s been done. You can do it!
The significance of the receiving line is basically a way for his navy friends to welcome you to being a military wife. It’s their formal version of a ‘rite of passsage’ for those who marry while in the military to form commraderie. Not everyone gets to have this honor of having a saber line.
Post # 6
Could they line up in the meeting house, so you go through the arch, as you are go back down the aisle? Then you could proceed to line up at the entrance of the meeting house and form your receiving line.
Post # 7
The significance has already been stated, but yes the arch signifies safe passage of the couple into military life together. It’s actually one of the aspects of my wedding I am most excited about and it’s true that only certain people can do this ritual. Personally, I think it looks great and has a lot of significance.
I don’t have any great ideas for the timing but I am sure you can find a compromise to work out both. I know your fiance’s ideas are hindering your ideas of a timeline, but to be honest with you I can see why it’s so important to him. It’s important to me and I am not even the person in the military (my fiance is).
Post # 8
We are doing the arch of sabers BEFORE even leaving the chapel. The plan is to get married and then once they pronounce us Mr. and Mrs. to have the honor guard guys (and gals!) do their arch very close to the front of the church. That way the guests can all see us pass through and we’ll still continue on our marry way to have the receiving line outside.
I personally can’t wait to go through it! I’m the one who’s pushing for it and my FI is the one in the Air Force!
Post # 9
I don’t think I was very clear when I wrote this last night so I’ll try to explain a little better.
I’m am very excited for the arch. I think it’s a great tradition. However, I am unclear about the tradition of not seeing, talking to or touching our guests before walking through the arch. Can someone please explain to me if that is actually a tradition? FI’s only reason is "because that’s what I’ve seen."
I am particularly upset because my parents have asked for nothing, are paying for the wedding and are hosting the reception at their house. My father very quietly mentioned he would like a receiving line as our guests exit the church. Because he has asked for nothing and is working so hard to prepare their home for our guests I feel very strongly that we should do this one thing for him. They also agree that the lawn at the ceremony (tiny, trust me it’s going to be impossible to do a line outside the ceremony, I went yesterday to see if it would work and our guests will barely be able to gather to see the arch, let alone try to move through a line) and the reception will not be appropriate times because of size and location (large, very spread out, FI and I will not be there until our guests are already seated for dinner). My parents said that if it causes a problem to have it as guests leave the meeting house then we do not need to have it. However, this is something I really want to do for them.
I am finding it very hard to believe, and find it documented no where that we cannot say hello and thank you to our guests before we exit through the church doors and step under the arch. Is not seeing our guests before we go through the arch a documented part of the saber arch tradition? Can someone point me to documentation so I can read it to my family?
@jesstagirl & tanya123 – this is a great idea, however there is no center aisle and the side and front aisles are only wide enough for one, maybe two people (darn new england sensibility!)
Post # 10
Ah okay, I understand a lot better now – from the original post I thought you were talking about the entire tradition, not the timing relative to talking to guests.
That, I am certainly no expert on. What I can say is that the logistics of the arch have played with my mind too! From what I understand, after our ceremony, we’ll recess down the aisle, be in some sort of little area by ourselves (great for immediate newlywed alone time!), the guests will file out, the arch will form, and then we will come through it. We aren’t allowed to have a receiving line at the chapel for time reasons so we will probably end up doing table visits.
That said, I know you may have already said, but is there a reason a setup like what I just described can’t work, with the addition of a receiving line afterward? Is it possible for you two to "hide", come through the arch, and then do the line? Sorry if I am totally missing more of your logistics – just trying to explain my own impressions of what our arch will be like.
I hope you can find the right solution to have both, especially since the line is so important to your parents.
Post # 11
Can you do the arch right as you are leaving the church with the receiving line just at the end of the arch? There has to be a mutually satisfactory way to have this organized 🙂 I’m just not familiar with the tradition, so I don’t know what that might be.
I will say that, in general, our fiances ask for so little when it comes to wedding input for the most part. If mine puts forward an idea, I generally try to go with it as a way of encouraging his participation. I did put a major stop to the zombie ties though! ( I still think that was fully legit of me, though).
Post # 12
Just thought I’d post the resolution to the whole arch/receiving line issue.
Fiance’s mom pointed out that he and I will both be in white (obviously). If we have the receiving line at the meetinghouse, either before or after the swords, we’ll have several older ladies with pink lipstick and rosy blush kissing and hugging us…all before we take off with our this-is-my-one-and-only-totally-irrational-big-wedding-super-splurge photographer.
Good point fiance’s mom. I think I’d be pretty sad if fiance had makeup all over his uniform in all of our photos (he does in all his college graduation photos thanks to nana). So practical! I think this woman and I are going to get along just fine 😉
Post # 13
oh duh, so resolution is….we’ll go around to tables and make sure we say hello to everyone. Heck, it’s a three day event, I’m sure we’ll manage.
Fiance wins 🙂
Post # 14
I am glad to hear that you figured it out! This is the solution we are going with too, since receiving lines aren’t allowed at our chapel with or without our arch, which we’ll also have.