(Closed) UK weddings… do I *have* to have a receiving line?

posted 4 years ago in Traditions
Post # 2
804 posts
Busy bee

LittleWigeon:  Most of the UK weddings I’ve been to haven’t had receiving lines. I agree they’re a little awkward but I don’t mind them because it’s nice that you definitely get a chance to say hello to the b&g given you don’t get much of a chance to see them otherwise. I think table visits are a nice alternative and probably a little less awkward. I think it’s definitely important to make sure you say hello to/thank your guests for coming – there’s been a couple of weddings when they didn’t do a line or table visits and I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to even say congratulations.

Post # 3
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I’ve never seena receiving line at an English wedding, although many couples make table visits during the dinner. I always assumed it was an American thing, although I could be wrong.

Post # 4
2089 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

LittleWigeon:  We got married in the UK (Essex) and we didn’t have a receiving line. I just find them really awkward! But it was really important to us to speak with the guests so we made a point of walking to the tables between meals. Between us we covered everyone. Lots of people have actually said that our wedding felt really intimate because everyone got to speak to us (we had 90 people)

Post # 5
2513 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

LittleWigeon:  Hey, we didn’t have a receiving line with bridal party and parents etc. in because the only two people who knew everyone there were myself and Darling Husband. So what we did was the two of us greeted our guests as they came in for the sit down meal. This gave us the opportunity to say hello and thank you to them all. 

I think receiving lines made sense in the past when couples who were marrying each other probably came from the same town/village so everyone already knew everyone else.

Post # 7
2075 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Rachel631:  there’s a scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral where they have one so I think it’a a British as well as Anerican tradition?

LittleWigeon:  Of course you don’t have to have one, you don’t have to follow any of the traditions if you don’t want to. We didn’t have one but I don’t think there’s anything wrong or awkward about them necessarily. It sounds to me as though your Fiance is really keen on the idea. So maybe it would be nice to let him have his way and have one, unless it makes you feel really uncomfortable? We had 120 guests and although I tried to say hi to everyone at table visits etc I didn’t quite manage it. It would have been nice to know I’d given everyone a hug, at least. My point is, not having a receiving line worked ok for us but having one would also have had its pros.

Post # 8
1122 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

My husband is English and I come from an old fashioned southern US family so receiving lines were just the way things were done.

But I’ve never been good at doing things just because everyone says they’re supposed to be done. So instead of a receiving line, Mr Trilly and I made the rounds and visited the tables after we finished the first dance and the father/daughter dance. It gave us more time to talk with our guests and make sure we saw everyone and thanked them for coming.

Post # 9
1922 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Gorse Hill, Surrey, UK

I’ve only been to one wedding that had a receiving line with just the bride and groom thanking everyone. As a guest I was confused why we were queuing to get into the reception room but I suppose for the bride and groom it was nice for them to speak to everyone

Post # 10
923 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I’ve been married twice before…both weddings in the UK.

Neither had a receiving line, as I don’t like them…ex Mother-In-Law tried to have one at the 2nd wedding but both ex H and her husband kept wandering off, so it sort of dissolved…

I think it’s better for the bride and groom to go around and talk to people during the reception, seems more natural to me. 

Post # 11
257 posts
Helper bee

We had one and I’ve never been to a wedding without one so it seemed like a normal thing for us. We didn’t do table visits because I knew I’d just want to eat (seriously)! and didn’t want to bother others whilst they were eating too. Your wedding day is crazy, you feel like you can’t devote yourself to anyone or anything, as has already been said here at least we can look back and know that we thanked everyone personally at least once on the day itself.

We had parents and in laws in the line with us, it was actually really good fun and made for some great photos. 

Post # 12
4041 posts
Honey bee

I haven’t seen one in the US, for decades. Hubby and I did one – 37 years ago – and it took around 45 minutes (225 guests) and forced the bridal party to greet over 200+ people they didn’t even know – AWKWARD!

For my daughters weddings, the parents of the groom and bride (hosts), greeted all the guests as they entered the room where the ceremony was held. During the band’s entree break, the bride and groom visited all the tables, since it was quieter (recorded music). A lot of greeting, congratulations, and thanking went on during each of their cocktail hours, too.


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