Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Receive Your Guests

I've been talking with my clients a lot about receiving lines lately. Since they have been the long time tradition of greeting guests after your ceremony, couples often feel pressure from parents to have a traditional receiving line. However, since time constraints are often a concern for the sake of wedding party photos and cocktail hour, a receiving line can be impractical.

What do I suggest? An alternative, of course.

Alternative to Receiving Lines

  • Bride & groom receiving line - an option if you still want a formal receiving line, but without the awkwardness of everyone greeting everyone

  • Release by pews - the couple returns to the ceremony and releases each row of guests, greeting each guest briefly

  • Greet each table - the couple walks around to each reception table to greet the whole table at once

  • Receiving line at the reception - the deejay announces that the couple will be greeting guests on the dance floor at a certain time during the reception

  • None at all - you don't have to greet your guests. What I recommend is to make an effort to greet guests that you don't see often - your mom's great Aunt Elouise, your parent's college friends, etc.Your friends will most likely dance the night away with you, there is no need to formally greet them.
When I previously posted about this very topic, I got some great comments. Here is some reader feedback.
  • April from April Foster Events said "We went to each table during the reception, but I also really like the bride and groom releasing the pews...unless you have something like 500 guests :). Then it could take a couple of hours!"

  • Lisa from Blush said "My husband and I made sure we arrived in time for cocktail hour and schmoozed with our guests then. I also like what a friend of mine did, they dropped off a bottle of champagne at each table and toasted their guests"

  • Jessica Lynn from Tying the Knot said "I think that I like the table to table method...but I also like the thought of releasing the guests by pew. And you are so right, it's awkward to greet the parents and the grandparents and the pet fish and the kitchen sink"

  • Melissa from Masterpiece Weddings said "I am not big for the receiving line either, but I love the idea of table by table-ing it! I think going table by table with a shot of tequila would be awesome! (don't try that at home kids!)"

  • Heather from One Love Photo said "I heard of an interesting approach from a client of mine. They attended a wedding where the bride and groom stood by the buffet table and greeted their guests. That way there was only one line to deal with. The caterers had made them up plates before they opened the buffet. Once the last guest where greeted they went to their table and enjoyed dinner with their guests."
[photo source]

6 lovely comment(s):

Kristin May 13, 2009, 9:02:00 AM  

I love the idea of dropping a bottle of champagne off to each table! That's going a step above and beyond just stopping by to say hi! :)

April {April Foster Events} May 13, 2009, 9:28:00 AM  

Great post! Thanks for the link love :)

Jessica @ Stella Event Design May 13, 2009, 9:53:00 AM  

Another one I've had couples use is to greet guests as they arrive at the cocktail hour. This works great if there is a big gap between ceremony and reception and the couple is finished up with pictures in time to head over to the cocktail hour at the beginning. Guests get greeted at the door and feel special and the bride and groom don't have the pressure of making sure they get a chance to greet every guest during the reception!

cHill Weddings, LLC May 13, 2009, 10:57:00 AM  

I love the ideas! For our wedding, we actually did do the receiving line after the ceremony only because it was the best way to make sure guests made their way to the parking lot. We had a tight timeline and a bus waiting for guests, so it was the best way to keep people from lingering and missing the bus.

Anonymous May 13, 2009, 3:00:00 PM  

Has anyone thought of serving the cake? I always think it's weird when the bride and groom cut one piece and then the cake is wisked away.

Now I am not a fan of cutting cake, but think that would be a fun way to have a moment with everyone.

Shay May 18, 2009, 10:34:00 AM  

We are not doing a receiving line due to time constraits and plus I think it takes away from the Grad Entrance at the Reception. We will be taking photos with each table at the reception and use those in the Thank You cards

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