A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I don't like lines

So, this past weekend I went up to Westchester on Sunday to meet with the general manager of the club where our wedding reception is going to be, and also looked in on the church (so pretty!). Pictures to follow, when I'm posting from home, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share part of the discussion my mom and sister and I had about timing of things on the wedding day, and that oh-so-formal tradition of the Receiving Line.

Short form? I don't love it. According to Wikipedia, the receiving line is a Scottish tradition, where the guests file past the bride and groom, introducing themselves. (I don't know how accurate that is -- I'd agree more with the later citation that it's an American custom.) Now, I expect to know everyone at my wedding. I don't want anyone to have to introduce themselves to me! Secondly, and more importantly, we've deliberately chosen to have a more casual cocktail reception rather than a formal sit-down meal because we hope and expect our guests to mingle with each other, and we want to be able to circulate among them and say hello throughout the reception, not just in the structured line. I just feel that a line often creates a bottleneck, either exiting the church, or getting into the reception.

Besides, I think we've struck on another idea. I like the Jewish tradition where the bride and groom spend some time alone after the wedding ceremony before the reception. Of course, with a ceremony at 1:30 and the cocktail hour starting at 3, there's not all that much time, not if we want to do pictures then as well! So, considering that we're going to be the first people out of the church (and now having seen the church, I think this will work!), we can whisk ourselves away to a little room, even just for five or ten minutes to be alone after the "I do"s. When all of the guests have left the church (with our wedding party asking them to stay near the doors), we can sweep out and do the big tossing of flower petals or blowing bubbles, or what have you! After that, formal posed wedding pics, then onto cocktails!

At the reception, even if we miss some (but hopefully not much) of the cocktail hour because of pictures, we'll be able to spend more time with our guests than a receiving line would allow.

Also, I spoke to my sister-in-law recently, who told me I wouldn't remember all the little details of the day, that they would pass in a blur, etc. etc. Honestly? I really hope not. But I think I'd be more likely to feel that way about the guests if they are just passing me in a line than if I can spend more time talking with them, dancing with them, and oh yeah, drinking with them.

So, count that as another wedding tradition I'm bucking!



Blogger Jayananda said...

Kudos! We also skipped the receiving line at our wedding and just mingled throughout the evening. (And we did NOT force ourselves to visit every table during the reception. In the end, I think we talked to everyone, but in a free-flowing sort of way.)

Here's another tradition we bucked: we did the pics BEFORE the ceremony so that way we could proceed directly to the party...with a few minutes taken for some alone time with just us and the photographer.

9/11/2007 3:54 PM

Blogger ***Dave said...

I think the reasons for the receiving line are a bit more complex.

1. It's usually more than just the B&G, but also includes Best Folk and Immediate Family. That often implies more intros (and more need for intros) than just meeting the B&G.

2. Even in a more informal setting, with all the best intentions to go around and see everyone that may be there -- it's still too easy to to miss someone. With a Receiving Line, there's at least that one moment to make eye contact, to smile, to say "howdy, let's chat later."

Because from my own experience (as well as your sister's), best intentions tend to blur into a "Glee! Married! Glee!" That's why you have people to do things for you at the wedding and reception, so you don't have to remember to through the glowing haze of romantic "Glee!" As the sister

Now, that all said, the timing of it along with alone-time and hurling of flower petals and pictures and whisking off to cocktails is always problematic. I've seen all sorts of failures in the process -- failure, as defined for a wedding guest, as meaning everyone stands around for-*evah* waiting for the B&G to show up at the reception.

(That's not as big an issue with cocktails vs. a dinner, but it's still something to consider.)

And that all said -- you're thinking about all these things in a practical fashion and what feels good for *you*.

I'll note that Margie and I also did pictures before the wedding, which saved a lot of time later. I second the suggestion.

9/11/2007 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm going to throw in 2-cents as well. I hate receiving lines myself, but was convinced by family members to do one. In retrospect, I'm glad I did. Although it is a too formal, bottle-neck inducing custom, it did ensure that I got to speak to everyone who made the effort to come to our wedding and for many people, that meant travel and expense.
Despite my best intentions, between dancing, eating, photos, and flat-out enjoying myself (and I had a great time at my wedding), I doubt I managed time with more than 60% of my 120 or so guests during the reception. And I never felt guilty about it because I knew that I had at least thanked them for coming during the receiving line shtick.

9/11/2007 9:05 PM


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