Your Advice/Opinion about Receiving Lines, please!

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1248 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

WithTheMostess:  You say you are inviting 500 but how many do you think will actually attend? I’ve only been to one wedding with a receiving line and that was around 100 guests…for that amount it worked ok but 500 would be intense! The largest wedding I’ve been to was around 200-250. I did not expect the bride and groom to get around to all of us due to the size, I think people understand how full on and busy it is for the couple.

Post # 5
111 posts
Blushing bee

I attended a college roommate’s wedding. It was around 200 people, and to be honest I was kind of bummed they didn’t have a receiving line, because I didn’t get to talk to them the entire night. We travled cross-country and booked expensive hotel rooms to see them get married, and while it was lovely and we were so glad to be there, it sucked we didn’t get to talk to them at all! A hug and a few words of congratulations would have been great. 

Post # 7
111 posts
Blushing bee

WithTheMostess:  To be clear, the wedding was so much fun that the night flew by and it was partially our fault we didn’t get to talk to them, because we were so busy stuffing ourselves with the delicious food/dancing/doing shots with other college friends (lol I am classy)/photoboothing/hanging out in the cool venue that I never had a moment to go hunt them down, but if there had been a receiving line we would have stood in it (let’s be real, I stood in the buffet line like 4 times haha). Since the dinner was served buffet style, I guess there was no good moment for them to come around and visit with us even if they had intended to do that. 

I guess my point is that a receiving line may be a good opportunity to make sure you actually get face time with everyone. You’re right, though, with 500 guests that’s insane. I just wanted to offer a viewpoint explaining why I intend to do a receiving line at my reception 🙂 I’m sure whatever you choose will result in a lovely wedding!

Post # 9
3623 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

WithTheMostess:  I loved our receiving line, but we did it with a twist– we kicked our parents out. Neither of our moms was good at moving people along, so we opted for it to be just the two of us. We got through 150 people in 8 minutes or so. Everyone got one on one time and it was no big deal. 

We tried to go table to table, but DH takes after his mom and couldn’t talk quickly, so I went off to hang with my friends. We each had a blast catching up with our people.

As far as at other weddings, I am annoyed if I take time off of work, fly into a wedding, pay upwards of $1k for both of us to attend, and you don’t even talk to us. I think at least one is necessary. 

Post # 10
1967 posts
Buzzing bee

WithTheMostess:  A true first-class event is one where there is first-class hospitality: there is a possibility that many of your guests will not feel “important” enough to approach you during your reception, especially if you appear to be spending time with people who are obviously close to you/friends your own age (if I were invited as one of your father’s guests, for example, I would not feel comfortable “bothering” you as I would assume that I was a courtesy invitation…I would probably feel the same way if I was a distant relative as well) and I would bet that if you do not have a formal receiving line, you will miss the opportunity for a personal word with many of your guests.  If this is indeed a fancy social affair, the guests will go through some effort–clothes, gifts, and other accoutrements to match the occasion–and it would be truly first-class to ensure that you are able to exchange a brief personal word with all of them.  The receiving line seems like it would be ideal for your situation.

Post # 11
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Well, I’ve never been to a wedding that large, so it’s hard to say. I was put off by the one wedding that I attended that I never got to congratulate the bride and groom, but that was smaller. I might be more understanding if there were 450 people. 

Have you considered a modified receiving line? That’s what we did, and it worked great! The pastor tells everyone to stay in their seats after the ceremony. You do the recessional. Then you and your husband come back and dismiss each row and greet each person as they leave the row. It goes more quickly than a traditional receiving line and your guests can sit while they wait. We had 150 guests and I think we took 20 minutes total.

Post # 12
332 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Davis Island Garden Club

I recently decided to do a recieving line. Mainly for the reasons mentioned above, friends and family go through a lot expense and effort to attend your wedding and it would be very gracious to spend a moment one on one with each if them. I think recieving lines after the ceremony feel long because you have been sitting there through the ceremony and are looking forward to cocktail hour and with 500 guests you might have guests lined up down the aisle of the church waiting to get out of their seats like they’re on an airplane. Is there any way to do a recieving line to welcome your guests into the reception space? They may flow a little lighter and happier with some food and cocktails. 

Post # 13
2264 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

WithTheMostess:  We are inviting 220 to a very formal affair. The wedding is in the city and we are providing transportation to and from the church and reception, which would make a receiving line difficult because it would require making the first people out of the church wait an extended period of time for the last people out of the church.

That being said, we will forego the receiving line but we will absolutely be going from table to table to thank all of our guests, even if it means doing it while we are supposed to be eating. I would say that you should either do one or the other, if possible. Going table by table may take awhile, but it still might be less time than the receiving line and I think it is nice to personally greet and thank your guests for coming to the wedding and for supporting your marriage!

Post # 15
1967 posts
Buzzing bee

WithTheMostess:  I don’t think that anyone will fault you for carrying a bit of private dread/nervousness about having to greet 400 guests!  There are very, very few people in the USA who regularly attend events that would allow them to get practice doing such a thing.  It’s a challenge, right–do you have a “set” thing to say, how often do you vary what you say, how do you handle introductions in the receiving line itself, etc., so I personally understand your hesitation.  However, with these big, formal events appearances really do take on a lot of importance, for better or for worse, and I think that not having a receiving line or going around to tables (which might be risky with such a large guest list) would give an appearance of indifference that I’m sure you have no intention of giving!

Just remember that anyone who complains that you didn’t talk to them for 10 minutes or give them a heavily personalized greeting/conversation while in a receiving line for 400+ is going to look like the unreasonable person–that will not reflect poorly on you!  🙂

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