Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Miss Capitol Hill Wedding Recap - Why You Should Have a Receiving Line

In continuation of my wedding recap - Husband and I left the church and drove down the road to our reception site at The Clifton Inn.   For my reception I was sure of a couple of the things from the start and one of those golden rules was : There would be absolutely no MC/DJ type introductions of the wedding party or of Husband and I at dinner.   I hate these at weddings...I hate being part of them and I hate watching them...it always makes it seem like a circus or a production to me instead of a nice gathering of friends and family. I was going for intimate and warm not Price is Right "come on down!" 

What I wanted instead was something that is kind of going out of fashion...a receiving line. I really wanted to greet people at the door of our cute Inn and welcome them to our reception...as though I was welcoming them into my own home. I wanted them to feel a personal connection immediately and not stand around waiting for the bride and groom to make an appearance.   All over the wedding world I see comments about how horrible receiving lines are, but I think that's probably b/c most people don't do them right.   

I think in order for receiving line to be successful you should adhere to a two key rules

1) You need to have a small wedding.  Sorry, but receiving lines take too long and get jammed up if you want to say hello to each of your 400 guests. Part of the reason people hate receiving lines is because they have to wait around. And really if you have a large wedding then intimacy isn't probably one of your main goals to begin with and the receiving line would just seem mechanical cause you couldn't actually spend time talking to each guest. 

2) It needs to be just you and husband.  This might be controversial especially if your parents are hosting but when you start adding parents, grandparents, wedding party, etc. then that's what slows the line down and people are standing around and waiting again.  Plus many guests may not know your parents or your maid of honor so they will probably feel awkward having to shake their hand and say some niceties.  But everyone there knows either you or your husband and they are all their too see you, so no one feels awkward saying hello. 

The bonus of the receiving line is that you don't have to go around table to table later, since you've already talked to everyone at least once....this means that you and Husband actually get to eat! 

All photos below the work of Linda Wallace 
^Waiting at the door of the Clifton Inn as our guests arrived

^Hugging and laughing with Husband's extended family

^We were lucky that there was only one way into our reception site so all of our arrivals were staggered since they had to drive in one-by-one. We never had a line of people waiting. 

^You might recognize this couple from Ben's awesome travel blog The Flashpacker and from their wedding last November. 

^Still more hugs!

^Our photographer was able to catch pictures with us and many of our friends and family during the receiving line. The artsy shots are great, of course, but honestly these types of pictures are what your guests will probably put in a frame or print out for themselves. And if you live in Chicago and are looking to buy or sell a house then make sure you contact that smiling face above! 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you get there before all your guests did? Or did you ask them to wait on the porch so you and groom could get in place?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 9:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting there before your guests only works if you do pictures before the ceremony or at some later time.
Naturally we were the first ones to leave the church once the ceremony was over, so we walked out, shared some hugs with family, and then our guests lined up for a send away from the church (we used streamers). So we ran through the streamers and to our car which meant we were the first to leave for the reception and got to the building first. Everyone else followed, so we were there to great them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of bringing back the receiving line. It's nice to have a little dash of old-fashioned, especially when the fashion never really went out of style.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 2:26:00 PM  

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