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Beginner August 2017

Guest Greeting Advice

AJ, on June 30, 2017 at 8:06 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 21
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I've seen a lot of posts about receiving lines vs. table visits, and I'm wondering if anyone has any alternate advice. My mother controlled the guest list since she's paying for the wedding and our guest list is likely going to consist of 350 guests, many of whom I've never met.

Our wedding & reception will be at the same venue (one inside, one outside) and we will not be having a cocktail hour. I've seen family and friends spend all of their time doing table visits and were not able to enjoy the wedding they've worked so hard to plan. While I'd like to say hello to everyone, I'm doubtful that this is possible. I'd also like to have time to enjoy our reception and spend time with friends and family on the dance floor.

Does anyone have any advice on how to find a compromise that won't upset those who get upset if the bride & groom aren't able to talk to them? Thanks!!

21 Comments

Latest activity by Maggie, on July 1, 2017 at 1:32 AM
  • StPaulGal
    Master July 2017
    StPaulGal ·
    • Flag

    You need to personally greet each and every guest. There is no alternative. Have cocktail hour or resign yourself to skipping the "fun" parts of the reception. Or both. One of many reasons a wedding this big is a nightmare.

    • Reply
  • FutureMrs
    Super January 2019
    FutureMrs ·
    • Flag

    Proper etiquette is to personally great every guest so I think table visits are your best option.

    • Reply
  • Megan
    Super October 2017
    Megan ·
    • Flag

    Ours is 200 guests and I have been worried about this. But after talking with our photographer we are getting many shots done before the ceremony so we only have a few to do during cocktail hour. That way we can still make it to part of it. We will greet guests there and then do table rounds as well. I am unsure how you will be able to see everyone. I just know there is not one single person that will be there that I want to miss and not speak to. No matter if I miss dancing or not.

    • Reply
  • Chelsea
    VIP September 2017
    Chelsea ·
    • Flag

    I planned on doing table rounds. Any advice from others? Are you going to hug each person individually. Go to the table and strike up a convo with majority of the table? I planned on talking to each person individually but it almost seems awkward and too intentional. If you know what I mean... should we talk to as many people as possible during the cocktail hour and then use table visits to talk to the rest? Ugh so many options.

    • Reply
  • A
    Beginner August 2017
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    Megan, we are also doing all of our photographs before the wedding, so none after. Cocktail hours aren't really a thing where I'm from, so we won't have one of those to mingle during.

    It seems impossible to speak to everyone during our reception through table visits factoring in time to eat, first dances, speeches, cake cutting, etc.

    • Reply
  • A
    Beginner August 2017
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    Chelsea, I'm personally not much of a hugger outside of my immediate family and close friends, so I feel like that is a no-go for me. If you're a hugger though I'd say go for it! And I can definitely see the awkwardness of striking up individual conversation at a table. I feel like striking up a conversation with the majority of the table feels more right for me.

    It feels like there are so many options but everyone has their own opinion about what's right or wrong. I feel so much pressure to please everyone lol!

    • Reply
  • ambrok
    Master October 2017
    ambrok ·
    • Flag

    We are having 100 guests = 10 tables. We plan on doing table visits. But honestly...if that didn't happen, I'd just make a point to thank these guests first: ones that may leave early or that I don't hang out with much. This way, I'd have time to thank my closer friends later on while we would all be dancing/hanging out.

    With 350 guests....IDK how you would be able to personally thank everyone without having a receiving line?!?

    • Reply
  • ambrok
    Master October 2017
    ambrok ·
    • Flag

    @Chelsea, the last wedding I went to, the DJ had the couple run from table to table so the photographer could snap a pic with them & all the guests at that table. This is when the couple said a quick welcome n thank you. Later on, I didn't really get a chance to talk with the bride; but the groom/nephew did thank us again during a quick convo during reception.

    • Reply
  • BlueHenBride
    Master March 2017
    BlueHenBride ·
    • Flag

    We ate quickly (had to actually eat dinner since DH is a type 1 diabetic) so most of dinner hour could be spent visiting tables. At some tables, we'd walk up and say hello, and the whole table was interested in a group conversation, so we went with that. At others, we kind of just moved around the table in a circle and addressed individuals and couples because they wanted hugs and for us to pose for a quick picture with them. At the tables where our BMs and GMs were sitting, we singled out their SOs who we hadn't seen yet that day or other friends and family who were sitting with them and only said a quick "hey" to our WP members because we had spent all day with them. Doing that helped speed the process along. By the time we got to my parents' table, we talked to all the relatives sitting with them and then greeting my parents was basically an acknowledgement of "we got everyone, let's do this first dance thing" and we got a pat on the back.

    We had 75 guests present and then we were able to enjoy the rest of the reception.

    • Reply
  • A
    Beginner August 2017
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    Ambrok, I agree. We're not doing a church wedding and there isn't really a place to have a receiving line at our venue, so that's the challenge! I do like the idea of making a point to speak to guests we don't see often and ones who leave early first though. I know much of mine and my FH families like to have a good time, so I will likely see many of them on the dance floor later in the night. I also know there are some guest who wouldn't care if I personally greeted and thanked them as well, so maybe sticking to the ones who would.

    • Reply
  • Tricia
    VIP October 2017
    Tricia ·
    • Flag

    Do table visits during dinner. My venue is going to serve us then the guests each course. So we can eat then table visits. You don't need to have a long conversation. Thank you so much for coming. So glad you are here etc. see you on the dance floor.

    • Reply
  • Celia Milton
    Celia Milton ·
    • Flag

    Why are you inviting a massive group of people you don't know and won't have time to greet?

    • Reply
  • Runawaybride
    VIP May 2017
    Runawaybride ·
    • Flag

    We had 150 guests, and I would say we spend over 75% of our time visiting with guests. That's just the way it goes. Personally I loved it! Even with people I didn't know as well. I had a blast.

    • Reply
  • A
    Beginner August 2017
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    Celia, it wasn't exactly my decision to invite that many people. My mother is footing the bill so I allowed her to invite who she wanted, which happened to be a very large number of people whom I don't really know or see often. My FH and I also have large families, so the guest list added up really quickly.

    • Reply
  • Susan
    VIP December 2017
    Susan ·
    • Flag

    We're planning on dismissing everyone out of their pews after the ceremony, which is an idea our florist gave us. We're planning on having around 250 guests so table visits might get difficult, although we'd love to also get photos with each table if we can. But at least this way we can be sure to greet all of our guests.

    • Reply
  • Silverlava
    VIP September 2017
    Silverlava ·
    • Flag

    At the last wedding we went to, the b&g made a speech after the toasts, thanking every one for coming essentially. It was very sweet and they had a personal touch to each table. Then when they did table rounds it was a bit quicker-- they had maybe 3 tables of friends they got done real quick by taking a giant group photo and doing some hungs.

    • Reply
  • MrsSki
    Master April 2017
    MrsSki ·
    • Flag

    Sorry, but I don't see you making it to 35 tables during dinner. At even 2 minutes per table, you're over an hour and you have to get from table to table on top of that, so maybe 90 minutes at the shortest, and you're really rushing at that. Dinner rarely lasts more than 45 minutes so guests would need to stay in their seats much longer than necessary to wait for you.

    I honestly don't know how you could possibly greet your guests without doing a receiving line out of the ceremony. There doesn't need to be a special space necessarily. Stand at the back of the aisle and have two ushers dismiss them row by row and you say hello as they leave. We did a line with half your guests in 20 minutes, so it's much faster than table visits

    • Reply
  • VC
    Master May 2017
    VC ·
    • Flag

    Table visits are the fastest. Just go and thank them, do a quick cheers. Maybe take a picture or two and move on.

    • Reply
  • A
    Beginner August 2017
    AJ ·
    • Flag

    @Silverlava, I originally thought about just giving a thank you speech after the toast but worried that would upset guests. I like the combination of a thank you toast, a possible modified receiving line of some sort, and then walking around after dinner to talk to guests as well. We also included a letter to guests in our programs. Our goal is to make our guests feel appreciated and make sure our guests and ourselves enjoy the wedding and reception!

    • Reply
  • Kathleen Smith
    Kathleen Smith ·
    • Flag

    Receiving line. It's the compromise. Your wedding is being paid for in full, you want to enjoy the reception fun ... so do a receiving line in its entirety. It really is that simple. No challenge at all about space .... guests wait in their ceremony seats until there is room for them to stand up in line to be greeted and thanked personally.

    A free wedding? This is the least you and your FH can do.

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