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Wedding Receiving Line - Do Or Don't?
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The wedding receiving line can confuse and perplex young couples. The thought of standing in one spot and having hundreds of guests file pass to quickly offer hugs and congratulations holds little appeal. When I meet with brides, one of the questions I typically ask is, "Are you doing a receiving line?" Many couples are unsure. What surprises me most however, is that many couples do not even know what I'm referring to. "Do we need to do one?", they ask.

Wedding receiving lines used to be a very common wedding tradition. However, in today's wedding world where just about anything can go, couples wonder as to the necessity of a receiving line. If you choose not to do a receiving line, plan on going table to table at the reception to greet each guest.

For most weddings, I would say a receiving line IS a necessary evil. It gives you an opportunity to acknowledge and thank each guest, thereby allowing you to enjoy your reception more. Still many couples don't want to because, as mentioned above, it holds little appeal. One of the most disappointing attitudes I see in brides is 'It's my day!' This is true to some extent. However, if you want it to be JUST about you, don't invite 200 people to attend - run off to Vegas instead! Now I know this sounds harsh but you have a responsibility to these 200 invited guests. You have honored them by inviting them, but it is also an honor to you that they chose to attend. These guests have taken the time to go shopping for a gift for you, wrapped it up all pretty, given up a good portion of their Saturday or Sunday, got dressed up and traveled to your event. The very least you can do is acknowledge them and the most expedient way to do this is with a receiving line. Again, after this is done, you will be able to enjoy your reception much more because each guest has been personally thanked for attending. You will not have to spend your valuable party time going from table to table. You can eat, drink and be married!

That being said, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule that I must mention:

The Small, Casual Wedding - If your wedding will be a small, intimate gathering of approximately 50-75 people, a receiving line is not really necessary. In the case of a small wedding, many of the guests are actually family or very close friends. This size of group is manageable to assume you will be able to connect with each person at the reception.

The Destination Wedding - If your wedding is at a venue in which your guests will be traveling and spending the night, a receiving line is not necessary. In this situation, guests will linger much longer at a reception thereby giving you more time to connect with each one. Also, destination weddings tend to be smaller in size as many people may not be able to afford the travel expenses.

A wedding receiving line may, in many cases, be a necessary evil. However, it is time well spent. It is an expedient way to honor and acknowledge your guests thereby freeing you up to enjoy your reception.

Street Talk

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