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Posted March 24, 2013 by Spotlight Bride in Trends & Traditions

Questioning Traditions: The Receiving Line




We recently received a question from a couple of followers on our Facebook Business Fan Page regarding the tradition of the receiving line in the modern day wedding. Of particular concern to one of the brides-to-be is that she has elderly grandparents who are only attending the ceremony and not the reception, and wants to spend more time getting photos taken with these relatives. She felt concerned that it would be rude to her other guests not have this traditional aspect to her wedding.  The other bride is having her ceremony and reception in the same room, and once the ceremony is complete, they will close the room during the conversion, leaving no time for the traditional receiving line, however she will have the entire cocktail hour to greet her guests in lieu of the receiving line.

Here were the thoughts that we shared with these brides that we believe might be helpful to answer this universal question for other brides-to-be…

The first and foremost thing to remember is that this is YOUR special day. Having said that, you need to make the best decision for you and your fiancé, and the one that honors your families the most, regardless of what others may think.  The second most important thing to keep in mind is that your wedding photos will be what you have left to look back on and cherish after the celebration is over.  We are of the opinion that it is far more important for you to capture all those special moments with those dearest to your heart.  And heaven forbid that after your wedding you find that your time with those older relatives is limited, so you will want to ensure that those images of these special people were captured.

If you have parents that are helping you to pay for the wedding, it might be a good idea to sit down with them to discuss your concerns, especially if they feel that maintaining traditional aspects are important.

Getting back to the issue at hand, of course you also want to honor all your wedding guests and truly make then feel appreciated for sharing in your big day.  So we also have the following suggestions for this kind of scenario to avoid any awkward situations that may arise from your guests expectations:

  • Consider having additional wording added to your wedding program to let your guests know that you will not be having the traditional receiving line.  In place of that, you can also have a relative or bridal party member  announce this at the conclusion of the ceremony.  Either one of these options will let your guests know of your intentions in a respectful way.
  • If you have any extra time after the photos have concluded, try to spend the time during your cocktail hour to go around and greet your guests then and thank them for attending. This will allow for a more casual and genuine interaction with your guests vs. the awkward speediness of forced greetings and physical gestures that some are unsure about if they haven’t actually met each other before. The casual aspect of mingling with your guests will truly make them feel comfortable and appreciated.
  • Finally, you can make rounds during dinner to greet guests then. There are pros and cons to this… Pros:  The bridal couple and wedding party are often served dinner first, so this should give you time to eat and then go around and greet guests at their tables.  Cons: You may feel rushed to eat your meal, or abandon it half-way through if you see the meal service for your guests is progressing quickly.  Be sure you actually get to enjoy your meal as well.  If you leave the table before finishing your plate with the intention of returning to it later, it may get picked up by the wait staff.  Additionally, if you can do the greetings while mingling during the cocktail hour, these will make for better photos vs. trying to get images with friends and family in the middle of their dinner time when there are half eaten plates of food in front of them (which generally does not make for good photos).

We hope you found these suggestions to be helpful!


Spotlight Bride

Spotlight Bride

Spotlight Bride


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