The receiving line at a wedding – some people expect it, some do not even know what it is. In the past few years I have noticed that a good portion of the Montreal weddings are no longer doing a receiving line.
What is it?
The receiving line is where the newly wedded couple, and typically their parents as well, great each of the guests at the reception. This line is usually formed on the dance floor area or in front of the head table and is done right after the bride and groom have been introduced. Then each table is called up to greet the receiving line. Sometimes couples choose to have the receiving line outside the hall. The line is formed at the doors to the venue or ballroom, and as guests enter the room, they pass through the receiving line. Traditionally, the brides parents are first in line, then the grooms parents followed by the bride and groom. Sometimes the bridal party will be included in the receiving line as well.
To Receive or Not to Receive
There seems to be a lot of debate on whether to do have a receiving line or not these days… Reasons why couples choose to have the receiving line usually include:
- It’s a nice tradition
- You are guaranteed to see each guest
- Each guest is guaranteed to get some face time with you
- It allows the guest to personally hand you their gift (usually an envelope)
Reasons why the bride and groom choose not to have a receiving line at their wedding can be:
- It takes way too long!
- It can be boring for the guests waiting their turn
- They feel it’s an outdated tradition
- The bride and groom would rather go table to table
Tips on Having a Quicker Receiving Line
I personally like the tradition of the receiving line, if you are not sure about doing this or not, after reading the cons here are a few tips that can help keep the receiving line process quick. Obviously, the more guests you have at your wedding, the longer this will take. The other main factor is the more people in the receiving line, the longer it will take. On average, for a 150 person guest list, a receiving line with both parents and the bride and groom should take about 30-45 minutes. For larger wedding receptions (more than 50 people let’s say), to save time you could not include the bridal party in the lineup. For a very small wedding, the receiving line won’t take much time anyway, so including the bridal party is a great idea. The other main factor in how long the receiving line takes is how chatty you’ll be as the guests greet you. Try to keep it short and sweet to keep the line moving. You can always go and chat more to them during the meal.
If you are choosing to have a receiving line, one way to keep guests occupied while waiting can be to have a photo booth available! Photo booths are all the rage right now, and this time before the meal is a perfect time to use one!
Going Table to Table Instead
“We’re not doing a receiving line, we’ll see everyone at their tables!” I would like to bring to mind that this is a valid alternative, however, sometimes it can be unrealistic. The bride and groom imagine that since they won’t do the receiving line, they will make sure to visit each table and see all the guests that way. This surely can work in small weddings, but as the guest count starts to rise this can get more and more difficult. What a lot of newly weds forget is that during the meal there can be a lot of other important activities happening. Most of the Montreal weddings we perform at involve entertainment during the meal! It could be some dancing during the courses, some games and interaction, and of course speeches and some of the special dances too. Trying to visit all the tables during the meal before the real dancing begins, depending on how you’ve planned your reception, can start to get very difficult. And don’t forget you want to enjoy your wedding reception, right?! So sometimes having the receiving line even though it does have some drawbacks, can sometimes make a lot of sense and free up time during the meal to have fun!
Over to you! What do you think about the wedding receiving line? In Montreal, have you noticed a lot of weddings choosing to forgo the receiving line? Do you have some other alternative of tips for brides and grooms trying to decide?
Stefan Jez can help create your Unique Wedding Entertainment Experience. Specializing in weddings, with over 20 years experience, Stefan’s goal is to work with you on creating a one-of-a-kind, romantic, tailored, made-to-measure wedding reception. Acting as a true Master of Ceremonies, Stefan promises to deliver an experience that you and your guests would have never thought possible. Don’t hope your once in a lifetime experience will just happen. Contact Stefan at 514-297-3508 or firstname.lastname@example.org to begin your experience today!
Stefan Jez peut vous aider à créer votre expérience unique de divertissement de mariage. Comptant plus de 20 ans d’expérience avec une spécialisation dans les mariages, l’objectif de Stefan est de travailler avec vous pour créer une réception de mariage unique, romantique et sur mesure. En tant que véritable Maître des Cérémonies, Stefan s’engage à offrir une expérience que vous et vos invités n’auraient jamais cru possible. N’espérez pas que votre expérience unique qui arrive qu’une fois dans une vie arrivera par hasard.
Good post as usual. I’ve shared this with my FB readers, hopefully some of them will chime in.
as always, think about what would work for YOUR guests and timeline, but here are my 2 cents.
I really like the receiving line when it’s the Hometown Reception half of the Destination Wedding. There’s no reason the Bride & Groom can’t be at the reception hall from the very beginning – they’re already married
I have been to several Asian (or Irish) Weddings where it’s traditional for the Bride & Groom to go to each table with a bottle of Congac (or Scotch, etc) and offer drinks. it takes a long time to go to each table, but when you add in the drinks, it usually works well
Thanks for reading and commenting Steve!
I totally agree with the fact that a receiving line could be a long process but I could be the perfect opportunity to thank everyone for coming to the reception one by one should you chose to do it during the meal as Stefan mentioned you could be short in time due to many other formalities that are usually done during the meal.
Use it to your advantage and give your thank you gifts to the guess at the same time this will prevent you from running around at the end of the night wile your dancing or at the bar with your loved ones having fun. You won’t have to stop your fun and run to the gift table to give the thank you gift to your guess but all you’ll have to do is stop for a few seconds and just say ‘’thank you for coming, hope you enjoyed your self’’
Also this would make it for a more traditional wedding reception and the older people wile love to see that traditions are still being used on this very special day “call me old fashion:”