(Closed) Receiving Lines

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1375 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Either option one or two – as bride and groom, it really is your responsibility to make sure every guest is greeted individually, and the easiest ways to do that are either the receiving line or table visits during the reception.

We did table visits, and my only word of advice is to speak to your on-site coordinator or head caterer and make sure he or she saves a meal for each of you, and hands it directly to you at the end of the night… just in case you don’t get enough to eat 🙂

Post # 4
909 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I like the idea of doing it right after the ceremony that way you can enjoy every moment of your reception. I think cocktail hour is more for your guests anyway but that’s just my opinion.

Post # 5
10452 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Because if your tight timeline, I’d skip the receiving line because it will probably go slower than you think with people wanting to chat, etc. I plan to just circulate tables during dinner. Arrange with your caterer to feed you guys first so that you will have time to eat and mingle. 

Post # 6
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We didn’t do a receiving line, but we took a picture with each group that attended the wedding. We also made the rounds during the reception and spoke to everyone at least twice.

Post # 7
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

we’re doing ours during cocktail hour before the reception on the way into dinner, this way we cna be sure to catch everybody.  i think its the best way to say hi quickly.  some people will chat but most will just say hi thanks and move on.

Post # 8
642 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Really, if you do the recieving line as the guests are leaving the church, it does not take long at all.  I think the guests will be at least expecting to see you outside of the church, and it might be a little rude to just take off. 


I am not doing one at all.  Im getting married in the same place my reception is in the middle of winter, I dont expect the guests to go outside so we can have a recieving line or whatever.

If you skip the one at the church, you can purposely have some photos done immediately after you go out so the guests dont assume theres a recieving line, then once they have all vacated the church, tell them you will see them at dinner.

And honestly, who really likes recieving lines? They are awkward as hell!

Post # 9
9822 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I would do the receiving line and miss part of the cocktail hour.  I don’t think people will expect you to be there for that

Post # 10
516 posts
Busy bee

One way to make the receiving line go faster is to keep it short, literally.

Just the bride, groom, and each set of parents is plenty.

I always think it’s so weird to see bridesmaids and groomsmen in the receiving line- like the groom’s Aunt Edna really needs a personal greeting from the bride’s college roommate?  Lol!

Post # 11
719 posts
Busy bee

We had our receiving line right after the ceremony and still had plenty of time for pictures. The line moved pretty quickly since people didn’t really stand around and chat.  However, we had the whole thing in one place, so people didn’t have to travel to get to the reception, so that helped too.  The travel time between ceremony and reception might be a factor for you.  

Post # 12
719 posts
Busy bee

@LALaw:  I agree. We only had Darling Husband and myself and it really sped things up!  

Post # 13
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

We sort of flipped the receiving line and escorted our guests out. We did our walk down the aisle and the group processional, then we came back and released each pew and got our hugs and congrats then. It was great because we controlled the pace and got to thank everyone that was at the ceremony. We were able to greet 300+ guests in about 20 minutes 🙂

I’d say 1 is your best option, 3 is out, and 2 is really difficult. It was hard to see everyone at the reception, and that was just to catch the 50 or so people that weren’t at the ceremony. I’d say some sort of receiving line will likely be your best bet.

Post # 14
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@LuLuLucky:  I don’t really like receiving lines. Either the people at the end are waiting a long time, or you’re limited to one or two words to keep it moving. I vote for option 2: go from table to table at the reception. That lets you talk a little bit to everyone. And I found it very enjoyable catching up with everyone.

As PPs have said, option 3 is the worst because there’s no personal thank yous. But, I personally think at least one of the couple should always do a public thank you toast/speech anyway – but that’s not the same as personal interaction with guests.

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