Wednesday, December 27, 2006

THE RECEIVING LINE: A NECESSARY EVIL?: PART II

Continuing with the subject of receiving lines, I want to take up the next question in the series:

HOW LARGE IS MY WEDDING--AND WILL SIZE PERMIT ME TO MEET AND GREET EVERY GUEST (WITHOUT A LINE?)

My friend Bonnie had a very large wedding--over 300 people--mainly because her fiance's parents gave her and Brad (her now-husband) an ultimatum. Brad's parents said they had to invite their entire temple community (i.e., 250 people) or only immediate family (i.e., 5 people)--in order to avoid offending their old friends (with whom they mingled playing bridge, at temple functions, etc). As Brad's parents refused to even consider paying for their share of invitees (a cheap and ridiculous concept which I'll take up in a later post), Bonnie felt cornered. Either she had to have a teeny tiny wedding (since Bonnie and her parents had few people to invite), or a huge affair.

What to do? Bonnie opted for a large-scale affair, despite the fact that most of the people there would be for Brad's parents.

Bonnie and Brad had a receiving line--Bonnie's observation about the situation (and her parent's reaction) is quite telling: "We were standing next to each other, and my mom and dad were meeting all of Mr & Mrs. [Brad's last name] family friends. It went something like this: 'Hi, I'm Mrs. X, and I'm from Levittown, New York. Hello, I'm Mr. Y, and I'm from Levittown, New York. Good evening, I'm Mrs. Z, and I'm from Levittown, New York. My father gave 'a look' to my mother, as if to say 'this is ridiculous! Frankly, I didn't disagree. BUT, I will say that with the line, I kind of avoided having to go and seek out random people I didn't really know later in the evening--it was almost like getting it over with!'"

Sometimes the receiving line is the most convenient way of meeting guests, but it really seemed to provide Bonnie's parents with more aggravation than anything else. Nevertheless, it was an obligation that was over and done with at the beginning of the reception, which pleased Bonnie. I'll save the subject of etiquette when it comes to parents and wedding planning, but the story does illlustrate a point when it comes to these issues.

Getting back to the main question, however-- whether you have a receiving line really depends on if you and your fiance can greet all guests--whether individually or in terms of the tables you have arranged at the reception.

While you should certainly not treat meeting and greeting your guests as a "say hi and run" situation, you shouldn't feel obligated to get into an hour-long discussion. There's simply no time for that. However, it IS important to be realistic about whether or not you can say hello to everyone--if you don't, it's in poor taste. When I went to Heather's wedding (the subject of my posts about inviting guests with a date), she never even came over to the table to say hello to me or the others sitting with me-- I NEVER EVEN SAW HER the entire evening. I felt that was in incredibly poor taste (especially given the circumstances, and that I felt she was on thin ice as it were).

If you have a large wedding, think ahead about whether or not you can realistically greet your guests and thank them for coming. If you feel that is too much to ask, a receiving line may not be a bad idea. When you think about the PRO's and CON's of each scenario, it may help you figure out the best method.

Stay tuned!

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