That’s Amore: Receiving Line Time

I’ve never been to an American wedding with a receiving line. I didn’t even know what a receiving line was until I started wedding planning, and let me tell you, I didn’t like the sound of it. Making people wait in line not only sounded like a time waster, but tedious. I figured there would be other ways to see our guests—by visiting them at their tables during the reception or greeting our guests when they poured us beer—so I was against the idea of having a receiving line at the end of the Japanese reception, but our wedding planner said that we had to do a receiving line because it was a Japanese tradition that could not be overlooked. I was not looking forward to it all.

Hive, I would like to tell you that I am a convert. I am now pro receiving line. If you are debating whether to do one or not, go for it. Receiving lines are awesome!


Our parents, Mr. G, and me posing before we started our receiving line

Once our emcee announced that the reception was over, our guests started getting their things together, and as they walked out of the door we handed them a small gift of lip balm. As they left I was finally able to get a chance to say a proper thank you and connect with our guests. Mr. G and I had gone around  to every table to greet our guests during the reception, but everything was so rushed that we never had a chance to really talk with anyone. The receiving line made it so easy to say a genuine ”Thank you for coming.” It was also great to hear what our guests had to say about the wedding reception.


I loved the receiving line. We had about 75 guests, and the receiving line took about 20 minutes. Those were 20 wonderful minutes and the perfect way to end the reception.

Are you pro receiving line or anti receiving line? What are your reasons behind it?

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Photography by Teppei Kawakami

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Mrs. Gondola

Wedding Date:
December 1969
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  1. Member
    Footballwife 568 posts, Busy bee @ 11:07 am

    Receiving lines are common for my family….except our weddings tend to be big. My cousins wedding had over 300 guests and k was a bridesmaids so I had to be in the line and thank the guests as well. It took over an hour and a half. My wedding 200 people were invited, so we will probably have 150-175 at the wedding…..still will take a long time. So nervous about it. If it was a smaller wedding I would be all for it, but we only have one photographer for 8 hours and we will lose precious time because of the line and thus miss good photos at the reception. We may just stick to thanking guests at the reception going table to table.

  2. parisian Member
    Miss Parisian 588 posts, Busy bee @ 11:07 am

    Completely agree! When I was younger, I hated them because I always felt so awkward. But as an adult, I appreciate the one-on-one time (however brief) to hug and say hello and congratulations, just because things get crazy later! I definitely want to try to make it work to greet people after our ceremony to say hi and let them know what to do next.

    Although the receiving lines I have seen have been after the ceremony and not the reception, since guests trickle out (a lot of the receptions I have been to last until 11pm and even I am usually pooped by then) before the end! If the reception ended earlier, I think this is a great sentiment to say goodbye to everyone properly!

  3. Member
    lastgirlstanding 374 posts, Helper bee @ 11:15 am

    As the LastGirlStanding (ie unmarried) among my friends, THEY have converted me to pro-recieving line.

    While it’s a nice thought to go around to the tables during the reception, it often doesn’t work out; not enough time, someone from the table is at the bar/bathroom … And friends who tried the route complained they spent most of the reception trying to catch everyone.

    The advice from my married friends – “Just do a recieving line. They’re so efficient!”

    So we’re doing one.

    We’re not having the bridal party participate. Just the parents, bride and groom.

  4. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 12:00 pm

    I’m generally pro-receiving line, especially for larger weddings, but I’m used to them being before the reception starts and that CAN be a bit of a drag since you’re waiting for the B&G to finish pictures, etc. before you can go in.

    Doing one at the end of the reception is a fabulous idea–I love it!

  5. pyramid Member
    Mrs. Pyramid 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:20 pm

    I’ve never been to a wedding with a receiving line either! I don’t think we’ll be doing one, but I love the idea of doing it at the end to say thank you.

    I love your giant basket of lip balm goodies, too!

  6. msfilly Member
    Mrs. Filly 827 posts, Busy bee @ 2:23 pm

    We’re doing a receiving line between the ceremony and cocktail hour, and I’m super nervous about it. Butttt I’m adamant that I get to eat my (very expensive) dinner, so it’s pretty much our only option. Yours sounds pretty painless, and I love your lip balm favors!

  7. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:59 pm

    I’ve never heard of a receiving line at the end of the reception but what a GREAT idea! :) As a guest, I definitely would appreciate the personal send off.

  8. msllama Member
    Mrs. Llama 22 posts, Newbee @ 7:02 pm

    I don’t think we’ll do a receiving line, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my in-laws push for it…but maybe at the end would be a good compromise, if it does come up!

  9. gondola Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:59 pm

    @Footballwife: Wow, 90 minutes is a long time. If I were in your position I would consider skipping the receiving line too. I hope you have a great wedding day and that it all goes smoothly!

    @Miss Parisian: I think an after reception receiving line would be difficult too. I’m sure people are exhausted after all of the partying!

    @LastGirlStanding: that’s great that you decided to do one! I hope you have an awesome wedding day!

    @Mrs. Road Trip: I didn’t know some places did them after the couple took photos. That sounds like quite a wait.

    @Miss Pyramid: Thank you! The lip balm was a big hit!

    @Miss Filly: I really hope you get to eat! Good luck with your receiving line. I’m sure it will be fine!

    @Mrs. Palm Tree: It was such a nice way to end the wedding. I’m really glad I was able to have the Japanese experience.

    @Miss Llama: I hope it all works out for you!

  10. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:46 am

    @LastGirlStanding: You took the words right out of my mouth! I’ll admit that we had the same thoughts as you, Mrs. G, and now that it`s all said and done, I really wish we had a receiving line because we spent so long trying to catch everyone at their table. It would have been much more efficient to do a receiving line.
    I kind of line this idea of having it at the end, though I don’t know how that would have worked at our wedding since people started trickling out in batches.

  11. gondola Member
    gondola 1046 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:04 am

    @Mrs. Waterfall: I don’t think this style of receiving line would work in North America either since people leave at such different times.

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